Lib Dem councilors force U-turn on unsustainable Conservative plans
Only a week after publishing plans for 1,000s more houses, Mid Sussex Conservatives put their proposals on hold as a result of pressure from local Lib Dem councillors
There was a furious reaction in January when Conservative run Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) announced plans for over 7,000 new homes in the District.
More than half of them would have been in the Hurstpierpoint, Albourne, Sayers Common, Bolney, Ansty and Cuckfield areas, sparking fears about the merger of small villages, more strain on creaking infrastructure and irreversible damage to the environment.
Liberal Democrat councillors took quick action, talking to local residents and journalists, and pushing local Conservatives to rethink their approach. Within a week, a 'pause' was announced by the Conservative leadership, taking up the Lib Dems' suggestion to write to the Housing Secretary.
Parliamentary Candidate for Mid Sussex, Councillor Alison Bennett said: "We are glad that the Conservatives have listened to us and this pause is welcome, but the challenge of where to build these houses has not gone away. The government's Levelling Up proposals offer no new thinking or money for community infrastructure, and no respite from illogical housing targets for Mid Sussex."
What the Conservatives have proposed
What is happening?
- The District Plan is the main planning document used by MSDC. The current plan covers the period to 2031 and includes strategy, proposed levels of development and a number of planning policies.
- 11,552 dwellings are already allocated across Mid Sussex in this current plan.
- A District Plan Review has to take place every five years, and will extend the Plan to 2038.
- MSDC have calculated that an additional 7,029 dwellings need to be 'found' in the District Plan Review to meet government requirements.
- In response to Lib Dem campaigners, local Conservatives have written to the government asking for a review of the housing targets in Mid Sussex.
The Lib Dems Have A Plan To Tackle The Housing Crisis
New build houses in Mid Sussex sell for £599,000 on average. The affordability crisis is real, but building 1,000s more expensive homes won't fix this.
Unlike the Conservatives, Liberal Democrat national policy puts local communities' needs before the profits of housing developers. If MSDC were a Lib Dem council, housing numbers would still be set by the government, but a local Lib Dem council would do things better by:
- Speaking to local residents and parish councils first about where you want new houses
- Delivering more affordable housing and homes for social rent
- Planning in the key school, healthcare and transport improvements to enhance community life
- Raising building standards to deliver the sustainable homes fit for the climate crisis
If you have questions or want to help
You can sign up for email updates about the District Plan here: tinyurl.com/2u3762pb