MSDC have put together the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) for the district, as an LDF document, in an attempt to meet the housing targets directed in the South East Plan. This process has been tough, in view of the 17,100 new dwellings required by 2026 – the fifth highest target in the whole of the south east's 72 planning areas. There is nothing MSDC can do about this! The SHLAA in itself does not allocate land for development. It is a tool to help the Council decide which sites to identify for housing in the Core Strategy or other policy document. Therefore, it may identify lots of areas of land which are ultimately not considered to be suitable for housing development. The idea of the SHLAA is to get all possible sites out in the open at the start of the process and consult on them to try to reach agreement on which sites are ultimately allocated in the Plan, and when they may be developed. As a minimum, it should aim to identify sufficient specific sites for at least the first 10 years of a plan and ideally for longer than the whole 15 year plan period.
The preliminary results are currently showing that MSDC has a five-year supply of 'deliverable' sites (which includes sites with planning permission and allocations). However, in the longer term, they are not currently able to show enough sites that can be developed to meet their residual housing requirements of the 17,100 homes by 2026 proposed in the South East Plan.
Therefore, land which would once have had a presumption against development to build on is now being considered - in fact such is the desperation, almost any area is included, such as the Bylanes site on AONB to the north of the village, and the Ardingly Road fields which were part of the strategic gap to prevent coalescence between Cuckfield and Haywards Heath. Whether these areas finally become allocated in the adopted Core Strategy is down to MSDC's assessment.
The SHLAA is a 'live document', which will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated as more information or evidence about each site becomes known or further sites come forward for assessment.