Chichester Local Plan - consultation launched
The next round of public consultation on Chichester's Local Plan will begin shortly, after councillors gave it the green light.
All councillors met to discuss the draft Local Plan on Tuesday 24 January 2023 and agreed that it was now ready for residents and businesses to have their say, before submitting the plan to the Planning Inspectorate.
This consultation is a very specific one, which invites people to comment on three specific questions or tests.
Respondents will be asked if the plan has met the legal requirements; if it has been positively prepared and is justified, effective and consistent with national policy; and if the council has engaged and worked effectively with neighbouring authorities and statutory bodies.
The council is running the consultation for six weeks, between 3 February and 17 March 2023. Once completed, all comments will be packaged alongside the plan for the Planning Inspector to consider as part of the independent examination on behalf of the Government.
The Local Plan identifies development areas for economic growth and locations for new homes in the Chichester plan area over the next 15 years. There is a separate plan for those areas located in the National Park and this is produced by the South Downs National Park Authority.
The current Local Plan was adopted in 2015, but the Government Inspector said that it needed to be reviewed again to make sure that sufficient housing was planned to meet the needs of the area. Since then, a great deal has happened. The number of houses the Government requires the council to build has changed numerous times and due to the issues faced, including roads, wastewater and water neutrality, extensive work and research has been required to test various options. This has involved significant background evidence, as well as consulting with partners and residents.
Cllr Susan Taylor, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning at Chichester District Council, says: "Any council that submits their Local Plan to the Planning Inspector is required 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 the work that we have carried out to date has been vital in demonstrating the complex situation we are in.
"We have been very clear that we believe this work shows that the Local Plan is unlikely to be able to meet the full housing targets set by Government due to a lack of external funding for essential infrastructure improvements. Due to this, we've revised our housing numbers to what we believe is achievable, based on the evidence we have gathered. We've also considered all of the feedback we have received from previous consultations as part of this process.
"We've always said that the roads, wastewater and water neutrality are the biggest challenges facing the plan. The Local Plan has to demonstrate that we have investigated all options and solutions before the Government will consider a lower housing target and we believe that we have reached this point.
"We also welcome the Government's recent announcement to hand greater control back to councils and local communities over the number of houses built. We are a thriving and successful district and need new homes for social and economic reasons. However, we support the Government's view that the decision on how many houses we take should be based on local needs, the environment and local involvement. We're pleased to see that they are adjusting the emphasis from housing need being a mandatory target, to an advisory starting point, and that more allowances will be given for genuine constraints.
"We do not believe it would be of any benefit to our area to delay the Local Plan process any further. If we do, it will put us at risk of further speculative development, which is something that none of us want. By progressing with the plan, we will have far greater ability to defend ourselves from unplanned development.
"The Government has indicated that where a plan is at an advanced stage of preparation it can benefit from a number of changes proposed. These include allowing planning authorities two years to review and revise their plan against the Government's proposed changes if they wish to do so. In addition, to reduce the risk of speculative development they only need to demonstrate a four-year rolling housing land supply, rather than the current five years. The Government has indicated that those considered to be at 'an advanced stage of preparation' will be afforded much greater protection.
"We have been lobbying the Government for years now regarding the challenges that our area faces and so it is really positive that they have listened. We recognise that until these changes are implemented, we must continue to work with the current National Planning Policy Framework. We will respond to the detail of the consultation and look forward to seeing the final changes to the framework as soon as possible.
"The council agrees that it's important we move ahead with the Local Plan, especially as it is likely that we will have the option to review it under the new proposals if this would be of benefit. Residents, businesses and community groups will be able to participate in the next stage of consultation on the Local Plan, which will run from 3 February until 17 March on our Local Plan consultation page.
People will also be able to read an overview document, which summarises the key areas of the plan and the work that has been carried out since the last consultation. These have been personalised for the different parts of the plan area - and these documents will be available from 3 February on .
To find out more about the Local Plan and what it does, and to access frequently asked questions, please visit .
Date of release: 25 January 2023