Chichester Local Plan 2021 - 2039: Proposed Submission

Ended on the 17 March 2023

Chapter 3: Spatial Strategy

Sustainable development

(1)3.1. The Government encourages local planning authorities to ensure sustainable development is at the forefront when considering planning applications. The National Planning Policy Framework defines sustainable development as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The UK Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the Future set out five 'guiding principles' of sustainable development: living within the planet's environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.

3.2. The Local Plan vision and objectives build on the three overarching sustainable development objectives in the National Planning Policy Framework (economic, social and environmental). The vision and objectives have informed the spatial strategy and policies in the Local Plan, to ensure that the plan is promoting a sustainable pattern of development that seeks to meet the development needs of the area; align growth and infrastructure; improve the environment; mitigate climate change and adapt to its effects.

(2)3.3. The National Planning Policy Framework sets out a presumption in favour of sustainable development through the operation of a plan-led planning system with succinct and up-to-date plans providing a positive vision for the future of the area, which addresses needs and provides a platform for local people to shape their surroundings. New development must achieve sustainable development principles and must not adversely affect the character, quality, amenity or safety of the built environment, wherever it occurs.

(1)3.4. When considering development proposals the council will take a positive approach that accords with the presumption in favour of sustainable development contained in the National Planning Policy Framework. It will always work proactively with applicants to find solutions which mean that proposals can be approved wherever possible, and to secure development that improves the economic, social and environmental conditions in the area.

Spatial strategy

(8)3.5. The spatial strategy has been informed by a range of factors including:

  • The sub-regional planning context, in particular the Local Strategic Statement (LSS2) for West Sussex and Greater Brighton;
  • The overall vision and objectives for the plan area and for the different sub-areas and settlements within it;
  • The pattern of need and demand for housing and employment across the area;
  • Infrastructure capacity and constraints, in particular relating to wastewater treatment, roads and transport;
  • Environmental constraints – taking a sequential approach to avoiding flood risk areas, protecting environmental designations, landscape quality, the historic environment and settlement character;
  • The availability of potential housing sites, their deliverability and phasing;
  • Public consultation and the sustainability appraisal of options and policies.

(3)3.6. It is recognised that growth in both urban and rural areas is required to meet the changing needs of the area's population. Development, particularly affordable housing, the provision of jobs, social and community facilities is required to help sustain, enhance and make the area's city, towns and villages more self-supporting places to live and work. In accommodating such needs the strategy's emphasis is to locate development in areas which are well located to other uses, serviced by a choice of transport modes and accessible to the communities they serve.

(1)3.7. The spatial strategy is set out in Policy S1 and illustrated in the key diagram. This provides the basis for the distribution of development and infrastructure provision.

(3)3.8. The spatial strategy builds on the previous Local Plan by focussing growth on Chichester city as the main sub-regional centre. Chichester city is the most sustainable location as it possesses a wider range of shops, services and employment opportunities than other settlements. Locating a significant proportion of development in or around Chichester city reduces the need to travel to facilities. The city will continue to develop its role as a sub-regional centre, providing higher and further education and health facilities, and a broad range of employment, retail, entertainment and cultural opportunities, for a wide catchment area extending outside the plan area. Town centre uses will be supported where they promote the vitality and viability of the city centre.

(5)3.9. The Plan includes the allocation of two sites within the Southern Gateway for 180 dwellings and associated retail and leisure uses, as well as recognising that 270 dwellings could come forward on smaller, mainly brownfield sites, within the city (to be allocated through either the neighbourhood plan or site allocations DPD).

(1)3.10. The city is also the primary focus of the commercial property market for the plan area, providing a range of accommodation for both the office and industrial market. The spatial strategy for employment land focusses the majority of identified additional floorspace needed on sites within and close to the city, including a new employment allocation on Land South of Bognor Road.

3.11. To the west of Chichester, the strategic development location carried forward from the previous Local Plan at Land West of Chichester will provide a total of 1,600 homes (with 850 in Phase 2), 6 ha of employment land along with a neighbourhood centre / community hub, incorporating local shops, a community centre, small offices and a primary school; and open space and green infrastructure, including country parks, playing pitches, sports pavilion and allotments.

3.12. Growth will also continue to the east of Chichester with a new strategic allocation of Land to the East of Chichester for 680 dwellings with a neighbourhood centre and community hub including a primary school. This will continue the pattern of growth to the east of Chichester delivered by the Shopwkye allocation from the previous Local Plan. The area provides good access to the city and will form a masterplanned sustainable urban extension to Chichester.

3.13. In Westhampnett, a strategic allocation is proposed for Land at Maudlin Farm for 265 dwellings, which whilst forming part of the service village of Westhampnett, is also close to Chichester and has the potential to connect to an existing shared use route into the city.

(2)3.14. Outside Chichester city and its closest settlements, development will focus on the two settlement hubs (see Policy S2) within the east-west corridor at Tangmere and Southbourne. New development will reinforce the role of these settlement hubs as centres providing a range of dwellings, workplaces, social and community facilities. Retail development of an appropriate scale will be supported to promote the vitality and viability and enhance provision at Southbourne and Tangmere centres.

(2)3.15. The east-west corridor from Southbourne in the west to Tangmere in the east benefits from comparatively good public transport options, easy access to higher order/ larger scale services such as those available in Chichester city. Development in this corridor also provides the opportunity to minimise the impact of development on the natural environment, including designated sites. The spatial strategy focusses the largest areas of growth at Tangmere and Southbourne. Tangmere is a settlement hub with a good range of local facilities and this Plan brings forward an additional 300 dwellings to add to the 1,000 dwellings allocated west of Tangmere in the previous Local Plan. The supporting infrastructure includes a new primary school and community facilities. The employment allocation at Tangmere (4ha/ 24,000 sqm) is also carried forward from the 2015 Local Plan to ensure that the remainder of the site is delivered.

3.16. Southbourne is a 'Settlement Hub' with a good range of services and facilities, and rail connectivity. As a sustainable settlement, Southbourne has been identified as a location suitable for a comprehensively masterplanned mixed use development of 1,050 dwellings, with local employment, education provision and appropriate community facilities. The Plan identifies a broad location for development (BLD) at Southbourne, which means that the development site boundary will be determined at a later stage, either through a site allocations development plan document or through the neighbourhood plan.

3.17. Outside the settlement hubs, land for new strategic development will be identified and allocated through the Local Plan or a neighbourhood plan at a number of service villages (see Policy S2) where there is an opportunity to provide development based on the strategy of dispersing development across the plan area in conjunction with land being available in suitable locations.

(6)3.18. A proportion of planned future growth is identified along the A259 corridor to the west of Chichester. The following locations have been identified as being capable of accommodating growth:

  • Bosham is a service village in the east-west corridor that has good services and facilities and rail connectivity. Land at Highgrove Farm, east of Broadbridge, Bosham is allocated in the Site Allocation DPD 2014 - 2029 for 50 dwellings. Policy A11 allocates an additional 245 dwellings on Land at Highgrove Farm.
  • Nutbourne (with a railway station) and Hambrook (to the north of Nutbourne) function as one service village. The Plan provides for 300 dwellings to come forward through the neighbourhood planning process, however, a significant proportion have already been granted permission.
  • Fishbourne has a figure of 30 to come forward through neighbourhood planning, taking account of constraints and deliverability concerns.

(4)3.19. To the north of the A27, there are a series of small villages and hamlets interspersed with farmland and woodland. This area provides a transition into the South Downs National Park. Opportunities for development in this area appear to be limited due to land availability, landscape considerations, settlement patterns and available infrastructure. For these reasons, the Plan does not propose to provide for any significant development in these areas. This position will be kept under review as the Plan moves forward. The Plan does provide for 30 dwellings in the service village of Westbourne and 50 dwellings at Boxgrove, which is also a service village, to come forward through the neighbourhood planning process.

(5)3.20. The Manhood Peninsula covers the southernmost part of the plan area, extending from just south of Chichester city to the coast. The area has a distinctive character and faces a specific set of planning challenges. These issues include significant areas at risk from coastal erosion and flooding, environmental designations, poor road accessibility and problems of traffic congestion from the limited road connections to the north including issues with the A27 junction, a high reliance on Chichester city for employment and other key facilities. The Preferred Approach version of the Local Plan included moderate growth for the settlement hubs of Selsey (250 dwellings) and East Wittering (350) and the service village of Hunston (200). However, since then several planning permissions have contributed to moderate levels of growth on the Manhood Peninsula. The Plan does not include any strategic allocations on the Manhood in recognition of this recently permitted growth and the ongoing constraints that the area faces, but does include 50 dwellings to come forward at North Mundham.

