Planning Minister visits South Downs National Park

The importance of high-quality design and working with local communities were under discussion when Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP, visited the King Edward VII development in the South Downs National Park on 6 August 2015.

112,000 people live in the South Downs, many work there and millions visit every year. Mr Lewis was given a tour of the award-winning development on the site of a former hospital to demonstrate how properly managed development can help to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage for which the National Park was designated.

Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, said:

“It’s great to be here in the South Downs National Park to see how these historic buildings have been transformed into high quality homes. This is a fantastic example of how developers can used previously developed sites to provide properties while also protecting the green spaces that we all enjoy.

“We are determined to build the homes that hard-working people deserve. Our affordable homes programme has already exceeded our ambitions and will deliver an additional 275,000 homes in the next five years.”

Margaret Paren, Chair of the South Downs National Park Authority, said:

“The King Edward VII hospital site was one of the first major planning decisions for us. An innovative approach to phasing the restoration and construction of work, as well as making sure that the developers and the local community are talking to each other have helped to save these important buildings.

Affordable housing and Right to Buy were also on the agenda.

Margaret Paren continued:

“The need for affordable housing is a key issue for all National Parks across the country and particularly here in the south east of the country. The visit was a great opportunity to show the Minister both the added value that good planning can bring to the National Park.”

The visit comes just a month before the SDNPA begins consultation on the preferred options for first ever Local Plan for the National Park. This will help shape the future of the South Downs by:

  • putting landscapes first while still serving the needs of our communities and local economy;
  • protecting the special qualities of the South Downs;
  • valuing nature both for its own sake and for the things it gives us – like clean water, food and space to breathe; and
  • applying a single set of planning policies across the National Park to ensure all planning decisions reflect its special qualities.