The Local Plan is an incredibly important - but complex - document, and so we have created some questions and answers that aim to cover some of the main points. We hope you find them useful.

What is a Local Plan and why is it needed?

The Government requires every council responsible for planning to have a Local Plan in place.

The plan sets out the opportunities for development in the area. It also makes clear what types of development will be permitted and what won't.

This is really important, because without it, we are unable to control where development goes. The plan also looks at housing, employment space and places where retail and leisure facilities should be provided.

The Local Plan is also expected to identify areas that need to be protected, such as valued countryside, employment land and open spaces. Some of these community assets may also be improved through new development.

Every time we receive a planning application we look at the Local Plan to assess whether planning permission should be granted.

At the moment there is a shortage of suitable homes; jobs that provide high enough wages to buy a home; and important facilities and services. Many people cannot afford to live in this area where they work, and many young 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 by:

  • protecting the character and beauty of the area and promoting this to help boost the local economy;
  • providing jobs and housing opportunities for people so that our children can continue to live and work locally;
  • supporting our local businesses and assist them to grow;
  • providing adequate services, travel options and community facilities; and
  • describing where houses, roads, services and facilities will be best located.

We also need more affordable housing. There is limited Government funding available for this. The only way we can influence this is by requiring developers to deliver a proportion of affordable homes within our plan. If we are to encourage our young people to stay in the district, we need to make sure that more houses of this type are available.

Why are you reviewing the Local Plan?

Our Local Plan was approved by a planning inspector in July 2015 on the basis that we agreed to review it again within five years. This was because the inspector felt that we would need to accommodate more housing in the long term.

Since then, the Government has changed the way it calculates future housing needs and we are now expected to take more housing within our area.

What will happen if we don't have/review a Local Plan?

If we don't review our Local Plan will not be able to access vital funds to support our communities. We won't have anything to measure the suitability of planning applications against and if we reject development without good reason, most developers will successfully appeal against the decision.

We would still have to accommodate this development, even though this may be in an unsuitable location. Also, without a plan, developers will not have any obligation to pay towards the delivery of existing and much needed new local facilities.

Does the Local Plan Review include the National Park area?

No. Following the creation of the South Downs National Park Authority, our Local Plan no longer covers the entire district. Instead, it covers the south of the district:

  • Chichester
  • Tangmere
  • Southbourne
  • Selsey
  • East Wittering and Bracklesham

and part of the north-east including:

  • the villages of Camelsdale and Hammer
  • Kirdford
  • Loxwood
  • Plaistow and Ifold and,
  • Wisborough Green.

The South Downs National Park creates its own plan for the towns and villages located within its boundaries. We will work with them to make sure that plans for both areas complement one another.

Why do we need more housing?

We have a growing population. Chichester District is a beautiful place to live and work and so people are keen to live here, plus people are living longer. 

Most importantly, our young people are finding it very difficult to get on the property ladder as first time buyers or renters. Nationally, there's been an increase in the number of 20-34 year olds still living with their parents.

We want those who grow up here to have the option to stay here - and so we need to make sure that there are homes of the right price and type, that will enable them to do this. 

Unfortunately, there is limited Government funding available for affordable housing. This is why the Local Plan is so important, because it requires developers to deliver a proportion of affordable homes that are suitable for local families and young people.

We also have an ageing population and the plan will help provide a range of suitable housing to meet people's needs.

 

What about protecting our area?

The Local Plan isn't just about building new homes and creating new employment opportunities, it has an important role in creating a district that we can all be proud of and that meets local needs.

  • Protecting the historic environment

We will include policies to protect the individual buildings and historic areas that are so important to our district and its heritage.

  • Protecting the natural environment

We will include policies that will ensure that protected habitats and species will not be harmed as a result of new development and that environmental enhancement can take place wherever possible.

  • Protecting open spaces

The draft Local Plan will also protect existing open spaces. It will state that where significant development does happen, new open spaces should be created or improvements should be made to existing open spaces.

  • Creating more leisure facilities

We will expect developers to provide suitable recreational space alongside their housing proposals. This adds value to new developments and enriches communities.

  • Re-energising the day and night time economy

The plan will work alongside the Chichester Vision to help support the day and night time economy.

  • Allocating land for employment

This will identify key sites that can be used for industrial, office and warehousing uses in order to create more jobs in the area and support the local economy.

How do you develop a Local Plan?

There are five stages in total. At the moment, we've completed stage one and we are busy finalising preparation for stage two. The different stages are outlined in our timeline.

What other benefits will the Local Plan Review bring to the area?

For each new home built, the Government will also give the district a financial bonus. Some of this money will be protected for those communities that provide new homes. It will be used to improve their local facilities, for example of the creation of a village hall or play area. In addition to this, the Local Plan will require developers to pay an additional amount for every property they build. This will also be invested directly into the community.

 

Do you decide how many houses are built?

