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Chichester South: Spring report

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:50

Local Plan: wrong numbers.

The Chichester District Council (CDC) has prepared a draft Local Plan open for consultation from 22 March.

We strongly object to the proposal for building 395 houses per year from 2012 to 2029. The CDC has disobeyed the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) para 159, which says: "Local planning authorities should have a clear understanding of housing needs in their area. They should: prepare a Strategic Housing Market Assessment." (SHMA). This means that the CDC should produce a new SHMA for "their area". But they have not done so. Local needs have been ignored, as also have the sustainability requirements of the NPPF paras 7 to 10 .

Instead, in November 2012 the CDC "updated" the 2009 Coastal West Sussex SHMA to perpetuate the original top-down assessment used by the regional government in Guildford (SEERA, now abolished), to produce the sub-regional housing numbers of the South East Plan extending to Worthing, of which the Chichester District was only a part. They had no authority to alter that regional document. The DCLG's revocation of the South East Plan, now on 25 March, means that our draft Local Plan needs to alter its housing figures urgently by using a new SHMA, with the Local Plan based on it, and running from 2013 to 2029. That should produce bottom-up figures based on local data regarding, housing lists, job centre vacancies, and local business requirements etc. As the deaths still exceed births in the District, there will be a need for some degree of in-migration, within local constraints, for first time buyers, local people wanting to move or others coming to work here. The new SHMA should be short (not 262 pages ). The new Local Plan should also be short and simple (not 201 pages with 54 policies). There is already plenty of guidance in the NPPF, the Localism Act, and the DCLG guidance papers. Under the simplified planning system, there is no reason why the Local Plan should take as long as a year.

Richard Hill, Chairman, Chichester District (South) Committee of CPRE Sussex


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