Chichester Local Plan Review update: 8 April 2022
There has been a lot of coverage in the local media about housing targets and how they are reached. We thought it might be worth reminding you of how our housing targets are set and the process we have to follow in order to identify if and how this housing target can be met.
Who sets the housing targets?
One of the main purposes of the Local Plan is to set out how and where local housing need can be met. The local housing need figure is reached using a standard method set by the Government.
This method calculates how many houses are needed but does not take account of any local issues that may exist, such as the A27.
Affordability is considered an important factor. Average pay and average house prices are compared, and each area is then given a ratio. Our area has one of the highest ratios outside of London, which in part explains why the housing allocation seems high.
The Local Plan Review must explore how to meet this housing need. However, if there is compelling evidence to show the need cannot be met, the Planning Inspector will consider this when examining our Local Plan. This may result in a lower Local Plan housing target being agreed.
What does this involve?
We are currently carrying out a huge amount of work to develop our Local Plan Review, looking at where housing could possibly go and what new roads or improvements would be needed. The plan will also set out the types of new housing needed, including the proportion which should be affordable.
The council is in the process of working with its partners to see how many homes it can currently accommodate, considering the existing challenges. Based on the Government's method, our housing need is 638 homes each year from 2021 to 2039. However, we have already publicly said that we do not believe that this target is achievable as things stand. As we have previously mentioned, we have challenged the Government about this and you can read about it here: Chichester Local Plan Review update: 22 June 2021.
We are currently gathering evidence to demonstrate the impact of 638 homes and to show what may be alternatively achievable. This will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for independent examination in due course.
It's important to note that before any council submits their Local Plan to the Planning Inspector, they have to show that they have tried and tested every possible way to reach the housing numbers set by Government. No stone can be left unturned. This means that all of the work that we have carried out to date has been absolutely vital in demonstrating the complex situation we are in. You can read more about this in our initiatives winter 2021 magazine: Initiatives magazine on pages 8 and 9.
What work do you need to carry out to demonstrate this?
We've spoken to a Planning Inspector who has said that before concluding that our housing needs cannot be met, we need to determine what level of housing could be achieved based on deliverable improvements to the A27; consider whether our full housing needs could be met another way, which would look back at other parts of the local plan area; and investigate if neighbouring authorities can help meet our housing needs. While the inspector did not rule out us proceeding with a lower level of development in the emerging local plan, he did emphasise there is a 'high bar' to justify such an approach.
Where are you up to with this work?
- We've consulted with our local infrastructure providers to gather evidence on what will be required moving forward and we are chasing those who have not responded.
- Our transport studies are progressing well and we hope to meet with Highways England and West Sussex County Council in April about the results of these.
- If the highway authorities are happy, we will then meet with the Planning Inspectorate again to review where we are up to and to see if they are happy for us to move to the next stage.
- If they are happy with our progress, we will then complete the plan and consult with you on it.
- The feedback you provide us will then be packaged alongside the plan and submitted to the Inspector.
- The Planning Inspector will then review the plan as part of the Examination process. This assesses whether the plan has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements and if it is 'sound.'
Frequently asked questions
We've pulled together lots of frequently asked questions, which you may find useful. You can find these here: Chichester Local Plan Review update: 22 June 2021.
Find out more about the Local Plan Review
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