Chichester’s Local Plan Review approved for public consultation

Christopher Mead-Briggs explains the Local Plan has reached its final stage

Chichester Local Plan

There can be few jobs tougher than pulling together the changes needed to our out-of-date Local Plan so that it passes an Inspector’s Examination. It was in 2017 that we were first introduced to the ‘Preferred Approach’ document that began this process followed by a public consultation on ‘Issues and Options’ in the winter of 2018.
Since then, work has been on-going with specialist planners, transport experts and statisticians who have been meeting government agencies to review how the growth in our District area in terms of new housing and employment can be managed.  With all our geographical and physical constraints, an A27 which needs upgrading, a Harbour that’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a National  Park, can Chichester meet the housing targets set by Government?

New housing numbers down
The District Council agreed on 24 January to submit reduced housing numbers. The Government had required our District to build 638 dwellings per annum; the new figure is 575 a year for the length of the Plan period of 18 years from 2021 until 2039.

The biggest update in the revised plan is however more emphasis on climate change,
the natural environment, the importance of gaps between settlements, the establishment
of Strategic Wildlife Corridors, biodiversity and the need to protect our designated landscape areas.  In addition thought has been given to the possibility of a new settlement altogether where longer term housing growth might be accommodated elsewhere than Chichester.

The revised Plan has been out for public consultation between 3 February and 17 March this year and will be followed by an Examination led by an Inspector; only then can it be approved.  We’ve reached what’s called Regulation 19 stage in the process and this
means that the submitted Plan will now carry more weight in those planning appeals that
are outstanding.

Other policies
As part of the process, housing allocations have risen in Tangmere but reduced to nil in
the Manhood Peninsular with the exception of North Mundham. Additional employment land is allocated along the A27 at Bognor Road, and at Westhampnett to allow the expansion of the existing Rolls Royce factory. There are proposals to encourage the vitality of Chichester’s city centre reflecting the recent changes to planning regulations and also to
tourism generally.
Let’s hope the Local Plan Review succeeds.
Christopher Mead-Briggs is a member of the Society’s Executive Committee. 
From The Chichester Society’s Newsletter no 215 March 2023

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