Local Plan Review: Preferred Approach 2016-2035

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(13) Introduction

1.1 The current Chichester Local Plan: Key Policies was adopted in 2015. The Council is now required to produce a new local plan which will plan and manage development up to 2035. It does not include that part of the district within the South Downs National Park. A separate local plan covering the National Park has been prepared by the South Downs National Planning Authority.

1.2 The Chichester Local Plan Review 2016-2035 (hereafter known as the Local Plan Review) will replace the policies in the current adopted Local Plan (adopted July 2015). Policies and sites allocated in the Site Allocation Development Plan Document (DPD) (2018) are not replaced by the Local Plan Review.

1.3 Once adopted, the Local Plan Review will form part of the Development Plan for the area, together with the Site Allocations Development Plan Document (when adopted), the adopted Waste Local Plan and the Minerals Local Plan, both a West Sussex County Council responsibility, and Neighbourhood Plans, prepared by local communities.

Purpose of the Plan

1.4 The Local Plan Review will provide the broad policy framework and a long-term strategy to manage development, protect the environment, deliver infrastructure and promote sustainable communities within Chichester District, excluding the area within the South Downs National Park (see Map 2.1). The plan period extends to 2035. However, its effectiveness will be monitored through the yearly production of an Authority's Monitoring Report and it will be reviewed when necessary.

1.5 This Plan seeks to balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It does this by:

  • Identifying the amount of development needed;
  • Identifying development opportunities and infrastructure required to support and foster business enterprises and entrepreneurship;
  • Providing opportunities to create new dwellings and jobs for present and future generations, with accessible facilities that support the needs of strong, vibrant and healthy communities; and,
  • Protecting and enhancing the unique and special qualities of our environment.

1.6 The Local Plan Review document provides the main basis for making decisions on planning applications. It gives local communities, developers and investors greater certainty about the types of applications that are likely to be approved. When adopted, planning decisions must be made in accordance with the Local Plan Review, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

1.7 In addition, the Local Plan Review provides a framework within which people can decide how to shape their local neighbourhoods through community-led planning documents. Some communities have already embraced such opportunities in relation to the previous Local Plan, preparing neighbourhood plans and village design statements. The Council will work with local communities as they continue to prepare such documents, including reviewing those plans and documents in the light of the new policies in this Plan.

1.8 In addition to neighbourhood plans, the implementation of this Plan may require a number of future documents to be prepared including other development plan documents, supplementary planning documents, and masterplans. Such documents would provide greater detail on policies, development sites and delivery.

How to use the Plan

1.9 The plan area (Chichester District excluding the area within the South Downs National Park; see Map 2.1) has three distinct sub-areas:

  • The East-West Corridor (Chichester City, east of the city, west of the city);
  • The Manhood Peninsula; and
  • The North of the Plan Area (the north east of the district and Hammer/Camelsdale).

1.10 The plan provides a direction for development based on the characteristic of the areas.

1.11 The local plan is split into two parts. Part One forms the strategic element of the plans, and includes:

  • The Spatial Portrait: describes the key characteristics of the area and identifies the challenges and opportunities that the Plan seeks to address;
  • The Vision and Objectives: based on the priorities in the Chichester District Sustainable Community Strategy, the vision describes the sort of place that the plan area should be by 2035. To help deliver this vision a suite of strategic objectives is identified. The Vision and Objectives also reflect the long term cross boundary Strategic Objectives and Spatial Priorities identified in the Coastal West Sussex and Greater Brighton Local Strategic Statement (LSS2) ;
  • Spatial Strategy: outlines the broad approach that will be followed towards managing growth and change across the plan area;
  • Policies Map: This sets out planning policy and strategy designations in the local plan;
  • A suite of Strategic Policies providing a local planning framework to help achieve the vison and determine planning applications. These policies also set out the amount and distribution of new development that will take place and provide a framework for neighbourhood plans; and
  • Strategic Site Allocations which set out the strategic development aspirations and location of development for housing and employment in line with the local plan strategy.

