“Responding to the decision by the Secretary of State on Thursday (16 March) to allow up to 97 houses at Hassocks, in contravention of the village’s emerging neighbourhood plan, Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert said:
“I am dismayed by the Government’s decision, which actually admits that it will erode local confidence in neighbourhood planning, and I simply cannot reconcile it with what I was told in December when Ministers agreed to give more protection to neighbourhood plans.
“While the Government rightly wants to see more housing, they are now undermining the very policy of neighbourhood planning which they championed and which has delivered more homes than expected.
“Until the Government decides to protect neighbourhood plans properly, communities will see little point in going ahead with them. Ministers had better decide whether they want neighbourhood planning or not.
“The Government cannot go on encouraging volunteers in local communities to invest time and money in neighbourhood plans, going to all the trouble of holding a local referendum, if their plans are then torn up in front of their eyes.”