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About – Planning

About – Planning

Our role as the planning authority is to control and influence the development of land and buildings within the National Park’s boundaries.

The South Downs is a living landscape with vibrant communities and businesses. Without more affordable houses and work spaces these won’t survive.

What we need is properly managed development that contributes to both peoples’ lives and our landscapes.

With good planning we can safeguard views and dark night skies; support the local economy; promote recreation; enable affordable local housing; and make sure that our green spaces are properly valued and cared for.

To do this effectively we have to balance the statutory duties and purposes of the National Park, safeguarding the natural environment and existing built heritage, with the needs of individuals, the local population supporting rural communities and local businesses.

Partnerships with Local Authorities

We are responsible for planning across the entire National Park and have agreed unique partnerships with the local authorities operating within the National Park boundaries.

For eight of these we deal directly with all planning questions, advice and applications. The other five authorities deal with these on our behalf.

Planning Policy

Planning policy plays a key role in shaping the future of development within the National Park.

Good planning can protect landscapes, views and night skies; support the local economy, promote recreation and create affordable housing; and make sure that our green spaces are properly valued and cared for.

We have had statutory responsibility for planning policy in the National Park since 1of April 2011.

Planning policy can affect development in many different ways so our approach to it has to reflect the needs of people who live in South Downs National Park, those who work here and those who visit.

Our planning policies will be set out in the National Park Local Plan and must shape development in a way that conserves and enhances the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of this protected landscape.

Finding Out About Planning Applications

The fastest way to find out about planning applications is to use our online search function.

In some cases, for example with listed buildings, we are legally obliged to publicise applications in the press and you will find these advertised in the most relevant local newspaper.

In addition a weekly list of applications is sent out to all parish councils and Local Authorities across the National Park.

In some cases local newspapers also choose to publish full lists of the relevant planning applications for their area.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."