Agenda item

Haywards Heath Town Centre Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document - Response to Consultation.


Andrew Marsh, Business Unit Leader for Planning Policy introduced the report.  He reminded the Committee that they scrutinised the draft town centre Masterplan on 22 October 2020 prior to the public consultation held for six weeks from 9 November to 21 December 2020.  The report summarises the responses, the proposed changes to the Masterplan and the next steps prior to adoption.  He confirmed that the role of the Masterplan is to strengthen and build on the positive aspects of Haywards Heath Town Centre such as its strong sense of community, attractiveness and good links.  He reminded Members that the Masterplan is not the vehicle for making decisions on the future of specific sites, those decisions are taken elsewhere. However, the Masterplan will set the framework and planning principles should schemes come forward. In addition, the Masterplan is a useful tool to support growth and recovery and attract inward investment.


The Business Unit Leader noted that the public consultation was completed in accordance with the Statement of Community Involvement and 243 responses were received. This was a good level for a supplementary planning document by comparison to other SPDs. The interactive map also had a high level of engagement with 7,500 views. The majority of the comments were positive with strong agreement to proposals to support economic recovery and investment.  He noted that a number of the objections were to matters which were out of the scope of the Masterplan.


Judy Holmes, Assistant Chief Executive reminded the Members that the principles of the draft Haywards Heath Masterplan had been discussed and agreed at the previous meeting of this Committee and the purpose of the meeting was for the Committee to consider the responses and the proposed changes following the public consultation.  


The Chairman took the Committee through each section of Appendix 1, noting the number of responses, the way the respondents voted and the proposed changes to the Masterplan following consideration of the comments and the general support for the proposals.


Some Members expressed concern regarding the consultation arrangements, the lack of references to sustainable transport and aspirations towards climate change.  The Business Unit Leader advised that objective 3 would be amended to refer to Public Transport.  He reminded Members that climate change is a strategic matter and is not within the scope of the Masterplan.  He confirmed that map on page 31 was out of date in relation to Perrymount Road and would be updated.


Members discussed public realm and transport improvements for each location and expressed concern on traffic, parking, signage in the town, provision for cycling, pedestrianisation, speed limits and funding, usage of the relief road, car parking and the possible future provision of a multi storey or decked cark park at The Orchards.


The Business Unit Leader confirmed that some consultation responses related to matters outside the scope of the Masterplan.  Officers have engaged with WSCC and they will seek further information to make references to cycle improvements clearer. The draft Masterplan refers to enhanced town centre central parking and includes principles on multi storey and decked parking should a scheme come forward for these uses. The Assistant Chief Executive noted that the Masterplan has been developed in partnership with WSCC. The Masterplan sets out concept proposals and does not include detailed designs for schemes: such detailed designs would be developed and consulted upon if the concept schemes comes forward.  The Chairman confirmed that officers require more detailed modelling before progressing with any scheme for the Muster Green Gyratory system.   The Business Unit Leader highlighted that the Masterplan details the principles and confirmed that detailed designs will come forward and will include further modelling and consultation.


Those Members of this Committee that also sit on the Planning Committee were advised not to comment on the opportunity site at The Broadway as an application was included on the agenda for the next meeting of the Planning Committee.  Members discussed the locations including parking at The Orchards and the current status and use of Clair Hall.  Several Members expressed concern that the amended draft Masterplan would not be viewed by the Committee prior to the Council meeting.


The Assistant Chief Executive noted the distinction between a Development Planning Document and a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which does not have the same status.  The requirements of a consultation are not the same, and the summary of the responses and the proposed changes is provided to the Committee.  The final draft of the Masterplan would be presented at the Council meeting in March. 


The Business Unit Leader advised that the Masterplan would be amended to make clearer that decisions on the future of the Clair Hall site would be based on the outcome of the first principle regarding an assessment of need. The planning principles set out in the Masterplan would only be applied once the 1st principle has been met.  Tom Clark Solicitor to the Council, advised the Committee that Clair Hall is open, and the document must reflect the current situation and the Masterplan would be amended accordingly.  


Sally Blomfield, Divisional Leader for Planning and Economy reminded the Committee that the responses received are largely supportive of the purposes and objectives of the Masterplan; the proposed changes to the document are largely factual or for clarity; and that the schedule in Appendix 1, makes clear what the proposed changes are. Finally, the proposed revisions to the SPD will be reported in full to Council at the meeting in March.  The Assistant Chief Executive highlighted that the Scrutiny Committee had seen the pre-consultation document, reviewed the responses and officers’ proposals to amend the document.  The role of the Masterplan is a planning document that sets broad principles and assists the Council to create a town that local people want. A function of the Council is to adopt the document and a schedule of all the changes would be provided. 


Andrew McNaughton, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning stated that some Members were confused about the purpose of a Masterplan. The Masterplan will benefit the town centre, encourage regeneration and investment.  It will be used as a promotional tool to get interest in investors and it encourages people to deliver the changes.  He confirmed that the policies of the District Plan are still relevant, and that this document is supplementary to the District Plan.


As there were no further questions the Chairman took the Committee to the recommendations which was agreed with 12 votes in favour and 2 against.






Bates, R




Belsey, M




Brown, P




Coe-Gunnell White, E




Dabell, J             




Eggleston, R




Hatton, S        




Henwood, J




Laband, C  (Chairman)




Marsh, G  (Vice Chairman     




Mockford, J




Peacock, A




Pulfer, M                            




Webb, R                             























That the Scrutiny Committee:

(i)          Considered the consultation responses on the consultation draft Haywards  Heath Town Centre Masterplan;


(ii)        Considered the proposed modifications to draft Haywards Heath Masterplan set out in Appendix 1; and


(iii)       Recommended to Council, subject to the modifications set out in Appendix 1 being implemented, and the further proposed change to the current status of Clair Hall that the Haywards Heath Town Centre Masterplan is adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document.


Supporting documents: