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Mid Sussex District

Coordinates: 51°1′14.4″N 0°8′14.38″W / 51.020667°N 0.1373278°W / 51.020667; -0.1373278
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Mid Sussex District
Muster Green at Haywards Heath, the district's largest town.
Muster Green at Haywards Heath, the district's largest town.
Mid Sussex shown within West Sussex
Mid Sussex shown within West Sussex
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countyWest Sussex
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQHaywards Heath
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyMid Sussex District Council
 • MPsAndrew Griffith
Jeremy Quin
Mims Davies
 • Total128.97 sq mi (334.02 km2)
 • Rank111th (of 296)
 • Total154,930
 • Rank137th (of 296)
 • Density1,200/sq mi (460/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)

Mid Sussex is a local government district in West Sussex, England. The largest town is Haywards Heath, where the council is based. The district also contains the towns of Burgess Hill and East Grinstead plus surrounding rural areas, including many villages. The district includes part of the South Downs National Park and part of the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of High Weald, including sections of Ashdown Forest. The district contains most headwaters of the River Ouse. Its largest body of water is Ardingly reservoir which is used by watersports clubs. At the 2021 census the district had a population of 152,949.

The neighbouring districts are Crawley, Horsham, Brighton and Hove, Lewes, Wealden and Tandridge.


The name "Mid Sussex" was occasionally used for various parts of central Sussex prior to 1974, including as an alternative name for the Lewes constituency created under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, and as a joint water district established in 1907.[2]

The modern district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972 as one of seven districts within West Sussex. The new district covered the whole area of three former districts and most of a fourth, which were all abolished at the same time:[3][4]

The new district was named Mid Sussex, reflecting its position within the historic county.[5] All of the areas which made up Mid Sussex were in East Sussex prior to 1974; as part of the reforms that year they were transferred to West Sussex. The change of county was not without controversy; the government's rationale for the change was that it brought the projected major economic area centred on Crawley and Gatwick Airport under the supervision of one county council.[6]


Mid Sussex District Council
Mid Sussex District Council logo
Rodney Jackson,
Liberal Democrat
since 24 May 2023[7]
Robert Eggleston,
Liberal Democrat
since 24 May 2023
Kathryn Hall
since 2010[8]
Seats48 councillors
Political groups
Administration (24)
  Liberal Democrats (20)
  Independent (4)
Other parties (24)
  Conservative (18)
  Green (4)
  Labour (1)
  Independent (1)
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Oaklands, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1SS

Mid Sussex District Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by West Sussex County Council.[9] The whole district is also covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[10]

In the parts of the district within the South Downs National Park, town planning is the responsibility of the South Downs National Park Authority. The district council appoints one of its councillors to serve on the 27-person National Park Authority.[11]

Political control[edit]

The council has been under no overall control since the 2023 election, being run by a minority administration of the Liberal Democrats and some of the independent councillors, led by Liberal Democrat councillor Robert Eggleston.[12]

The first elections to the council were held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[13]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1974–1979
Conservative 1979–1995
Liberal Democrats 1995–1999
Conservative 1999–2023
No overall control 2023–present


The leaders of the council since 2006 have been:[14]

Councillor Party From To
Christine Field Conservative 17 May 2006
Patrick Shanahan Conservative 17 May 2006 6 May 2007
Gordon Marples Conservative 16 May 2007 31 Oct 2009
Garry Wall Conservative 18 Nov 2009 5 May 2019
Jonathan Ash-Edwards[15] Conservative 22 May 2019 7 May 2023
Robert Eggleston[16] Liberal Democrats 24 May 2023


Following the 2023 election, the composition of the council was:[17]

Party Councillors
Liberal Democrats 20
Conservative 18
Independent 5
Green 4
Labour 1
Total 48

Four of the five independent councillors sit together as the "Independent Group", which forms the council's administration with the Liberal Democrats.[18][12] The next election is due in 2027.


