Many residents left the hearing on the Mid Sussex District Plan last week feeling that the District Council was being bullied by developers seeking to have the plan rejected.
Several developers showed little interest in Mid Sussex or the “Duty to Co-operate” issue the Planning Inspector is considering, but are clearly touring the country arguing for higher housing numbers regardless of the views of local residents.
In fact, it appears that the council has substantial evidence showing how it has closely worked with other councils, especially neighbours in Horsham and Crawley.
In addition to meeting the housing need for Mid Sussex, the District Plan adds additional housing to accommodate three per cent economic growth and some housing need from its neighbours, totalling 10,600 over 20 years.
It seems that for developers, and some councils on the Sussex coast, this will never be enough despite the shortfall in infrastructure and the need to protect the countryside meaning that Mid Sussex cannot accommodate extra. It’s enough that we will already be taking more than the local housing need.
The choice now facing the Planning Inspector is whether to back a council which has worked hard with community input to plan responsibly for future housing needs or developers using any procedural device they can to argue for unlimited housing development in Mid Sussex. I sincerely hope he backs the people of Mid Sussex.