South Downs Local Plan progresses to final stages

A landscape-led strategy that will shape all planning decisions in the National Park is close to being adopted, writes Lucy Howard, Planning Policy Manager at the SDNPA.

The South Downs Local Plan is the first Local Plan to cover the entire South Downs National Park. It provides policies which put our nationally important landscapes at the heart of every planning decision we make. The Local Plan was submitted to the Government in April of last year, who appointed an independent planning inspector, Mr Brian Sims, to assess the ‘soundness’ of the Plan.

Following a series of public hearings in November and December last year, the Inspector asked us to publish a set of ‘main modifications’ to the Local Plan. This is excellent news for the National Park as the Inspector has agreed to making very limited changes to the policies. This means that ground-breaking policies on ecosystem services, tranquillity, dark night skies and affordable housing can now start to be applied in our day-to-day planning decisions.

The ‘main modifications’ have undergone public consultation, responses to which will inform the Inspector’s final views. The Inspector should publish his final report later in the Spring. If he confirms the ‘soundness’ of the Local Plan, the SDNPA will move to adopt the Plan as soon as it can.

For more updates visit the dedicated Local Plan pages: https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/planning/national-park-local-plan/