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The Local Plan explained

Chichester Local Plan branding

The information provided below was published in Spring 2023 to support the Regulation 19 consultation.


What is a Local Plan and why is it needed?

Every council that is responsible for planning decisions is expected to have a Local Plan. The plan sets out the opportunities for development and investment in the area. It also makes clear what types of development will be permitted and what won't. The plan also looks at housing, employment space, required infrastructure, 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.

Local councils have to produce a Local Plan by law and they have to last for a minimum of 15 years. Targets for development are set nationally by Government and the Local Plan aims to show how these targets can be met, taking into consideration the needs of the local population and the priorities for the area.

Why are you reviewing the Local Plan?

The Local Plan was approved by a planning inspector in July 2015 on the basis that we would review it again in the short term. This was because the inspector felt that it 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.

Does your Local Plan cover the whole of the Chichester District?

No — our plan only covers those areas in the district that do not fall within the South Downs National Park (opens new window). There is a separate plan for the whole of the National Park and this is produced by the South Downs National Park Authority.

Key points relating to your area

We have created overview documents for the three key sections of the plan area to help provide a brief overview of the challenges facing the Local Plan, how we have addressed these, and the key points relating to each area. You can download these documents on our latest news page and find some of the key points here.

East-West Corridor

The emphasis of the Local Plan is on enhancing the role of Chichester city as the plan area's main centre, while also developing the role of key communities to its east and west. Chichester city is the focus for delivering housing and employment growth, as it is a key city and the main centre within the plan area. Due to this it is the most sustainable location, with a wide range of services and facilities. The main strategic sites are largely located in the East-West corridor.

Some strategic development sites in the East/West corridor are carried forward from the 2015 Local Plan, including Tangmere, Shopwhyke, Westhampnett/North East Chichester and West of Chichester. The new strategic housing sites in this area include Highgrove Farm, Bosham (245), East of Chichester (680), Maudlin Farm (265) and Southern Gateway (180).  

An area of development has been identified at Southbourne for 1,050 homes. The detailed location of the development site, or sites, is yet to be decided, but this will be set out in either the local neighbourhood plan or through a new site allocation plan.

Strategic housing numbers have also been determined for Chichester City (270) and Chidham and Hambrook (300), which will be be set out in either the local neighbourhood plans or through a new site allocation plan.

Small scale housing sites will be identified to help provide for the needs of local communities in Boxgrove (50), Fishbourne (30), Westbourne (30).

Meeting employment needs is important to support the economy of the plan area.  The Local Plan carries forward employment space from the current Local Plan at West of Chichester, Chichester Business Park, Tangmere and Shopwhyke. The Kingsham Road employment site in the Site Allocation Development Plan Document 2014 - 2029 is also retained.  In addition, a new employment site is proposed south of Bognor Road to provide 28,000 sqm of floorspace - while this is located within the Manhood area, it is close to Chichester. The land east of Rolls Royce is also safeguarded to allow future expansion of the existing site.  

Nitrate neutrality is required for any development involving an overnight stay - both within homes and holiday accommodation - that discharges water into Chichester and Langstone Harbours. We have also produced a policy to protect wildlife corridors, which is the first time this type of initiative has been introduced in this area. This provides connectivity and passageways for wildlife through the landscape, especially between the coast and the South Downs.

Manhood Peninsula

The Manhood Peninsula has a distinctive character and faces a specific set of planning challenges. These issues include significant areas at risk from coastal erosion and flooding; environmental designations; poor road accessibility; and traffic congestion.

The plan does not include any strategic housing allocations on the Manhood Peninsula. This is in recognition of recent speculative development and the ongoing constraints that the area faces. However, it does allow for 50 homes at North Mundham.

A new employment allocation on the land south of Bognor Road has also been included. While this is located within the Manhood Peninsula area, it is located close to Chichester.

The plan continues the designation of four Horticultural Development Areas around Tangmere, Runcton, Sidlesham and Almodington to support the horticultural industry. The land within the Runcton Horticultural Development Area is almost at capacity, and so the plan has extended it by a further 30 hectares of land. 

The plan includes a suite of policies to ensure that coastal areas are protected from inappropriate development and that the unique environmental characteristics of the Manhood Peninsula coast are taken account of. 

We have also produced a policy to protect wildlife corridors, which is the first time this type of initiative has been introduced in this area. This will provide connectivity and passageways for wildlife through the landscape, especially between the coast and the South Downs.

North of the Plan Area

The north of the plan area covers those parts of Chichester District which lie north of the South Downs National Park boundary. This includes Loxwood Parish and most of the parishes of Kirdford, Plaistow and Ifold, and Wisborough Green. It also includes a small part of Lynchmere Parish, close to the Surrey border around the villages of Camelsdale and Hammer.

As part of the plan making process, we have to consider how many homes each area can accommodate. Higher housing numbers were considered at Loxwood, Kirdford, Wisborough Green and Plaistow and Ifold. However, this was ruled out due to the need to conserve the rural character of the area; its high-quality landscape; and, to minimise the impact on the historic environment.

