The Neighbourhood Plan was formally ‘made’ by Mid Sussex District Council on the 30th June 2016, following a resolution made at its meeting on the 29th June.
The Referendum took place on Thursday 5th May 2016.
The Referendum question was:
Do you want Mid Sussex District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Ashurst Wood to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?
(The neighbourhood area is the whole of the civil parish of Ashurst Wood.)
There were 505 YES votes, 72 NO votes and 1 spoiled paper.
The turnout was 43%.
The next step is for Mid Sussex District Council to formally ‘make’ the Plan. This is expected to take place at the District Council’s meeting on the 29th June 2016. Once the Plan is ‘made’ it will be a statutory planning document, and will be referred to alongside Mid Sussex District Council’s Local Plan (which will eventually be replaced by the emerging District Plan) and the National Planning Policy Framework in the determination of planning applications.
Following the consultation into the submitted version of the Plan, Mid Sussex appointed Andrew Ashcroft BA (Hons), MA, DMS, MRTPI as the Independent Examiner for the Plan.
On the 2nd March 2016, he delivered his report, which confirmed that the Plan meets the legal requirements and that its content and form are fit for purpose.
He recommended that the Plan should proceed to Referendum, subject to the incorporation of some suggested modifications to the Plan’s policies. The recommended modifications relate to matters of clarity and precision and do not alter the essential aims and purpose of the Plan.
Mid Sussex District Council’s Cabinet agreed to accept the Examiner’s recommendations at its meeting on the 14th March. It agreed that the Referendum should take place on the 5th May 2016, alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner Election.
Click here to read the report of the Independent Examiner.
Click here to read the report to MSDC Cabinet
The Plan has now been published by Mid Sussex District Council for consultation. The consultation period will be 26th November 2015 to 7th January 2016.
Click here for more information.
Following the consultation early in the year, the Steering Group has considered all responses and made a number of amendments to the draft Plan. Changes have also been made to take account of changes to planning law and policy and progress with the emerging District Plan. Mid Sussex District Council required us to carry out further work to the Sustainability Appraisal / Strategic Environmental Assessment, which took some time.
The proposed Neighbourhood Plan together with required supporting documents was submitted to Mid Sussex District Council on the 24th September 2015. MSDC will now take a couple of weeks to carry out legal checks. As the Neighbourhood Plan Area falls within 7 km of the Ashdown Forest, MSDC has to prepare a Habitats Regulations Assessment and consult with Natural England on its contents.
Once these matters have been dealt with by MSDC, a 6-week consultation period will be arranged. Once we know the dates of the consultation, they will be placed on the website.
On the 3rd November 2015, Natural England advised MSDC that their response to the Habitats Regulations Assessment would not be sent until the 20th November. The consultation is therefore likely to commence during the week commencing 23rd November.
Copies of all documents submitted to MSDC can be viewed on the Documents page.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan has been published for consultation for six weeks, from 28th January to 11th March 2015.
For more information and for details of how to comment, click here.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2014
The draft District Plan was withdrawn in May and housing numbers in the Plan, including the provisional allocation of 16 for Ashurst Wood, are out of date and have to be revised.
Government projections show that Mid Sussex District Council will need to provide around 8700 new homes between now and 2031. Our proportionate share of this would be around 113 homes.
Clearly it would be unrealistic to expect new homes to be distributed around the District equally. In setting a target for the Neighbourhood Plan, the Village Council’s Steering Group must ensure that development in the village is sustainable, taking into account a number of matters including:
- Greater growth planned for the Burgess Hill area.
- Environmental factors that restrict development in Ashurst Wood, in particular the location of the village within the high Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Limited facilities in the village resulting in the need to travel to other areas for work, education and medical treatment.
- The shortage of affordable homes in the village. Our residents’ survey and the local housing register indicate that over 20 local households are now in need of affordable homes.
The Steering Group is now working with the District Council and our Planning Consultant to arrive at an acceptable target figure for the village. The Neighbourhood Plan gives us the opportunity to manage growth, but we have to accept that there will be some changes.
The Steering Group is preparing the first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan and hopes to have this ready for publication during December. There will then be a 6 week consultation period in the New Year. A summary of the Plan will be delivered to all residents and the full document together with other supporting material will be made available on the
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Council’s website and in the office.
We will need volunteers to help with deliveries. If you are able to help, please contact the Clerk.
Sustainability Appraisal – Scoping Report
Mid Sussex District Council has determined that our Neighbourhood Plan will require a Sustainability Appraisal, which will incorporate the requirements for a Strategic Environmental Assessment. We have prepared a Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report, which has been submitted for consultation to the statutory bodies. The consultation period lasts until the 28th January 2014. Comments are welcome and should be sent by the 28th January to the Clerk by email or post.
Support for our Neighbourhood Plan
We have been awarded support under the Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning programme. This programme is funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government and administered by Locality in partnership with the Royal Town Planning Institute (including Planning Aid), the Community Development Foundation, Urban Vision Enterprise, Eden Project and URS.
The support package means that we will have free assistance from a Planning Aid Consultant, Stella Scrivener.
We have also been awarded a grant of £1275, which will help to pay for printing copies of the draft and final Plan.
On 30th May 2014, we received a further grant award of £5725 to enable us to engage an independent planning consultant to assist with the Plan. This is in addition to the support and grant already awarded.
Background: What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
The Localism Act 2011 introduced a number of measures intended to hand more power to local communities to decide what happens in their area. One of these measures was the Neighbourhood Plan.
A Neighbourhood Plan is prepared by a Village Council in consultation with the community. It will contain policies for the future use and development of land. The Plan must be based on evidence and must be in accordance with national planning law and the local plan for the area. It will be subject to an independent examination and a local referendum. If more than 50% of the votes are in support of the Plan, it will become a statutory planning document and will be used when deciding planning applications.
A Neighbourhood Plan cannot be used to stop development, but provide an opportunity for us all to decide the best way for the village to move forward.
What will the Plan contain?
There are no set rules as to the content of a Plan. It is likely to begin with a Vision for the future of the village and include policies protecting the countryside and setting out local gap(s), policies for economic growth, for leisure and social facilities as well as policies allocating areas for residential development. We will have to consider what infrastructure we need to go alongside any future development.
The new Community Infrastructure Levy will be payable by developers of any new homes, and making a Plan gives us the opportunity to consider what level of development is acceptable to fund infrastructure improvements.
How does it differ from our Village Action Plan?
Our Village Plan is a great starting point for a Neighbourhood Plan. It was completed in 2007 and now is a good time to review it as we prepare our Neighbourhood Plan. It covers a variety of topics but does not deal with development. It is not a statutory document and so is not used when planning applications are considered.
What is the role of Mid Sussex District Council?
The District Council (MSDC) is the local planning authority and will remain responsible for deciding planning applications and preparing the strategic plan for the area. A new District Plan is being prepared and we will have to work alongside MSDC to ensure that our Plan is not in conflict with it or with the new National Planning Policy Framework. The District Plan will set an overall figure for new homes in the area, but each community can make decisions on site allocation in their Neighbourhood Plan.
If we do not prepare our own Plan, MSDC will have to make the decisions about where new development will go, as it has in the past.
MSDC will be responsible for ensuring that the Plan meets the legal requirements and will then organise the independent inspection of the Plan and the local referendum.
MSDC must also formally designate the area to be covered by the Neighbourhood Plan. We submitted a request that the Plan should cover the entire area of the Civil Parish, as shown on the map below. The application was advertised locally and was approved by MSDC on the 9th July 2012.