Category Archives: Neighbourhood Plan

ChiSoc responds to UK Government Consultation on changes to the planning system

The Chichester Society has submitted a response to two Government documents relating to the planning system.

First the Government has published a consultation document on changes to the planning system a copy of which can be viewed here. The consultation ends at 11:45pm on 1 October 2020. Ways for members of the public to respond can be found here.

Second the Government has also issued a White PaperPlanning for the Future’ which can be found here.

The Chichester Society Executive Committee has submitted the following response:

To Civic Voice

The Chichester Society is making the representations set out below to Government on the two planning Consultations.

  • Changes to current Planning Systems, a consultation paper with proposals to improve the effectiveness of the current system. It will be found on this link:

Our comment:

Whereas under current policies the assessment of how many new dwellings are to be planned for in any given district is subject to a cap, which applies as a limit to the number, the new method will remove that cap. In addition, statistical sources for determining the starting number of new homes will now involve the use of the ‘higher of’ of various statistics. The Chichester District Local Plan 2015 which expired in July this year contained a requirement for 435 dwellings per annum. We understand that the number will increase to 995 dpa or thereabouts as a result of the changes now proposed which we consider excessive.

These changes pay no regard to local circumstance. They treat all parts of England in the same way.  We believe that the individual character of our District areas should be assessed rather than our being handed a formula of “one size fits all”.

Because of the amount of protected landscape (SDNP & AONB) within the Chichester District so little is left that is capable of development and almost all that there is comprises high grade agricultural land in farming production mainly within the southern coastal plain.  With the need to increase food production, this area has some of the most fertile land in England with long sunshine hours capable of high levels of agricultural output.  To destroy this natural resource and instead to build houses upon it makes no economic sense.

The housing numbers imposed on any Local Planning Authority area should not be determined by the actual size of the authority area but on the size of those parts which have no physical or environmental limits to development. Therefore, we consider that assessment of housing number in any District area should be reduced by the omission of  those parts:

  • within a National Park,
  • an AONB,
  • land liable to flood,
  • grade 1 & 2 agricultural land,
  • wildlife corridors
  • and greenfield land important to the setting of the any National Park, AONB or City.

In addition, in Chichester, so much of the demand for housing comes from completely outside the area by the insatiable demand from those elsewhere in England seeking to relocate, many for early retirement. Priority in the allocation of new housing should be given to local residents and young people


2          Planning for the Future (The White Paper) will be found on this link:

Our Comment

  • It is proposed to reduce the content of Local Plans. The changes envisage reducing the size of LPs by ‘at least 2/3rds’ by cutting out all lists of ‘policies’ and instead producing a ‘core set of standards and requirements for development’.

Comment: This is a huge task for Local Planning Authorities with limited staff and expertise to create what will need to be site specific sets of ‘standards and requirements for development’ on all areas where ‘growth’ or ‘renewal’ is to be zoned.

  • Encouraging greater public participation at the consultation stage of LPs so as to reduce consultation later on when development in ‘growth’ areas comes forward – in fact leading to abandoning the need for outline planning applications altogether in many cases. The proposal is that automatic outline permission is given for new development in “growth” areas and for “beautiful” schemes.

Comment: We oppose the limiting of public engagement on where new development is to be allocated to that period during the Local Plan preparation. Our experience has been that the standard of design falls once development is applied for. We believe that all development should continue to be the subject of individual planning applications.

  • Making LPs subject only to the NPPF ‘sustainability’ test, abolishing the test of ‘soundness’, abolishing ‘sustainability appraisals’ and abolishing the ‘duty to cooperate’.

Comment: These tests are seen as essential in preventing a ’developers’ charter.

  • Limit content of LPs to that of setting out site or area specific parameters.

Comment: This is a huge task beyond the capacity of most District PLA’s and would need major public engagement to be seen as trusted.

  • Involve communities in setting design codes in their area for LPs.

Comment: Looking at the National Design Guide published in Oct 2019, it says almost nothing about community involvement in setting local design codes which we think it should have done. Communities will want involvement provided they believe they will be listened to.

  • Nationally to set a new infrastructure levy for infrastructure and affordable housing.

Comment: no comment

  • Alter Local Planning Authority (LPA) planning roles to that of appointing a chief officer for ‘design and place making’. The indication is that this may become a ‘statutory appointment’.