Instead, the plan is suggesting that the following locations are able to accommodate a small number of homes through the neighbourhood planning process:

  • Kirdford - 50 homes
  • Wisborough Green - 75 homes
  • Plaistow and Ifold - 25 homes

Loxwood is the least constrained village in the north of the plan area, and benefits from the most services and facilities, including healthcare. Due to this, it is proposed that 220 homes are delivered in Loxwood through the neighbourhood planning process.

Homes within the north of the plan area will need to demonstrate water neutrality through a mixture of water efficiency and offsetting. This is to limit the impact on the internationally designated Arun Valley sites, which are protected for their rare and protected habitats.

Is the Local Plan just about housing?

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.


A key role of the plan is to look at employment space and places where retail should be provided. This is important because it helps to support the local economy. As jobs are created, earnings are increased, productivity is raised, living standards are improved, aspiration and skills are increased, and better quality of services and facilities for those living in and visiting our area are provided. We are proposing that the employment land identified in the 2015 Plan; retained employment land from the Site Allocation Development Plan Document; and a new employment site to the south of Bognor Road, will meet the employment needs in our plan area. The plan will also work alongside the Chichester Vision to help support the day and night-time economy, as well as continuing support for the horticultural industry. This will be achieved through retention of the Horticultural Development Areas, which will be expanded at Runcton. 

Climate change and natural environment

We are incredibly lucky to live and work in such a beautiful and biodiverse area, and we want to keep it that way. The Local Plan looks to identify areas that need to be protected, such as valued countryside and open spaces. We have also produced a policy to protect wildlife corridors, which is the first time this type of initiative has been introduced in this area. The plan will require a 10% 'biodiversity net gain' which aims to improve the natural environment. The plan also accounts for the impacts of climate change by locating development in the right place and addressing the need to mitigate any flood risk associated with new development. The National Planning Policy Framework places a requirement on developers to consider the impacts of existing and future flood risk for the lifetime of a development. The Local Plan is based on a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and sets out a strategy for appropriately mitigating flood risk within the plan area.

Getting around

This looks at how we move in and around the plan area. This includes making sure that the right roads and transport networks are in place. This is not a simple exercise because it requires us to carry out detailed assessments, accounting for all sorts of things - from the environmental impact to local economic needs. It's also important to point out that although this is included in the Local Plan, we are not the agency responsible for roads and transport.

The local plan also supports sustainable transport and ensures that development proposals prioritise walking and cycling as forms of active travel.  New development will support local authority planned walking and cycling improvements by contributing towards identified schemes, while ensuring it is well connected to key facilities and locations. 

Place-making, health and wellbeing

One of the key aims of the Local Plan is to create safe and beautiful places by requiring high standards of design that respect local character and distinctiveness and make good use of land. The plan requires new development to be well designed, so it can be easily navigated, with high quality open spaces and landscaping. It is also expected to address issues such as noise pollution. 

Our area also offers a wealth of heritage, and the Local Plan plays a vital role in protecting historic buildings and features. Where development is proposed that could affect a particular heritage asset, Local Plan policies can normally protect it as part of the overall development.

The Local Plan also has an important role to play in helping to support the health and wellbeing of our residents. We work closely with health care providers to identify what additional health facilities may be needed in areas where additional housing is being considered. If needed, financial contributions from developers, or land provided by the developer on a new site, can be used to ensure everyone has access to healthcare. The Local Plan also considers how developments should be designed to support a healthy lifestyle, with safe places to walk and cycle, and offering access to green spaces and sport and leisure facilities, all of which can help physical and mental wellbeing.

Local community

For each new home built, the Government gives the council a financial payment. Some of this money is ring fenced for those communities that deliver new homes. This is then used to improve their local facilities, for example the creation of a village hall or play area.

In addition to this, the Local Plan policies and community infrastructure levy means that developers have to pay a financial contribution, or provide infrastructure, for every property they build. This money is already being invested in villages and towns that are taking new developments, with new community facilities.

Education and learning

The Local Plan area has a good supply of pre-school, primary school and secondary school facilities. It is important to make sure that there is capacity within these schools to accommodate pupils from new development provided through the Local Plan.

We work closely with West Sussex County Council, which is the local Education Authority, to determine whether further capacity would be required and if it is, whether this can be delivered through the expansion of existing facilities or whether new schools are needed as part of a new development. New provision will usually be secured through developer contributions. In addition, Chichester College and the University of Chichester are both within the Local Plan area. These provide further and higher education facilities that offer opportunities for people to develop their skills and progress their learning. This can have an important and positive impact on the local economy by generating a more skilled and varied workforce and providing a range of jobs in each of the facilities.

Facilities and services

In order to deliver the Local Plan, the right services and facilities need to be in place. One of the biggest issues facing the plan is the need for more wastewater capacity. Wastewater has long been a problem in the South of the district and we have been lobbying Southern Water to explain what improvements are required for some time. We have been holding constructive meetings with Southern Water and the Environment Agency. Southern Water has agreed to work with us jointly on identifying improvements that need to be made.