(1)3.21. The north of the plan area covers those parts of Chichester District which lie north of the South Downs National Park boundary. This includes Loxwood Parish and most of the parishes of Kirdford, Plaistow and Ifold, and Wisborough Green, together with a small part of Lynchmere Parish close to the Surrey border around the villages of Camelsdale and Hammer.

(4)3.22. This part of the plan area is predominantly rural with few sizeable settlements, characterised by undulating countryside with a high proportion of woodland, typical of the Low Weald landscape. Conserving the rural character of the area, with its high-quality landscape and environment, is a key objective. There is, however, an identified need to accommodate some development to address local housing and employment needs and support local village facilities.

(4)3.23. Accessibility to services and facilities is a particular issue for this area, with local residents having to travel significant distances for many facilities. The larger villages provide a range of local facilities and play an important role in providing services to their local communities. For higher order facilities such as employment, shopping, secondary schools and leisure facilities, the area mainly depends on larger settlements outside the plan area, principally Billingshurst and Haslemere, and further afield Guildford, Horsham and Crawley. Public transport serving the area is also currently very limited.

(4)3.24. Previously, given the present constraints on development in the area, the Local Plan has provided for only limited growth, focused on enabling these communities to continue to sustain their local facilities and contribute towards meeting locally generated housing needs, as well as support for the rural economy, in line with the settlement hierarchy. However, due to the constraints on the A27 in the south of the plan area, this Plan has had to provide a moderate level of growth in the north to help to make up the overall shortfall of dwellings. Higher levels of growth were considered at Kirdford, Wisborough Green and Plaistow and Ifold, but ruled out due to the need to conserve the rural character of the area and its high-quality landscape and minimise the impact on the historic environment.

(3)3.25. The following locations, which are all service villages have been identified as being capable of accommodating lower growth to come forward through the neighbourhood planning process:

  • Kirdford – 50 dwellings
  • Wisborough Green – 75 dwellings
  • Plaistow and Ifold – 25 dwellings

(5)3.26. Opportunities should also be explored to improve the accessibility of these communities to local facilities, larger settlements outside the plan area and links into the South Downs National Park with the recreational and leisure opportunities that it can provide. In this context, the proposed development of Dunsfold Park Garden Village in Waverley Borough (approximately 3 miles north of the plan area boundary) presents an opportunity to explore the longer term potential to improve public transport provision in this area, particularly for Loxwood.

(3)3.27. Loxwood is the least constrained settlement in the north of the plan area, and benefits from the most services and facilities, including healthcare. Therefore, a moderate amount of growth is appropriate for Loxwood of 220 dwellings, to come forward through the neighbourhood planning process.

(2)3.28. In the rest of plan area, the Local Plan aims to continue to protect the countryside, but also recognises the social and economic needs of rural communities. As such, new development in the countryside will be generally limited to the appropriate diversification of traditional rural industries; small-scale housing that addresses local needs, and replacement dwellings/buildings.

(1)3.29. Policy S1 sets out the principles for the location of new residential development in the plan area so that strategic issues such as infrastructure needs can be considered at an early stage.

(66)Policy S1 Spatial Development Strategy

The spatial development strategy identifies the broad approach to providing sustainable development in the plan area. It seeks to disperse development across the plan area by:

  1. Focusing the majority of planned sustainable growth at Chichester city and within the east-west corridor,
  2. Reinforcing the role of Manhood Peninsula as a home to existing communities, tourism and agricultural enterprise, and
  3. Where opportunities arise, supporting the villages and rural communities in the North of the Plan Area.

To help achieve sustainable growth the council will:

  1. Ensure that new residential and employment development is distributed in line with the settlement hierarchy, with a greater proportion of development in the larger and more sustainable settlements:

Strategic Development Location

Within or adjacent to the sub-regional centre of Chichester city

Shopwyke (Policy A7)

West of Chichester (Policy A6)

Westhampnett (Policy A9 and Policy A10)

East of Chichester (Policy A8)

Southern Gateway (Policy A4 and Policy A5)

Chichester City (Policy A2)

Land South of Bognor Road (Employment) (Policy A20)

At the following settlement hubs

Southbourne (Policy A13)

Tangmere (Policy A14)

At the following service villages

Bosham (Policy A11)

Hambrook / Nutbourne (Policy A12)

Loxwood (Policy A15)

