Local Plan – What’s been happening?
The Examination in Public (EIP) of Chichester District Council’s Local Plan took a break during the latter half of November while the District Council, on the recommendation of the Planning Inspector, reviewed its original housing target figure of 6,973 new homes to be built during the plan period (to 2029).
When the EIP resumed on 2 December, the Council outlined how it had reviewed its figures and proposed new, increased figures. The total number of new homes proposed would rise to 7,388 homes during the plan period, an increase from 410 per annum to 435. Of this increased number the overwhelming proportion, 250 homes were to be located at the West of Chichester Strategic Development Location, viz., Whitehouse Farm.
Notwithstanding the ‘encouragement’ from the Planning Inspector to review their methodology and maximise the number of homes to meet the objectively assessed need (OAN) for housing, there remains considerable doubt that the Council has come up with a satisfactory figure – anyway certainly not in the eyes of the developers.
The EIP sat for two days at the beginning of December before taking another break.
During the break the Council compiled its Draft Modifications to the Local Plan, which had arisen during and as a result of the Examination In Public. These modifications were approved by the District Council on 22 December.
On 8 January 2015 the modifications were put out for public consultation for a six week period ending on 19 February.
It is anticipated, though not certain, that the following will happen over the next weeks and months. First the Planning Inspector will consider the responses to the consultation on the modifications. A reconvening of the EIP may happen in late March. Sometime later the Inspector’s report will appear. The report may or may not approve the Local Plan.
Meanwhile there is the little matter of District Council elections, not to mention a General Election. The District Council will go into ‘purdah’ in April.
So one thing is for certain, it will be a different District Council, indeed a different Government that will be picking up the loose ends from the long-running saga of the Chichester Local Plan.