Respond to consultation on reforms to national planning policy
Letter published by the West Sussex County Times 9 February 2023
Is Councillor aware of the Open Consultation: ‘Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy’, 22 December 2022 to 11.45pm, 2 March 2023?
Cllr John Milne states in his letter, ‘A hungry beast’ (WSCT 18Jan23) that the district’s housebuilding target is set by the Standard Method, and that while Gove has “suggested that some authorities may be able to negotiate their target down based on three special circumstances, green belt land, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and excessive housing density in urban areas”, “none of them apply to us”.
Is Cllr Milne aware of the Open Consultation on the ‘Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy’, 22 December 2022 to 11.45pm, 2 March 2023?
Chapter 4 of the consultation prospectus advises at paragraph 8 ‘Using an alternative method’ in place of the Standard Method’ that:
“Local authorities will be expected to continue to use local housing need, assessed through the standard method, to inform the preparation of their plans; although the ability to use an alternative approach where there are exceptional circumstances that can be justified will be retained”.
“We will, though, make clearer in the Framework that the outcome of the standard method is an advisory starting-point to inform plan-making – a guide that is not mandatory – and also propose to give more explicit indications in planning guidance of the types of local characteristics which may justify the use of an alternative method” …. and that:
“We would welcome views on the sort of demographic and geographic factors which could be used to demonstrate these exceptional circumstances in practice”.
It would be unconscionable if HDC and councillors were to forgo this one-off opportunity to achieve a sustainable housebuilding target for the district by identifying and submitting to the consultation factors and characteristics which could be used to justify an alternative approach in place of the Standard Method – and a sustainable target target for the district in consequence.
Dr R F Smith
Trustee CPRE Sussex