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Burgess Hill Site Allocations Consultation

October 14, 2019 10:41 PM

Mid Sussex District Council has launched a consultation on Site Allocations for additonal housing. This has a significant impact on Burgess Hill, and the Lib Dem Led Burgess Hill Town Council conducted a public meeting on Monday 13th October to enable residents to see the documents, ask questions, and find out how to respond to the consultation.

Many residents attended, along with the Cabinet Member for Housing & Head of Mid Sussex Planning.

FAQs were provided to residents, a digital copy of which is available below:

Site Selections Consultation - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of Burgess Hill Town Council vs Mid Sussex District Council?

Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) is the Primary Planning Authority for Mid Sussex. It has ultimate responsibility for all planning matters.

Burgess Hill Town Council (BHTC) is a statutory consultee in the MSDC planning process and uses this to represent as best as possible residents' views in the process. Burgess Hill Town Council does not have the power to stop, alter or otherwise change planning permission.

What is the district plan?

The district plan lays out the approach for development of homes, business premises and other infrastructure for Mid Sussex. All councils with planning responsibility are required to generate a district plan. It contains the planning policies that guide new development and implements government and local targets for new housing, in particular a national target for the number of new dwellings that must be built in Mid Sussex. The current target is 16,390 in the period to 2031.

What is the site selections document?

As part of the district plan process, the Planning Inspector from central government specified the amount of housing Mid Sussex needed to provide to meet local and national need. Mid Sussex is mandated by law to have a rolling 5 year supply of land suitable for building new homes which meets its obligations under the district plan. Therefore additional development sites need to be identified as the years roll on, and existing allocations are "used up" Whilst the majority of the housing need has been planned for within the District Plan (either through existing completions, committed sites (those with allocations of planning permission) or the strategic sites such as the Northern Arc), there is a residual housing need. The site selection document identifies development sites to fulfil this latter target.

Sites identified in Burgess Hill are as follows:

  • Land South of 96 Folders Lane: 43 dwellings
  • Land South of Folders Lane and East of Keymer Road: 300 dwellings
  • Land South of Selby Close: 12 dwellings
  • Land South of Southway: 30 dwellings
  • The Brow and St.Wilfrid's School: 200 dwellings
  • Woodfield House, Isaacs Lane: 30 dwellings

Inclusion in the final sites selection document will then give a presumption of development but detailed planning permission will still need to be sought as and when the site comes forward for development.

Why is more housing needed? Why does Burgess Hill have to take even more housing?

Mid Sussex District Council are required by law to have 5 years of building land meeting their target in their district plan. The residual housing need figure identified in the District Plan has now been updated, and shows that the Site Allocations DPD will be required to plan for a minimum of 1,507 dwellings. However, the District Council is taking a cautious view and assumes some sites may not be developed in the required timescale and therefore wants additional dwelling identified and is suggesting 1,962 dwellings including the Folders Lane sites.

What was the process to decide on the sites?

A working group was convened by the council, who were tasked with selecting the sites to be put into the plan from a list of sites nominated by developers and other parties. 17 Selection Criteria were defined.

The technical process followed, and the considerations are documented at the following web page:

https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/media/3776/site-allocations-document-site-selection-paper-2.pdf

The District Council assessed twenty sites as performing well against their development criteria which together fulfil 1,619 dwellings but are also suggesting the addition of the three Folders Lane sites even though its own assessments designated them as having "marginal" sustainability.

Burgess Hill has already taken large amounts of housing (e.g. The Northern Arc) why is this not considered? Isn't this unfair?

The Northern Arc and other sites were already in the District Plan, counting towards the total required; they could not be considered again as this would be "double counting" and MSDC would not have sufficient sites.

Fairness is a factor to consider for residents but not a planning issue, and we would encourage all to express their views via MSDC's consultation, and in particular to highlight transport, environmental or other planning issues.

Isn't the land proposed South of Folders Lane unsuitable for housing?

Housing assessments in 2007, 2013 and 2016 all pointed to the same problem as regards South of Folders Lane saying each time: "There are potential significant transport impacts on the road network as a result of developing this site (in particular the east-west link issues in Burgess Hill). It is currently assumed that this will severely limit the ability of this site to be delivered unless detailed transport assessment evidence suggests otherwise."

Current traffic assessments of development on the scale suggested in the Site Allocation proposal indicates that it would have a severe impact on the arterial east-west route through the town centre.

How these transport issues have been considered in the latest document is unclear.

What will happen to St Wilfrid's Primary School

Proposals to build on the site of St Wilfrid's Primary School (one option which could see it relocated to the St Paul's site) are designated as a preferred option in the site allocation document. This could also raise issues around transport issues for parents and pupils.

I am not happy with the sites that were selected, what can I do?

Mid Sussex District Council are opening a consultation on the Site Selections Proposals. Find out more from their website on https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/planning-building/development-plan-documents/ You can respond to the consultation in the following ways expressing your opinions:

When must responses be received?

Responses must be received by midnight on the 20th November 2019.

I do not think a particular site is suitable because of traffic, noise or other reasons

We recommend you take part in the consultation to express your views via one of the channels above. If you need assistance, a Town Councillor will be happy to help you fill in the forms.