fbpx Skip to main content

Evidence and Supporting Documents

Evidence and Supporting Documents

We have gathered information and evidence which form the basis of the planning policies within the South Downs Local Plan. The studies are sorted by theme and relate directly to the chapters in the Local Plan.

Background Papers

There is a great deal of technical evidence that sits behind the Local Plan. Background papers are published to explain how this evidence has informed the Local Plan policies. There is a background paper for each topic where this additional ‘link’ between the evidence and the Local Plan is needed. These are listed below, in order of the policies in the Local Plan to which they relate.

As the background papers are only a summary of the evidence, reference should still be made to the full evidence base which is listed below. Background papers may be updated ahead of submission of the Local Plan in March 2018.

Core Policies

Major Development

National policy states that planning permission should be refused for major developments in national parks except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest. The National Park Authority has sought legal advice on this matter on a number of occasions. These legal opinions are set out below:

Ecosystems Services

A GIS based tool (EcoServ GIS) has been developed to provide supporting evidence for the Local Plan. The GIS tool enables us to map and understand the delivery of Ecosystem Services with the National Park. A large number of maps have been produced and are included within this report:

A Thriving Living Landscape


The South Downs Integrated Landscape Character Assessment identifies and defines 18 general landscape types within the National Park as well as 49 more place-specific ‘character areas’. This work help us to understand the landscape character of the National Park. In addition the National Park has completed a piece of work called the Viewshed Analysis which takes 120 of the most widely known views and using computer modelling enables the impact of development to be considered.

Cultural Heritage


The 2015 Water Cycle Study and Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Level 1 report provides an overview of flood risk across the National Park and a screening assessment for flood risk for sites being considered for allocation. The 2017 combined Level 1 Update and Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment provides an update to the screening assessment of the previous study to assist with the application of the Sequential Test and a more detailed Level 2 assessment of site allocations in both the South Downs Local Plan and the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan that are at risk of flooding. This document includes site specific recommendations for the future management of flood risk at these sites as well as guidance on the provision of SuDS.

People Connected to Places

Sustainable Transport

The Transport Study Phase 1 provides a comprehensive inventory of existing available data in relation to transport issues and an overview of the issues affecting the SDNP. The Local Plan Transport Assessment looks at the impact of the Local Plan’s proposed development in Petersfield, Liss, Midhurst and Petworth, and at the former Syngenta site, on traffic flows through key junctions in the National Park. The Roads in the South Downs provides a resource and reference point for emerging best practice in rural and urban highway design, drawing on experience gained in other UK National Parks. Finally, the Lewes Town Transport Study looks at the impacts arising from development in Lewes. This was prepared as part of the evidence base of the Lewes Joint Core Strategy.

Understanding and Enjoyment of the National Park

The Visitor Accommodation Review provides an assessment of the opportunities and requirements of the visitor accommodation sector across the South Downs National Park. The Sustainable Tourism Strategy uses this and other information to produce a strategy for the National Park.

Towards a Sustainable Future

Development Strategy

The purpose of the Settlement Facilities Assessment is to assist in identifying the role and function of settlements within the National Park based on the number and type of facilities and services they provide.

Settlement Boundary Review 2015: Settlement boundaries are a planning tool used to direct development to the most sustainable locations whilst protecting the character of the countryside, villages and towns. The Settlement Boundary Review sets out the methodology used to undertake this review and the proposed changes to the boundaries of various communities across the National Park.


This section contains a number of important studies relating to the need for and delivery of homes and employment land in the National Park. They range from one of the earliest studies completed in 2011 looking at the issues surrounding housing provision to the most recent assessment of need (the HEDNA) and the sites assessed in order to identify the best locations on which to build new homes (the SHLAA).

Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessments (GTAA): Sudies have been undertaken across the National Park in order to assess the need for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople sites:

Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Sites Studies: Studies of potential sites available for Gypsy and Traveller use have been undertaken in a number of parts of the National Park.

South Downs Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Background Paper: This paper looks at the level of need for Gypsy and Traveller sites in the National Park, how sites have been identified and how they been assessed.


The Employment Land Review considers the commercial property market, the need for employment land and floorspace, existing sites and future employment land allocations. The Retail studies look at the current levels of retail floorspace in the key town centres and future trends and requirements.


The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) lists all infrastructure needed to support development in the National Park.

Green Infrastructure

The following studies focus on accessible natural provision and Local Green Space allocations.

Climate Change

The low carbon and renewable energy study contains information on how much energy is used throughout the National Park and what quantity of carbon dioxide is emitted in the process; how energy performance of existing houses and other buildings can be improved; what renewable and low carbon technologies are feasible and what criteria can be used to decide where renewable / low carbon generation may be appropriate.

Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Study

Site Allocations

The Site Allocations Highway Assessment seeks to identify viable highway accesses to potential housing and Gypsy sites within the emerging South Downs Local Plan.

The Lewes Town Transport Study looks at the implications in Lewes.

Implementation and Monitoring

The Authority Monitoring Report 2017 details the performance of existing and emerging policies across the National Park, and trends against various indicators.

Other Local Plan preparation related documents

A series of further documents which support the preparation of the Local Plan are listed below. Previous versions of the Local Plan are also available.

The Duty to Cooperate Statement sets out the work done to date on working with relevant local planning authorities on providing a strategic tier of planning for the area.

The Local Development Scheme August 2017 (LDS) identified the types of documents which will be produced and the dates each is expected to be adopted.

The Statement of Community Involvement sets out how the SDNPA will involve interested parties in planning decisions and the preparation of planning policies.

The Partnership Management Plan: Shaping the future of your South Downs National Park has been a joint venture with many individuals, organisations and networks in, and, around the National Park. It provides the starting point for the development of the policies in the Local Plan.

This State of the South Downs National Park report sets out a picture of the National Park as it is today, providing a baseline against which future changes can be measured.

The Whole Plan Viability Study aims to assess the viability of certain development types and sites identified in the emerging Local Plan.

Local Plan EQIA


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