BURGESS HILL STITCHED UP…

More evidence that MSDC never intended to listen, they were always going to push hundreds more houses onto Burgess Hill…

There is a very interesting response from MSDC Planning to the application for 726 houses at Haywards Heath Golf Course. They appear to dismiss it out of hand, and make it clear that they have already made up their minds to go with Sites SA12/13.

Never mind about democracy – according to this document (dated 27th March) the Council Meeting originally scheduled for 1 April (and now provisionally listed for 13 May) was to “make the final approval of the draft Submission Plan” – forget about any real debate, it’s just a box ticking exercise.

More significantly, the response explains at length how the golf course site is not needed because the fields south of Folders Lane have been allocated in the Site Allocations DPD, reminding us that “The Golf Course was determined to be unnecessary to meet the spatial strategy.”

But surely this decision has not actually been made yet. Full Council has not met, and there is another round of public consultation to go through. But reading this document reveals that MDSC Planning just assume they will get their way. This whole consultation process is just a complete waste of time – the result has been preordained right from the very start.

And yet if this application for HH Golf Course is unnecessary because MSDC can meet the housing requirement by building at Folders Lane, logic dictates that the reverse must also be true. If the Golf Course application goes through, then Sites SA12/13 at Folders Lane would become “unnecessary to meet the spatial strategy.”

As MSDC’s Andrew Marsh stressed at the last Scrutiny Committee, isn’t it all supposed to be about deliverability? His exact words were: “What we need to be mindful of with all of the sites that we’re taking forward is their ultimate deliverability.”

HH golf course is deliverable now. Build there and the five-year housing land supply is more secure, and the pressure from developers to concrete over more greenfield sites is reduced.

But MSDC won’t change their minds, however strong the arguments. They are intent on insisting that Folders Lane is more deliverable, even though it hasn’t completed due scrutiny and there have been clear questions from councillors about this selection process from the start.

This whole process is unsound – watch this space for more soon…

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