Inspector dismisses East Sussex new town proposal in local plan

An inspector has asked a West Sussex council to increase the housing targets in its draft local plan and dismissed plans for a new 10,000-home town in the area, saying there were 'significant concerns' about the sustainability of the location.

East Sussex
East Sussex

Horsham District Council has received an interim letter from inspector, Geoff Salter, in which he recommended that the council revise housing targets in the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF).

Salter said he was satisfied that council had met the Localism Act’s duty to cooperate but flagged concerns about housing numbers, recommending that the housing target in the HDPF should be increased from 650 to "at least 750 [dwellings per annum]".

Salter stated that, in line with the HDPF, he favoured growth around Horsham, Southwater and Billingshurst along with development in other villages, in accordance with neighbourhood plans.

But he dismissed plans for a new "Mayfield Market Town" (MMT) between Henfield and Sayers Common.

He said: "At present ... significant concerns have been raised about the sustainability of the location of the MMT site, in particular its distance from railway services and the strategic road network and the potential usage and viability of the ‘park and ride’ proposals.

"The deliverability of the preferred 10,000 dwelling option, with employment development, within two local authority areas without their support, and in the face of strong opposition from two local MPs, parish councils and local people, including land owners, is also an issue of concern".

Horsham’s cabinet member for living and working communities, councillor Claire Vickers said: "While [the inspector] dismisses some of the very high numbers for future house building that were being suggested, it is greatly disappointing that he is requiring us to revise this number. I have asked our strategic planning team to start work immediately on how we can accommodate these additional homes with the minimum impact".

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