  1. Non-strategic provision is made for the following forms of development in the settlement hubs of Selsey and East Wittering:
    1. Retail development and local community facilities of an appropriate scale to promote the vitality and viability of the town centres;
    2. Employment, tourism or leisure proposals of a suitable scale and nature for the characteristics of the area;
  2. Non-strategic provision is made for the following forms of development in service villages:
    1. Small-scale housing developments consistent with the indicative housing numbers set out in Policy H3;
    2. Local community facilities, including village shops, that meet identified needs within the village, neighbouring villages and surrounding smaller communities, and will help make the settlement more self-sufficient; and
    3. Small-scale employment, tourism or leisure proposals.
  1. Provision for the above is made through this Local Plan, the extant Site Allocation Development Plan Document 2014-2029 (or subsequent Site Allocation DPD) and through neighbourhood plans. [16]

To ensure that the council delivers its housing target, the distribution of development may need to be flexibly applied, within the overall context of seeking to ensure that the majority of new housing is developed in accordance with this Strategy where appropriate and consistent with other policies in this plan. Any changes to the distribution will be clearly evidenced and monitored through the Authority Monitoring Report.

Map 3.1 Key Diagram: North, North East & South of Plan Area.  Marked with the Local Plan Area, HDA, BLD, SWC, Chichester Harbour AONB, Strategic Housing Site/Location, Strategic Employment Sites, Railway Station, Railway, A Roads, A27 (T), B Roads, SAC, Ramsar, Service Villages, Settlement Hubs and Sub-regional Centre

Settlement Hierarchy

(1)3.30. The Local Plan identifies a settlement hierarchy across the plan area. It is a useful tool for informing the spatial distribution across the plan area, taking into account the role of each settlement.

(2)3.31. The NPPF encourages housing delivery where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. The Local Plan focuses and encourages development in locations where people can access services and facilities and where there is a choice of transport modes (including walking, cycling and public transport) recognising that in some of the more rural parts of the plan area opportunities for sustainable transport may be more limited but that some development may, nevertheless, help to sustain communities.

(1)3.32. The overall objective of the settlement hierarchy is to deliver development that supports the needs of individual communities, enabling them to prosper in the long term. Generally, the larger settlements have better provision of day-to-day facilities and are able to accommodate higher levels of growth without adversely impacting the character of the settlement, although it is recognised that Selsey and East Wittering have more constraints than other settlements.

3.33. Each category within the settlement hierarchy will contribute towards future growth in the plan area, with the largest levels of growth expected in the sub-regional centre, settlement hubs outside the Manhood Peninsula and service villages and more limited development coming forward in the rural settlements and on the Manhood Peninsula.

3.34. Where new allocations or locations for development are identified in some of the settlements in the hierarchy this is to provide certainty in respect of the location of future growth.

(4)3.35. The settlement hierarchy has been defined in relation to the presence of certain services and facilities. The list of services and facilities considered included:

  • Convenience stores;
  • Primary schools;
  • Village halls / community centres;
  • Play areas;
  • Medical facilities; and
  • Public transport.

(42)Policy S2 Settlement Hierarchy

The settlement hierarchy sets out a framework for the council to achieve its vision for the plan area, meet the scale of development required and enhance the quality of the built, natural, historic, social and cultural environments, while sustaining the vitality of communities. The settlement hierarchy is shown on the Key Diagram.

The development requirements for the sub-regional centre, settlement hubs and service villages will be delivered through site allocations and through windfall development in accordance with other policies in this Local Plan.

Settlement Type


Sub-Regional Centre

Chichester city

Settlement Hubs

East Wittering / Bracklesham




Service Villages

Birdham, Bosham, Boxgrove, Camelsdale / Hammer, Fishbourne, Hambrook / Nutbourne, Hermitage, Hunston, Kirdford, Loxwood, North Mundham / Runcton, Plaistow / Ifold, Stockbridge, West Wittering, Westbourne, Westhampnett, Wisborough Green.

Rest of the Plan area

Small villages, hamlets, scattered development and countryside

Settlement Boundaries

There is a presumption in favour of sustainable development within the settlement boundaries which will be reviewed through the preparation of development plan documents and/or neighbourhood plans, reflecting the following general approach:

  1. Respecting the setting, form and character of the settlement;
  2. Avoiding actual or perceived coalescence of settlements; and
  3. Ensuring good accessibility to local services and facilities.

Rest of the Plan Area: Small villages, hamlets, scattered development and countryside

Development in the Rest of the Plan area outside the settlements listed above is restricted to that which requires a countryside location or meets an essential local rural local need or supports rural diversification in accordance with Policy NE10.

[16] See Appendix H for detail on saved Site Allocation DPD

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