Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth - Wednesday, 11th March, 2020 7.00 pm

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No. Item


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


Councillor Cornish substituted for Councillor Brown and Councillor Salisbury substituted for Councillor Marsh.


To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Brown and Councillor Marsh.


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


Councillor Phillips declared a personal interest in Item 6: Site Allocations Development Plan Document - Regulation 19 as he had submitted an objection in the consultation in relation to SA4 - North A264, Copthorne.


Cllr Salisbury commented that he is the Chairman of the District Planning Committee.  Tom Clark, Solicitor to the Council confirmed that there is no conflict and Cllr Salisbury can be a substitute on the Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth.


To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth held on 22 January 2020. pdf icon PDF 235 KB


After an amendment to item 8 the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 January 2020 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 




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




Site Allocations Development Plan Document - Regulation 19 pdf icon PDF 423 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman highlighted the previous work of the scrutiny committee on the Site Allocation Development Plan Document (the Sites DPD) and noted that the adoption of the Sites DPD was a condition of the District Plan.  He advised that the methodology and the application of the site selection criteria had been reviewed 7 times by the Scrutiny Committee and scrutinised with due diligence and in accordance with the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF).  The DPD is important as it ensures that the Council can continue to maintain a 5 year housing land supply. This will help to prevent speculative development in Mid Sussex.


Andrew Marsh, Business Unit Leader for Planning Policy introduced the report.  He confirmed the adoption of the District Plan in March 2018 following public examination by an independent Planning Inspector who imposed the production of a Sites Development Plan Document (DPD) on the Council. He confirmed that the methodology and findings of the site selection process were considered by the Scrutiny Committee during 2018.  241 sites were submitted to the Council by promoters, these were subject to the site selection process as set out in the agreed methodology.  Three options for allocating sites were presented to Scrutiny Committee on 11th 2019. Option 2 was recommended for the draft Sites DPD.  This option contained 22 housing sites, totalling 1,962 dwellings. In addition, 7 employment sites, the specific location for a Science and Technology Park and 5 strategic policies were included within the draft Sites DPD.


The draft Sites DPD was subject to public consultation between 9th October and 20th November 2019.  Just over 1,300 respondents made over 2,000 individual comments on the document and supporting evidence.  The respondents were 19 from Town and Parish Councils, 8 from neighbouring authorities, 12 from specific consultation bodies, 88 from site promoters, 30 from organisations or interest groups, and 1,200 from individuals.  On 22nd January 2020, this Scrutiny Committee was provided with a summary of the representations received and were informed of the additional work to be carried out ahead of the next statutory stage.  Officers had carefully considered every response received and this resulted in amendments being made to the draft submission Sites DPD.


The Business Unit Leader confirmed that 20 new housing sites were submitted for consideration during the consultation. These were assessed using the same agreed site selection methodology as all other sites previously. 3 sites did not meet the District Plan strategy and were ruled out for further consideration. 13 of the remaining 17 sites did not meet the site selection criteria and therefore do not progress further. Site Selection Paper 3 has been revised to include these assessments.  Further work was carried out on the 4 remaining sites including assessment within the Sustainability Appraisal, the outcomes are listed at Paragraph 20. As a result of this work, these sites have not been considered suitable for allocation at this time.


Paragraph 22 was highlighted to the committee as it detailed 8 new employment sites which were submitted for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Scrutiny Committee for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth - Work Programme 2019/20. pdf icon PDF 193 KB


Tom Clark, Head of Regulatory Services, introduced the Committee’s Work Programme for the forthcoming meeting on 8 April 2020.  He noted that the report on the Haywards Heath Masterplan would now go to a later Committee.


The Chairman noted that no Member wished to comment on the Work Programme and so moved to the recommendation to note the Committee’s Work Programme which was agreed unanimously.




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



Questions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 10, due notice of which has been given. pdf icon PDF 196 KB


Councillor Janice Henwood posed a number of questions to the Officers in relation Item 6: Site Allocations Development Plan Document - Regulation 19.


Question 1 from Councillor Henwood:


Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre have verified that the following (- not excluding many other species of animals) found on SA 13, are protected by International or National legislation:

7 species of bats,

5 species amphibians,

2 species of butterflies & moths,

3 species of reptiles

8 species of Birds


Question - What measures will be taken to ensure suitable habitats will be provided for these listed animals and the many others who inhabit these sites?


Response of Councillor Neville Walker

Chairman of Scrutiny for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth


The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is clear that development in the most environmentally sensitive locations should be avoided and specifically requires development plans to identify and safeguard the hierarchy of international, national and local designated sites of importance.  The hierarchy of sites includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (now known as Local Wildlife Sites), Local Nature Reserves and Ancient Woodlands. The Council’s Site Selection Criteria mirrors this process.


Site SA13 is not covered by any designated sites of importance.


The Draft Submission Site Allocations DPD makes clear the need to ensure biodiversity is given due consideration and protection when developing proposals for allocated sites.  These policies are in addition to the protection provided by District Plan Policies DP37 and DP38.  Together these policies seek to protect biodiversity and require development to undertake habitats and species surveys; apply the mitigation hierarchy (avoid, minimise, compensate); take opportunities to conserve and enhance biodiversity; and protect and enhance green infrastructure.



Question 2 from Councillor Henwood:


SA13 represents an historic field system, over 150 years old.  Eleven species of grasses have been identified as on the Nature Red List.


Question: -What measures will be taken to ensure that this valuable meadow is not destroyed?


Response of Councillor Neville Walker

Chairman of Scrutiny for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth


The Planning Inspector stated in his report into the District Plan Examination (Paragraph 49) that “meeting the housing needs of an area is a core planning principle in the NPPF, and in Mid Sussex this will entail development on greenfield land”.  Therefore, there is no in principle mandate against allocation of greenfield sites for development including housing.


In fact, most new housing development in Mid Sussex is on greenfields.


Site SA13 is not covered by any designated sites of importance.



Question 3 from Councillor Henwood:


In 2004, 2007, 2013, 2016 Assessments were made that these sites were not suitable for development.


What measures have taken place to now deem them suitable for development?


Response of Councillor Neville Walker

Chairman of Scrutiny for Housing, Planning and Economic Growth


The Government’s NPPF determines how development is assessed.  The site selection criteria are based on the revised NPPF and best practice set out in the government’s Planning Practice Guidance.  The purpose of the criteria is to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.