The Government tells us how to calculate future housing needs, based on population projections and an uplift which seeks to address the affordability of housing in the area.  This method gives us a target of 650 homes a year, although this may change as new projections are released. This compares to a target of 435 in the adopted Local Plan which was only approved on the condition we review the plan within 5 years.

What are you doing to help local businesses grow?

We have updated our Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment in order to identify the amount of new land that will be needed to encourage new businesses to locate here. Other elements of our plan, such as improved infrastructure, especially improvements to the A27 and more affordable housing, is also going to have a positive impact on our local businesses.

Employment opportunities

  • Around 146,000 sqm (net) of employment floor space would be provided for the period up to 2035 to support business growth. A higher figure is allocated to allow for the losses to be replaced.  
  • This will include providing around 2.4 hectares of employment land at Chichester Business Park, Tangmere and 33 hectares of employment land south-west of Chichester.
  • It is hoped that a range of employment opportunities, combined with affordable housing, will retain young people and families in the area to balance the ageing population.
How did you choose the preferred locations for development?

The preferred locations for development are influenced by environmental constraints, identified development capacity and much needed infrastructure requirements.

Much of the plan area is designated for environmental protection (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Special Protection Areas, Ramsar and Conservation Areas). Within these areas and to some extent the areas around them, the scope for development is very restricted.

In addition, large parts of the plan area are acknowledged to be visually sensitive open countryside and coastal zones. A further environmental constraint is the need to avoid areas that are identified as being highly susceptible to flooding.

Which strategic sites are you suggesting?

The draft plan aims to steer major development away from the most environmentally sensitive areas and towards sustainable locations that have the best access to employment opportunities and community facilities, or where development can contribute to addressing a present lack of such facilities. Limited development is proposed elsewhere to help address local housing needs in and around villages that have a reasonable level of services.

The capacity for new housing development around the city, the settlement hubs and the parish level has been carefully assessed. The assessment takes into account, among other things, the landscape and settlement character and the availability of existing or planned wastewater capacity.

The draft plan sets out provision for a minimum of 650 homes per year over the plan period. The key sites have been identified as follows:

  • East of Chichester: minimum 600 dwellings.
  • Southern Gateway: minimum 350 dwellings.
  • Land south west of Chichester: minimum of 100 dwellings and employment development.
  • Land at Highgrove Farm, Bosham: minimum of 250 dwellings.
  • Land at North Park Farm, Selsey: minimum of 250 dwellings.
  • Land west of Tangmere: minimum of 1,300 dwellings (an additional 300 dwellings above the allocation in the adopted local plan).

A minimum of 2,500 homes would be provided on strategic sites through Neighbourhood Plans:

  • Chidham and Hambrook parish: minimum of 500 dwellings.
  • East Wittering Parish: minimum of 350 dwellings.
  • Fishbourne Parish: minimum of 250 dwellings.
  • Hunston Parish: minimum of 200 dwellings.
  • Southbourne Parish: minimum of 1,250 dwellings.
What improvements will be made to local infrastructure?

Changes to the planning regime introduced in recent years are designed to address the criticism that infrastructure always lags behind development. 

The Community Infrastructure Levy enables us to charge developers for new development. This money means that resources will be available to deal with issues that communities raise.  Some of this will be paid directly to the communities affected to provide new facilities. 

Infrastructure Delivery Plan

More homes will add to the pressure on existing infrastructure. New and improved infrastructure requirements are set out in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan published alongside the Local Plan Review. It provides an assessment of the most important infrastructure required to support the amount of housing proposed together with information where possible on costs and funding.

Roads

We need to ensure that the A27 trunk road, and local roads can cope with additional traffic created by new homes and jobs. Improvements will need to be made to key junctions at:

  • A27 Chichester Bypass
  • Manhood Peninsula (B2145/B2166 & B2145/B2201)
  • Chichester City Centre

Other transport

Providing alternatives to the private car by improving bus services, and walking and cycling for new homes remains a priority for the plan.

Green Infrastructure

Space for nature, and opportunities for us to experience nature are essential to a high quality of life and sustainable development. The Local Plan Review seeks to create links between the Chichester Harbour AONB and the South Downs National Park, and create new country parks at the Strategic site allocations West of Chichester and Land South-West of Chichester.

Schools

New primary schools are planned at:

  • West of Chichester Strategic Site Allocation
  • Tangmere Strategic Site Allocation
  • Highgrove Farm, Bosham Strategic Site Allocation
  • Southbourne Strategic Site Allocation
  • Land East of Chichester
How does growth contribute to infrastructure?

New development contributes to infrastructure through:

  • Community Infrastructure Levy payments to the Council
  • Section 106 planning obligations agreed between developers and the Council
  • New facilities provided on site as part of new development

Other partners

The Local Plan Review can help secure some types of infrastructure such as schools, open space or transport improvements. Many others are provided in different ways. For example, Highways England is responsible for the A27.Basic utilities such as water, sewage, gas and electricity are planned and provided by the relevant statutory bodies.