Thousands of homes on hold as Conservatives call on Government for a 'reset'

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

Controversial plans for thousands of homes have been put on hold after a council faced mounting pressure to have a rethink.

Conservative led Mid Sussex council had outlined proposals to find space for 7,000 additional properties, on top of the 11,500 already approved in 2018 to meet a Government set target of 18,500 homes in the district by 2038

ITV News Meridian heard how the potential creation of thousands of new-builds, the majority in rural villages such as Sayers Common and Ansty caused anger amongst local residents who were concerned about the loss of green space and the impact on infrastructure such as roads.

Leader of the local authority, Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edward confirmed work to progress with the blueprint will ‘pause’ as his administrations calls on the Government to reset.

“The Council is mandated by national policy and by the Planning Inspector who examined the current District Plan to undertake a five year review which is now due. The results of this review have now been published so the community can understand the scale of the challenge we face in Mid Sussex.

There was concern over the impact new homes would have on villages such as Hurstpierpoint Credit: ITV News Meridian

Where the housing plan outlined developing homes:

Councillor Ash-Edwards continued, “It is now sensible to press the pause button given the significant issues which impact the Council’s planning. I am writing to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, calling for our housing targets to be reset to a level more consistent with our environmental and infrastructure constraints and liaising with our local MPs to make our case in Westminster.

"The Levelling Up White Paper will be published shortly and I hope the Government uses this as an opportunity to review the housing numbers currently set for parts of the South East such as ours".

Watch: 'People are furious', anger over housing proposals that would see 'towns and village merge'

Hurstpierpoint Liberal Democrats welcomed the news of the proposals being paused and pledged to work with the Conservatives to lobby the Government,

"Make no mistake, there is a housing crisis, and in Mid Sussex that means that homes are too expensive for many to either rent or buy. 

"We support new housing, but if Mid Sussex was run by the Liberal Democrats, we would resist being controlled by the major housing developers. Instead, we would talk to local communities about the houses that they need.

"We would work to make homes genuinely affordable, both to buy but also for social rent, and we would prioritise high sustainability standards."

Housing campaigners warn of consequences if development is slowed down. Anya Martin is from the group Priced Out,

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesperson said,

"Councils, not central government, set their own housing targets in their local plan.

"Our guidance should be considered alongside local constraints, including the need for infrastructure to support new development, and consideration for the environment."