Inspector – Sub regional approach needed for Sussex Coastal Overspill

Inspectors findings on housing

Unmet housing need in other districts

Crawley Paragraph 47 of the Framework indicates that the full OAN should be met in the housing market area, subject to consistency with other Framework policies. Crawley, like Mid Sussex, is in the Northern West Sussex Housing Market Area and is unable to meet its housing need within its boundaries. Written into its plan is an obligation to work closely with neighbouring authorities to explore all opportunities for meeting its need in sustainable locations. Its shortfall is in the region of 335 dpa, of which 150 dpa is being taken by Horsham, leaving a residual unmet need of 185 dpa. The proposed Mid Sussex housing requirement of 800 dpa would leave only 46 dpa to meet this need. Given the position of Mid Sussex immediately adjacent to Crawley, and within the same HMA, this aspect of the plan is not sound. Mid Sussex is the only authority other than Horsham that can make a significant contribution towards accommodating Crawley’s unmet housing need. Opportunities in other authorities are very limited. It is reasonable for perhaps 35 dpa to be catered for elsewhere. The Mid Sussex District Plan should therefore include a contribution of 150 dpa, the same as that of Horsham, to meet this need. Coastal West Sussex The Coastal West Sussex Housing Market Area overlaps with the southern part of Mid Sussex District and is relevant to plan preparation in the District. Brighton and Hove’s total housing need amounts to 30,120 of which the agreed plan target is 13,200, leaving a shortfall of 16,920 or 56% of the total. There are also large amounts of unmet housing need in other authorities including Adur and Lewes. However, the coast has different characteristics and patterns of migration, and any plan to satisfy this level of need will require input from a number of local authorities and necessitate a sub-regional approach of the kind referred to in paragraph 179 of the National Planning Policy Framework. Several local authorities, including Mid Sussex, are collaborating on a study, but it is in its early stages and there is not enough evidence available now to ascertain the proportion of this unmet need that ought to be accommodated in Mid Sussex. It follows that there is no strong basis at the present time to make a numerical addition to the housing requirement of the Mid Sussex District Plan to address this need. But the cross-boundary study should be progressed as quickly as possible to bring an end to the uncertainty over how the unmet need is to be provided for. The District Plan should make a commitment that the Council will co-operate with Brighton and Hove and the relevant authorities in the Coastal West Sussex HMA to bring forward the study within a short space of time, and that it will be taken into account in the next review of the District Plan. A commitment to a plan review in two years’ time, advocated by some at the hearings, is too onerous given the scale of the task, but a review is unlikely to be more than 5 years away. 8 Meanwhile the Council should consider whether the matter should have some influence over the pattern of smaller site allocations either in the present plan or in the subsequent site allocations plan.

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