Comment: no comment

  • Altering the system such that all land falls within one of 3 planning zones– a ‘growth area’ suitable for substantial development’, a ‘renewal area’ which means an existing built up area which is considered suitable for development or ‘densification’ and finally a ‘protected area’ where more stringent development controls apply.

Comment: We have concern that public support to agree where ‘growth’ is to take place will be difficult, perhaps impossible. We consider allocating land for ‘renewal’ and ‘protection’ will be easier.

  • Limit the time to determine planning applications to 8 or 13 weeks and to achieve this, to consider making LPAs refund application fees if they exceed these periods.

Comment: Such pressure is only likely to reduce public confidence in the planning system.

  • Reduce the time to produce a LP to just 30 months, with the threat of government intervention if exceeded. Give Planning Inspectors holding LP examinations the right to decide who is called to give evidence, the intention being to shorten the process.

Comment: This is a huge task for LPA’s with limited staff and expertise to create what will need to be site specific sets of ‘standards and requirements for development’ on all areas where ‘growth’ or ‘renewal’ is to be zoned.

  • Increase ‘permitted development’ rules

Comment: still under discussion

  • Increase land owner / developer contributions when land is given pp for development

Comment: Support

  • Replace paper with digital code: interactive maps, modelling and text messaging.

Comment: Support


Neighbourhood Plan launch to seek views

Public Launch for the Plan

A public consultation launch for the Neighbourhood Plan was made by Cllr. Richard Plowman, Mayor of Chichester on 14 October 2019 in the City’s Assembly Rooms, attended by over 100 including residents, members of the public and representatives from a number of local organisations. The presentation can be viewed here and the notes from the meeting here. The boundary of our Parish is viewable here.

Ten fundamental principles were laid down:
  1. The City declared a climate change emergency in June 2019 which must be backed by real and effective action.
  2. The City will be carbon neutral by 2030.
  3. The City Centre to be free of all fossil fuelled powered vehicles, the use of electrical vehicles to be encouraged and all deliveries to be made by electrical vehicle transport.
  4. The City to remain small and compact essentially a large historic market town in a rural setting and to position it to be a Unesco World Heritage site by 2032
  5. The City parks and green open spaces to be protected and enhanced. Re-wilding of derelict areas and use of more trees in the urban areas to produce natural wildlife corridors and public spaces such as squares throughout the City with zoning of areas with different characteristics eg retail, restaurant and evening economy.
  6. The City views are determined by the Cathedral and these views respected and all buildings to be subservient and generally no more than four stories high.
  7. The City economy needs revitalising particularly the City Centre and attracting more visitors to the City
    through Tourism, and the Meetings, Incentive and Conference industry (MICE).
  8. The City to maintain, enforce and expand areas of Conservation and preserve buildings of both historic, social cultural and architecturally.
  9. The plan to be holistic and inclusive for all people of Chichester (elderly, families, young, students, disabled and disadvantaged).
  10. The Neighbourhood Plan will be made by the People for the People of Chichester and will be part of Planning Legislation.
Aims to be achieved

The following were cited:

  1. Large international hotel of 200-250 beds (needs meeting and conference facilities)
  2. Large multi-use events/ performance/ exhibition/ conference hall
  3. Removal of level crossings and replacement with low level underpass
  4. More train and bus services to and from Chichester and metro line to Bognor Regis
    and coast
  5. Concert/ Theatre Hall up to 550 capacity (possibly the Court Building)
  6. Large Nightclub
  7. Central Medical centre
  8. New Crematorium
  9. HiTec village for graduates/millenniums near Station
  10. Zoning of areas in the City for better navigation eg North Street, East Street for Retail
    and service, Central Cross area for banks and jewellers. West Street – Cathedral and
    cultural. South street restaurant, bars and evening economy. Eastgate square and St
    Pancras village
  11. Improved public realm increased pedestrian areas and signage. Cathedral square
  12. Public square for Farmers and special markets e g Christmas/ Ice rink.
  13. Cultural trail linking Galleries and Theatre



To elicit views of residents and the public an online survey is being used and can be viewed here. The survey closes at 5pm on Monday 9th December 2019

The City Council has a dedicated website page and a Facebook account to enable progress on the Plan to be followed and views to be expressed.


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