Chichester District Local Plan Review
This information has been updated on 22nd February 2023 – a flyer with this information will be distributed to most households
Further to the alarming news highlighted in the February Parish Council newsletter, the Parish Council (WGPC) has started considering how to respond to the CDC Local Plan consultation. It is exceptionally complicated and so WGPC has retained a high-level consultant to help guide our response. Having worked in Local Government, he has a thorough understanding of the Local Plan process and is able to provide some insight into CDC’s thought process.
The assistance that he has provided has helped to identify what the village’s options are, what we can hope to achieve, and what we cannot, and the best way of going about things.
Chichester District Council Local Plan
- Chichester District Council (CDC) has published its draft Local Plan which is now on consultation until 17th March 2023. It has been approved by CDC and this Regulation 19 Local Plan will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in public, along with all the consultation responses. The Council will seek to adopt this Plan, subject to that examination, as the future framework for decision making on planning.
- The draft Plan shows that CDC is unable to meet the government’s housing target by approximately 90 houses per annum. To gain the Planning Inspector’s approval of the reduced number they must demonstrate that they have ‘left no stone unturned’ in endeavouring to meet the target.
- Some District Councils have chosen to delay their Local Plans (e.g. Horsham DC) to await further government guidance. CDC took the view that delaying makes the District vulnerable to unplanned, speculative, planning applications, especially as they are seeking the Planning Inspectorate’s acceptance of a reduced number.
- There is a six-week consultation period during which anyone may comment upon the draft Local Plan.
- The nature of consultation is quite specific:
- Is the draft Plan sound and met the legal requirements?
- Has it been positively prepared and is it justified, effective and consistent with national policy?
- If the council has engaged and worked effectively with neighbouring authorities and statutory bodies?
- In the Plan, Wisborough Green has been allocated a further 75 houses, up from the 25 (2018) and 40 (2020).
- The Local Plan evidence (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) shows where these houses couldbe accommodated however determining where they do go will be decided by the Parish Council in consultation with the village through a revised Neighbourhood Plan.
- The addition of these housing numbers will, inevitably, have a large effect on the village; this must be assessed against the village priorities identified in earlier consultations.
- The Parish Council is also involved in discussion with the other three ‘Northern Parishes’ to identify common cause.
PARISH COUNCIL RESPONSE
WGPC representatives have met with the planning consultant on two occasions to get a full understanding of the Local Plan process and implications for the village. At the Parish Council meeting on 21st February 2023, it was agreed that:
- WGPC recognises the need to have a Local Plan in place to protect the village from speculative development. WGPC endorses this approach although not unequivocally; it is a case of weighing up the argument against stalling the process and then being open to speculative development.
- WGPC is concerned that the justification for additional houses in the northern area appears to be due to unresolved issues with the A27, restricting development in the south.
- WGPC needs CDC to be able to robustly defend its strategy for the current allocation.
- WGPC reluctantly agrees with the allocation (without enthusiasm or endorsement) purely to ensure that the village is protected by having a Local Plan in place. WGPC will be making strong representation that there should be no more allocation as this would detrimentally change the character of this village.
- WGPC is concerned about the lack of infrastructure; water, public transport and reliance upon the car, school places, medical facilities, and sewerage capacity.
What the Parish Council is doing
- WGPC is currently preparing a Regulation 19 response and will also be submitting a combined response with the other Northern Parishes.
- WGPC has retained the planning consultant to assist with these responses.
- WGPC representatives will be meeting with CDC Senior Planning Officers at the beginning of March. We need to understand CDC’s rationale for the housing allocations, where further development could be accommodated and ask how infrastructure concerns will be addressed.
- WGPC will strive to be involved in the Local Plan examination process later in the year and highlight concerns to the Planning Inspector.
GUIDANCE FOR COMPLETING YOUR RESPONSE – COMPLETE BY 5PM ON FRIDAY 17TH MARCH
Unfortunately the consultation is quite complex and not easy to complete!
You will need to register and then you can add comments. You will see that you are able to comment on every section, but if your time is limited, the most important section is Chapter 5, Policy H3 Non-Strategic Parish Housing Requirements 2021 – 2039. This policy allocates the 75 houses to Wisborough Green and we would suggest that you put all of your comments under this section. As the number of words is limited, please create a document first and this can be uploaded to support your response.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Study the consultation. Here’s the link chichester.gov.uk/localplanconsultation
- As with any public consultation every personal response does matter.
- Respond to the consultation before the closing date of 17th March 2023.
- Support and engage in the WGPC’s future Neighbourhood Planning consultations.