When did the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) become a formal planning authority?
On 1st April 2011, the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) became a statutory Planning Authority, with responsibility for all planning applications and other planning matters within the South Downs National Park boundary.
Where can I check the National Park boundary?
The National Park stretches some 100 miles from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east. For further detail please see our boundary map
How do I find out if I live within the South Downs National Park?
You can find out if you live in or your property or applications site lies within the South Downs National Park by visiting our Do I live in the National Park? tool
You will be able to insert your postcode and find out if your property, or application site, lies within the boundary of the South Downs National Park.
How many planning applications are submitted in the National Park every year?
It is anticipated that up to 4,000 planning applications will be submitted within the National Park each year, making the SDNPA the 8th biggest planning authority in the country in terms of workload.
Does the SDNPA determine all these applications itself?
No – the great majority (about 90%) are, in fact, dealt with by 11 of the 15 existing Local Planning Authorities under partnership Agency Agreements with the SDNPA. For the other 4 LPAs (Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden), all planning applications in the Park are dealt with by the SDNPA directly.
Each of the 11 local authorities delivering the delegated service and whose boundaries fall partially within the National Park, provide the majority of the planning service on behalf of the SDNPA under legal agreements, signed between each Local Authority and the SDNPA. This is a unique partnership arrangement for a National Park. This partnership has operated very successfully since 1 April 2011.
Which local authorities provide a delegated planning service on behalf of the SDNPA?
The eleven local authorities that provide a delegated planning service on behalf of the SDNPA include the following Local Planning Authorities:-
These are referred to as the LPAs providing a delegated planning service.
And which ones are not?
The four local authorities that decided not to provide a planning service after 31 March 2012 on behalf of the SDNPA include the following Local Planning Authorities:-
These are referred to as the LPAs in the recovered planning service areas.
Which applications does the SDNPA deal with itself then?
The SDNPA expects to deal with up to about 450 planning applications this year. These fall in to two main areas. Firstly, these include the more significant types of development which potentially generate particular, special or really major issues for the National Park. Secondly, they also include all National Park planning applications in the recovered planning service areas of Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden.
To help customers understand the type of “significant” application that the SDNPA may wish to deal with itself, guidance has been prepared. Please see our significance guidance document for further information.
Each week, we update and publish on our website the applications that the SDNPA is dealing with itself and this can be found on our called in applications page.
From where can I obtain pre-application or other planning advice?
Just as you do now, you should seek this from your normal District of County Local Planning Authority (LPA), except for applications in the recovered planning service areas of Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden. In these four areas, advice should be sought directly from the SDNPA.
A separate and specific set of FAQs for the recovered planning service areas can found on the direct applications FAQ page.
Practices and levels of pre-application advice vary to some degree throughout the LPAs in the National Park, but all offer the service in some form. Details are normally available on each LPAs website or by contacting them directly by telephone.
How can I find out if I need planning permission?
Please make use of the Planning Portal Interactive House, first of all. You should also be able to obtain help and advice from your LPA or from the SDNPA, as appropriate.
Where do I submit my planning application?
Within the 11 LPAs that provide a delegated planning service, the Local Planning Authorities will accept all planning applications submitted in the National Park. Each of these 11 authorities, to varying degrees, has at least part of its area within the National Park and the rest of its area outside. Therefore:-
What about the planning fee? Do I send that to the SDNPA?
If your application requires a planning fee, then this should accompany your application and should be paid directly to your local planning authority if it is in the delegated service area.
If your application requires a planning fee, then this should accompany your application and should be paid directly to the SDNPA if it is in the recovered planning service area.
Did this change on April 1 2012?
Yes it did. Up until then, all fees for applications in Arun District, Eastbourne Borough, Wealden District and Brighton and Hove City Councils were submitted to those LPAs directly. Following their decisions not to continue with dealing with SDNPA planning applications after 31 March 2012, all fees in these areas now need to be paid directly to the SDNPA.
So what happens in those four areas from 1 April 2012?
After 1 April 2012, the South Downs National Park Authority receives, deals with and determines all National Park planning applications in Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden. We sought views and agreed how the service is best provided from this time.
We then prepared a set of specific FAQs relating to the National Park parts of the planning service in Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden after 1 April 2012. This can be ound on our direct applications FAQ page.
And what will happen in the other parts of the National Park from 1st April 2012?
For the other eleven Local Planning Authorities in the National Park, the current arrangements will continue just as they are now.
Aren’t local planning authorities setting their own fees soon?