Since the last boundary changes in 2023 the council has comprised 48 councillors representing 27 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[19]

The district straddles three parliamentary constituencies; most of the district is in the Mid Sussex constituency, but north-western parts of the district are in the Horsham constituency and southern parts of the district are in the Arundel and South Downs constituency.[10]


The council is based at Oaklands, in Haywards Heath, which was originally a large Victorian house and had served as the headquarters of the old Cuckfield Urban District Council (which had included Haywards Heath) since 1934. The building has been substantially extended.[20]

Towns and parishes[edit]

Church Walk, Burgess Hill
High Street, East Grinstead
Cuckfield Park, stately home at Cuckfield

The district is divided into 24 civil parishes. The parish councils for Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath have declared their parishes to be towns, allowing them to take the style "town council". The small parish of Newtimber has a parish meeting rather than a parish council.[21] Hassocks is a post town but has a parish council rather than a town council.

Home ownership[edit]

Homes owned by their occupants, with or without a loan, make up more than 85% of Mid Sussex housing. Mid Sussex's residents had the lowest burden of social housing, at 0.5% of housing stock, at the time of the census, a district which is approximately 30 minutes by its fast railway services from the area with the highest such proportion covering London Bridge station, the London Borough of Southwark (having 31.2% social housing) and from a creative and self-declared, progressive authority with 9.8% social housing and 28% of its housing privately rented, Brighton and Hove.

In terms of rented housing Mid Sussex at the 2011 census ranked 216th out of in terms of 327 local authorities in England. The proportion of homes which were rented as investments by non-occupants was higher than several other semi-rural districts of Sussex, with 11.7% of housing stock speculatively acquired in this way or to provide for those unable to obtain mortgage finance and 1.0% was let out to residents on either public or private shared ownership schemes, close to the national average. These figures are those of the 2011 census.[22]


In terms of television, Mid Sussex is served by BBC South East and ITV Meridian with television signals received from the Heathfield TV transmitter.[23] Northern parts of the district around East Grinstead can also receive BBC London and ITV London from the Crystal Palace TV transmitter.[24]

Radio stations for the area are:

Local newspapers are the Mid Sussex Times and The Sussex Newspaper.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Mid Sussex Local Authority (E07000228)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ "LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROVISIONAL ORDERS (No. 11) BILL". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 14 May 1907. col. 765–765.
  3. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 31 May 2023
  4. ^ "Sussex: Diagram showing administrative boundaries, 1972". National Library of Scotland. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  5. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  6. ^ "LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 11 September 1972. col. 157–159.
  7. ^ "Council minutes, 24 May 2023". Mid Sussex District Council. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  8. ^ Keeling, Ruth (27 October 2010). "Mid Sussex deputy made chief". Local Government Chronicle. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  9. ^ "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  10. ^ a b "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  11. ^ "Members". South Downs National Park Authority. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  12. ^ a b Dunn, Karen (25 May 2023). "Lib Dems team up with majority of Independents to form minority administration at Mid Sussex District Council". Sussex World. Retrieved 28 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  14. ^ "Council minutes". Mid Sussex District Council. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  15. ^ "Full Mid Sussex District Council election results - here's how it all unfolded". SussexWorld. 6 May 2023. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  16. ^ "Joint administration confirmed for Mid Sussex District Council". www.midsussex.gov.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  17. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  18. ^ "Your Councillors by Political Grouping". Mid Sussex District Council. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  19. ^ "The Mid Sussex (Electoral Changes) Order 2022", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2022/812, retrieved 29 January 2024
  20. ^ "Up and down the county". Mid Sussex Times. 12 June 1934. p. 7. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  21. ^ "Parish, Town and County Councils contact details". Mid Sussex District Council. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  22. ^ 2011 Census Key Statistics: Tenure, Office for National Statistics.
  23. ^ "Full Freeview on the Heathfield (East Sussex, England) transmitter". May 2004.
  24. ^ "Full Freeview on the Crystal Palace (Greater London, England) transmitter". May 2004.

51°1′14.4″N 0°8′14.38″W / 51.020667°N 0.1373278°W / 51.020667; -0.1373278