Local Plan is a step closer to adoption

Following a series of public hearing sessions in November and December last year, the Planning Inspector has asked the National Park Authority to make a number of “Main Modifications” to the first ever Local Plan for the South Downs. Those changes focus on ensuring the “soundness” of the 15-year plan.

While the consultation is looking at the soundness of the Plan only, every comment on the Main Modifications will be passed, exactly as submitted, to the Planning Inspector who will respond to them as part of his examination into the Local Plan. The consultation started on 1 February and will run until 28 March.

The changes do not alter the planning approach of “medium level of growth dispersed across the towns and villages of the National Park” and the allocation of development sites remains unchanged, as do key policies.

Following further consideration, it is hoped the Local Plan will be adopted in the Spring. The Plan follows extensive consultation over the past five years and sets the policies against which planning applications will be considered and allocates land for a variety of uses:

  • When adopted the Local Plan will replace policies from 12 different local authorities with a single set of policies covering the whole of the National Park from Winchester to Eastbourne.
  • This landscape-led plan sets out to conserve the dark night skies, tranquillity and many services such as clean water and air, provided by the National Park.
  • The Plan sets high goals for affordable housing – up to 50 per cent in some developments.
  • Beneath our Local Plan sit over 50 Neighbourhood Plans developed by South Downs’ communities which provide local development management policies and allocate land for development.

Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive of the SDNPA, says:
“This is the first Local Plan ever produced for the National Park and recognises the national importance of the landscapes and our duty to conserve and enhance them.

“The Local Plan, once adopted, will guarantee the high standards that all proposed development must meet to protect nature and support local communities. The Local Plan is also a vital component in protecting the ‘eco-system’ services the National Park gives us such as clean water, food, and space to breathe.”