The Government is still considering introducing locally set fees at some stage, although its decision on this has been significantly delayed. The SDNPA will consider setting its own fees, after consultation, but only if the Government has confirmed that locally set fees are going ahead and has published the appropriate Regulations. At present, there is some doubt that the Government will proceed with these plans in the near future.
I have heard that some planning applications in the National Park are determined by the SDNPA – is this true?
Yes it is. As a result of the 11 Agency Agreements, which are designed to help ensure that most planning decisions are taken locally, about 90% of all National Park applications are still determined by 11 LPAs on behalf of the SDNPA. However, the SDNPA does deal with the most significant cases and is expected to deal with up to 150 such cases itself each year. The following guidelines normally apply:-
The number of applications that the SDNPA deals with after 1 April 2012 will increase as a result of it determining all planning applications in Arun, Eastbourne, Brighton and Hove and Wealden Councils from that time. Based on anticipated application levels in 2011/12, this is expected to amount to an additional 300 cases, potentially making a total of up to 450 cases in 2012/13.
Who should I contact about my planning application?
All communications regarding a planning application (letters, emails, phone calls) should be sent to the relevant local planning authority in those 11 LPA areas continuing with delegation. Once validated, those LPAs will provide applicants and agents with contact details for each application.
From 1 April 2012, the South Downs National Park Authority will be the contact for all planning applications in the National Park in Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden. The SDNPA will provide applicants and agents with the same levels of service.
Who should I make representations on a planning application or planning matter to?
Delegated Service Areas
As above, all representations should continue to be made directly to the LPA in the 11 LPA areas continuing with delegation, just as they are now. If the SDNPA decides to determine an application in any of those 11 areas itself, then correspondence should still be sent to the LPA. All representations will still be seen and considered by the SDNPA, even though they have been sent to the LPA.
Recovered Service Areas
The South Downs National Park Authority should receive representations directly on all planning applications or related matters in the National Park in Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden.
Are planning policies the same across the whole of the National Park?
Not at the present time. On 1st April 2011, we inherited over 1600 planning policies that are currently operated by the 15 LPAs across the National Park. While these are generally consistent in their approach to the National Park, there are some differences. However, these do provide the policy basis on which many decisions will be made.
We are preparing a programme for developing our own planning policy framework, including our own Local Development Framework and our Core Strategy. Once these have been adopted (probably by 2014), then a single set of planning policies will apply across the whole National Park.
How does the SDNPA make sure that high standards of service are provided?
Comprehensive consultation arrangements have been established to make sure there is regular and effective liaison between the SDNPA and the 11 LPAs in those areas continuing with delegation. Three SDNPA Link Officers work within or visit the 11 LPAs on a regular basis to discuss all aspects of planning.
Link Officers act as the primary link between the LPAs and colleagues and Members at the SDNPA. A set of performance guidelines is used to assess the standard and quality of service provided by the LPAs and the SDNPA itself, on an on-going basis.
What about Enforcement? Do I contact the SDNPA if I wish to report possible unauthorised activity?
Please continue to contact your local authority’s Planning Enforcement team within the 11 LPAs continuing to provide this service on behalf of the SDNPA. Enforcement forms an important part of the 11 Agency Agreements. The local authority keeps the SDNPA informed of progress on investigations and the SDNPA provides advice and support, as required.
The South Downs National Park Authority is the only contact for all planning enforcement matters in the National Park in Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden.
And who will deal with planning appeals?
All planning appeals should still be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, using the link below:-
Appeals also form part of the Agency Agreements, so the LPA in those 11 LPA areas continuing with delegation will continue to deal with most appeals in the National Park.
However, the SDNPA may deal with some more complex cases itself or may help the LPA with other cases by providing witnesses or other forms or expert advice. The SDNPA also deals with all National Park appeals in Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden.
Can I find further information or answers to Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) from the 15 LPAs within the National Park?
Yes – a lot of more detailed information is available from the 15 LPAs who have their own FAQs on their own websites. We also have direct links to their websites, which can be found using the following link from our website:-
If I have a complaint about the service provided by my Local Planning authority, or the SDNPA, who do I approach?
All complaints should be submitted to the relevant local planning authority in those 11 LPA areas continuing with delegation. It will deal with your complaint through its own published complaints protocol. A process has also been developed for dealing with complaints relating to planning work within the National Park, that are not satisfactorily resolved by the LPA.
The South Downs National Park Authority is the contact for all complaints about planning matters in the National Park in Arun, Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Wealden.
How do I contact the SDNPA?
We can be contacted using the following details:-
South Downs National Park Authority,
C/o East Hampshire District Council,
Telephone: 01730 811759