Ashdown Forest & Habitats Regulations

The PRC has long challenged MSDC's approach to the Habitats Regulations but do recent developments mean that their 'chickens may soon come home to roost'?

[Background] to the EU Habitats Directive & the UK Habitats Regulations

  • From October 2005 the Council has been required to ensure that any development it allows close to Ashdown Forest does not damage it
  • By July 2007 the Council had identified that development close to Ashdown Forest risks damaging the protected SPA & SAC sites - subsequently this leads to the establishment of a 7km Buffer Zone around the edge of the Forest

September 2014 -

30th - PRC Barrister attends first day of appeal hearings to investigate MSDC approach to Habitiats.  Hearing postponed until 17th November as MSDC cannot either verify PRC housing numbers or provide numbers themselves.

24th - MSDC submit letter to PINS updating their position on Habitats introducing Ashplats Wood SANGS but failing to give up to date numbers of dwellings permitted within 7km zone.

August 2014 -

MSDC acknowledge that they mis-led Tandridge District Council about the number of dwellings permitted against the Interim SAMM scheme and that

  • the 200 limit has already been exceeded
  • no practical SAMM measures have been introduced

MSDC ask the Planning Inspector to submit new information to 'Habitats Appeals'.

April 2014 - In appeal decision Inspector concludes that both SAMM and SANGS are required to mitigate cumulaitve disturbance effects of a single replacement dwelling, rejecting MSDC's Interim SAMM approach

March 2014 - Residents of the Grade I Listed Old Convent consider that the District Planning Commitee on 06 March was not fully informed by officials of these new and material developments [Click Here]

February 2014 -

[Wealden wins Judicial Review] The result of the Judicial Review has direct implications for the Mid Sussex approach to the Habitats Regulations:

  • Challenge by developers against Wealden's Local Plan (Core Strategy) & associated Development Control policies is dismissed
  • Wealden win costs
  • Big implications for Mid Sussex that offcials have not addressed

MSDC admits that it is taking further advice over concerns about its approach to the Habitats Regs [Click Here]

January 2014 -

PINS say that they are not convinced by MSDC's approach to Habitats Regs and that therefore 6 appeals for a total of 34 homes will need to be heard via 'hearings' [Click Here]

District Plan is formally withdrawn from Examination raising new implications for MSDC's approach to Habitats Regulations [Click here]

December 2013 - At the District Planning Committee 4 December the new MTRU report and the concerns about the 'Interim SAMM' expressed by PINS are not explained by officers [Click Here]

November 2013

Planning Inspectorate (PINS) call into question the approach being taken by MSDC in complying with the Habitiats Regulations [Click Here]

PRC publish a new report by transport consultants MTRU that concludes that to comply with the Habitats Directive MSDC cannot allow any further development within the 7km Buffer Zone without carrying out more assessments [Click Here] - MSDC have not responded to this report


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