Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth - Thursday, 18th July, 2019 7.00 pm

As of May 2021, decision making of meetings of the Council have returned to in-person sessions. A number of meetings remain virtual, with appropriate Councillors attending via remote video link. Public access to these meetings is via a live stream video through the Council’s official YouTube channel

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Email: 

No. Item


To note Substitutes in Accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4 - Substitutes at Meetings of Committees etc.


Councillor Smith substituted for Councillor Coe-Gunnell White.


To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Coe-Gunnell White and Marsh.


To receive Declarations of Interests from Members in respect of any matter on the Agenda.




To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting of the Scrutiny Committee for Community, Housing and Planning held on 6 March 2019 and the Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth held on 22 May 2019. pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the meetings of the Committees held on 6 March 2019 and 22 May 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



To consider any items that the Chairman agrees to take as urgent business.





Economic Development Strategy: Annual Progress Review 2018/19. pdf icon PDF 156 KB


Sally Blomfield, Divisional Leader for Planning and Economy introduced the report.  She reminded the Committee that the Economic Development Strategy (EDS), which had been approved by the Council last year, is a delivery tool of the Mid Sussex Corporate Plan objective to deliver sustainable economic growth and of the Mid Sussex District Plan. The EDS sets out a vision and delivery strategy until 2031.  The Strategy contains 65 actions with key measures to monitor progress framed around four key themes: Place, Premises, People and Promotion.    In line with best practice it had been agreed at Scrutiny Committee last year that an Annual Progress Report would be prepared: this is the first report.


The officer highlighted that there was a word missing in paragraph 10, “Significant progress has been made in the delivery of the project, and the six week public engagement exercise has now been completed”. 


A Member asked about the District Plan requirement regarding delivery of jobs and how this was monitored and about the success of town centres.  The officer noted that the District Plan Policy DP1 set out the requirement for 543 new jobs a year and that this would be achieved through a number of different mechanisms including allocating 25 hectares of employment land at Burgess Hill; allocating further employment sites through the Sites DPD; and ensuring effective use of existing employment land by allowing proposals for intensification and expansion..  She highlighted a number of recent permissions which indicated the successful delivery of this Policy including the allocation of 15 hectares, for The Hub, Burgess Hill, Handcross and the employment at Copthorne. The officer advised that the vitality and viability of town and village centres is measured by a range of indicators such as retail performance, vacancy rates and footfall. She noted that there is a profile on the Council’s website which provides base line data for the three town centres.  Judy Holmes, Assistant Chief Executive informed the Committee that the Government provided a formula to calculate the anticipated yield of jobs per square metre of commercial land.


In response to a Member’s question on freehold employment space and the predicted trend for online shopping, the Assistant Chief Executive noted that the Council could not require landowners to sell the freehold of their land for employment.  However, the Council could influence land owners and is currently working with Homes England regarding the future of their employment space at Burgess Hill.  She noted that the vitality of town centres was a national issue, and the Council needed to balance supporting businesses within the planning environment.  The Divisional Leader stated that town centres are not just retail centres, they also play an important role for social and recreational purposes.


A Member asked how the new hotel in Burgess Hill would tie into tourism within the District and if the Council had a dedicated Tourism Officer.  The Divisional Leader noted that although the Council did not have a Tourism Officer, the Regeneration and Economy Team have been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Mid Sussex Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document - Consultation Draft. pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Additional documents:


Sally Blomfield, Divisional Leader for Planning and Economy introduced the report which asked the Committee to consider the draft Mid Sussex Design Guide Supplementary Document (SPD).  The officer noted that Mid Sussex District Council was passionate to ensure good quality design, and creating high quality buildings and spaces is fundamental to ensuring good place making.  She reminded the Committee of District Plan Policy 26: Character and Design, which sets out the principles for design and explained that the Design Guide will supplement this Policy by providing much more detailed guidance.  Once approved the Design Guide will become a Supplementary Planning Document and be a material planning consideration.  The Design Guide will be used by the Council to advise developers of the Council’s aspirations for design and will inform the planning committees what the Council wants to deliver.


The topic of the consultation process and use of the guide was discussed.  It was noted that the consultation is anticipated to start in September and would last for six weeks.  The Divisional Leader confirmed that key stakeholders, town and parish councils and residents would be invited to make representations. The officers will note and consider all representations received and come to a balanced view. The revised annotated Design Guide would then be re-considered by this Scrutiny Committee. 


In response to a Member question the Assistant Chief Executive confirmed that the draft Design Guide would have limited weight in decision making until it has been adopted by the Council.  However, planning officers could suggest that developers refer to the draft Guide.


The topics of sustainability design and site layout were discussed.  The Divisional Leader confirmed that the Mid Sussex Design Guide promoted the use of photovoltaic panels.  The Planning Officer highlighted that the issue of sustainability was woven throughout the Design Guide to optimise the potential for key sites.  The Divisional Leader confirmed that section three covered sustainable transport and section four covered site layout which includes the street scene with spaces for cyclists.


In response to questions on awards for design Will Dorman noted that the design awards were held bi-annually and anyone could put a scheme forward for consideration.  The design awards have their own web page and are also advertised through press releases.


The Chairman invited the Cabinet Members present to comment.


Andrew MacNaughton, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning noted that the development at Rocky Lane, Haywards Heath was a good example of sustainable housing design.  The Council encourages the use of renewable energy and this development has solar tiles incorporated in the roofs. He also noted the energy provided by the Rampion Wind Farm is transferred to the substation at Twineham and can supply power for many homes. 


Several Members congratulated the officers on the comprehensive document and asked whether the Design Guide would be an informative for planning applications or act as conditions for applications once adopted.  The Divisional Leader confirmed that it would be guidance to help inform negotiations to get better schemes brought forward  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth - Work Programme 2019/20. pdf icon PDF 55 KB



Tom Clark,Solicitor to the Council, introduced the report which presented the Committee’s Work Programme for the forthcoming year.  He noted that there were two items on the agendas for the 11 September and 23 October 2019 and these were lengthy reports.  Items for the agenda for 22 January 2020 would be advised at a later date.


The Chairman took Members to the recommendations which were agreed unanimously.




The Committee noted the Committee’s Work Programme as set out at paragraph 5 of the report.



Questions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 10, due notice of which has been given.