The Chichester Local Plan is one of the most important documents for our District as it describes how our communities outside the National Park will develop over the next 15 years. Our parishes within the South Downs National Park will have their own Local Plan.

The Government requires us to write a Local Plan, taking into account the official expected increase in the number of people living in the area. After a very long and detailed process the Plan was finally adopted at the Council meeting on 14 July, having been found to be sound by the Government Inspector.

The work of councillors and officers has turned a Government requirement into an opportunity. Many people see it just as a planning document that determines where houses will be built, but in reality it is much more than that. Our Plan establishes a framework that will help to create jobs, homes, services and facilities of the right type, in the right place and at the right time, to benefit both present and future generations.

We are all aware of the shortage of homes, both national and local, both to buy and to rent. Locally, this means high house prices and high rents, which results in many of our young people moving elsewhere when they come to set up their own homes.

The Local Plan offers us the opportunity to try and address these issues. In particular we are able to ensure that developments provide a minimum contribution of 30% affordable homes. In addition, all developments will be required to meet our needs for infrastructure. Developers have to contribute to the additional facilities required by their own developments, including schools, GP surgeries, roads, play facilities and open space.

The Local Plan is our chance to work together to make sure that our District has a bright future, with a strong economy, and a thriving working age population. This Plan shows that we will accept change, but more importantly, that we are in control of this change. Without this Plan the District would have been at risk of unwanted, unplanned development being permitted by a Government inspector.

On behalf of the Cabinet I want to thank everyone for their support and input into this long and detailed process. Much of the credit goes to our former Leader, Heather Caird, who led the task of securing approval of a sound Plan; credit also goes to the councillors who gave their support, and above all to the Council's officers who did all the hard work. It is a huge achievement and it will help to shape the District for years to come.

Find out more detail about the Local Plan.

Cllr Tony Dignum

Leader, Chichester District Council

July 2015