In the week before the government planning Inspector delivers his interim findings on the future of house building and development in Mid Sussex, a survey conducted by the respected polling organisation ICM has revealed that local residents would prefer a shift from the council’s current policy of building extensions to existing towns and villages, and instead favour a single new town with the associated infrastructure.
A total of 1000 interviews were conducted with adults over the age of 18, equally split between people living in the Horsham District Council area and Mid Sussex District area.
The key findings of the survey were:
- In a forced choice between development of 10,000 new homes on the fringes of existing towns or the same number of new homes in one location seven in ten (69%) opt for a brand new town, with only one in five (21%) preferring fringe development.
- There is an overwhelming view that Mid Sussex and Horsham cannot sustain further housing without supporting infrastructure. Nearly all (93%) agreed that schools and medical facilities must be built alongside new homes.
- Nearly as many (89%) believe that house prices are too high for most people to get on the housing ladder, with seven in ten (69%) agreeing that new homes must be built to keep local people in the areas. Fewer - but still a majority (55%) – agree that new homes should be built for newcomers as well as people already living in the area, although the jury is out on whether or not new homes would have a negative effect on their community (46% agree; 45% disagree).
ICM also surveyed residents on the levels of housing growth they would like to see.
20% said they would like to see greater levels than seen over the last few years. 33% said they would like to see about the same and 41% said they would like to see less than that seen over the last few years with 6% undecided.
The questionnaire was designed by ICM Unlimited in collaboration with Mayfield Market Towns. Questions were premised on a major study conducted by ICM on behalf of South East County Councils (the South East Plan) on infrastructure development, and on assorted other planning and development research conducted by ICM over the last few years.