The first stage of a consultation process will begin on 22 June for six weeks and will ask everyone how they would like the district to look up to 2034.

The local plan was adopted in July 2015 after the Government approved it. The Government requires the council to prepare a local plan based upon an increase in the number of people expected to live, work and visit the area. At the time, the council was advised that it would need to review the plan within five years in order to make sure that sufficient housing was planned to meet the needs of the area.

"This is the first stage of an extensive consultation programme," says Cllr Susan Taylor, Cabinet Member for Planning at Chichester District Council.

"This initial stage will give people the opportunity to say how they would like to see the area develop. All the comments we receive will be carefully considered before we undertake further consultation about more specific details such as housing numbers and locations next year.

"The Local Plan is vital because it provides the policies against which planning applications are assessed and it sets the direction of future development in the district (excluding those areas in the South Downs National Park.)

"The plan also provides the basis for parish councils to prepare neighbourhood plans and allows us and other agencies to plan ahead to ensure that infrastructure is provided to support development.

"Many people cannot afford to live in this area, where they work, and many younger people don't look for jobs here because they cannot afford the housing costs. The local plan offers us the opportunity to try and address these issues.

"The plan shows that we will accept change, but more importantly that we are in control of this change and are able to balance growth with other important local interests. It's crucial that we shape the future of our district and protect our beautiful environment, as well as strengthen our ability to resist harmful speculative development. This is very important to our local communities and we would encourage everyone to take part in this consultation process."

Those who want to take part in this consultation can complete the survey here 

If people do not have access to a computer they can call 01243 785166 and ask to be transferred to the planning policy team to request a paper copy. All responses must be received by 3 August.

Date of release: 21 June 2017

Reference: 3724