June 8, 2018
After four years, nine town and parish workshops, four public roadshows, and three public consultations generating more than 10,000 separate comments, the first Local Plan to cover the entire South Downs National Park has been submitted to the Government. The plan sets out planning policies across the whole of the National Park, how land is used and what can be built where.
Local plans have the power to make a big difference to the world around you. This is particularly the case for the South Downs where development needs to be properly managed in order to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage for which the National Park was designated seven years ago.
“The South Downs Local Plan puts our nationally important landscapes first and will ensure they sit at the heart of every planning decision we make,” says Margaret Paren, Chair of the National Park Authority. “Putting the landscape first means making sure we get the right growth in the right places. This will both protect our landscapes and allow our communities to flourish, providing better places to live and work for the 112,000 people who call the South Downs National Park home.”
In developing the plan we have also set out the high standards that all proposed development must meet to protect and value nature – both for its own sake and also for the vital ‘eco-system’ services it gives us such as clean water, food, wood and space to breathe.
During the past seven years our planners – both within the National Park Authority and working under delegated authority in other local authorities – have been using more than a thousand policies from the 12 local planning authorities responsible for managing development before 2011. The draft Local Plan will replace these with just 96 policies, consistent across the whole National Park from the edge of Eastbourne to Winchester.
We’ve now received confirmation that an Inspector has been appointed. He’ll set questions to be answered by the Authority and other interested parties on the plan. All outstanding queries will be dealt with at public hearings, expected to be held at the South Downs Centre in Midhurst. The date will be confirmed by the Inspector in due course.
As well as the Local Plan itself we’ve submitted all of the evidence used in its preparation and more than 2,500 comments received in the final pre-submission consultation held in autumn 2017.
This is available to view at www.southdowns.gov.uk/localplan
All updates on the Local Plan will be published on the examination website including times and dates for public hearings.