1.12 Part Two provides a suite of Development Management Policies which provide additional criteria and detail to help deliver the strategic policies and are a basis for the consideration of planning applications for development within the plan area;

1.13 Appendices/Glossary: These contain further background and explain technical terms and acronyms where these are not explained in the main body of the text itself. The appendices also include a monitoring and implementation framework which indicates how the plan will be monitored and kept under review.

1.14 It is important to read the plan as a 'whole'– i.e. with reference to all the policies that may be relevant. Policies should not be taken out of context and will not be applied in isolation.

Policy Context

1.15 The local plan has been prepared in accordance with national planning policy, background studies, appraisals, assessments and has regard to other plans and strategies where relevant.

National Planning Policy

1.16 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (July 2018) sets out the Government's planning policies and how they should be applied. It emphasises the role of sustainability in guiding plans and policies, highlighting the importance of a plan-led system in delivering sustainable development. It sets out expectations for how local plans should be prepared, matters that should be addressed and the need to cooperate effectively across administrative boundaries. The importance of significantly boosting the supply of new dwellings is reiterated, whilst ensuring provision for other development needs including economic growth.

1.17 The Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) supports the NPPF in providing further guidance on its implementation.

1.18 The NPPF and other national planning guidance can be found on the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government website:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-planning-policy-framework--2

Relationship between Neighbourhood Plans and the Local Plan

1.19 Having an up-to-date local plan strategy in place is essential for successful neighbourhood planning as it sets the context for development in the area. Whilst it is possible for a parish to prepare and adopt a neighbourhood plan prior to the adoption of this local plan, this is likely to result in the neighbourhood plan becoming out of date in relation to land supply if it does not allocate the minimum amount of development detailed in this Local Plan Review. There is also a risk that the Local Plan Review will change following consultation or during the examination process, making the neighbourhood plan out of date.

1.20 Since October 2018 the Council has worked with communities to help deliver nine 'made' neighbourhood plans, which have identified specific housing sites to meet local needs together with policies to protect and enhance the environment in each locality. Neighbourhood plans are required to be in conformity with an up to date adopted local plan. It may therefore be necessary for made neighbourhood plans in the Chichester Local Plan Area to be reviewed once this Local Plan Review is adopted.

1.21 Where neighbourhood planning is undertaken before the local plan has been adopted, collaboration between the parish council and the District Council will be critical. The District Council will take an active role in advising and supporting the neighbourhood planning process by sharing evidence and information and ensuring the neighbourhood plan fits with the emerging strategic policies proposed in the Local Plan Review and complies with national planning policy.

1.22 Each parish will be expected to ensure that its neighbourhood plan makes provision for the required number of dwellings assigned in this Plan, as a minimum.

1.23 Parishes are encouraged to make an early start on their neighbourhood plans to enable development to come forward in the early years of the local plan to assist with housing delivery.

1.24 When made, neighbourhood plans will form part of the Development Plan, along with the local plan and other development plan documents prepared by Chichester District Council and relevant Minerals and Waste Plans prepared by West Sussex County Council.

Duty to Co-operate

1.25 The Local Plan Review takes into account the implications of planning policies of neighbouring authorities as spatial planning issues are not constrained by local authority administrative boundaries. The Localism Act (2011) and Local Plan Regulations (2012) set out those bodies to which the Duty applies and the National Planning Policy Framework describes the issues that it should address.

1.26 Significant cross boundary issues include, but not exclusively:

  • The need, supply and distribution of new dwellings, jobs and retail floorspace;
  • Environmental protection and enhancement of the landscape, habitat networks and dark skies (over the South Downs National Park and the Chichester Harbour AONB),
  • The enhancement of green infrastructure and biodiversity offsetting; and
  • Requirements and pressures for new and improved infrastructure, such as transport, communications and the needs of service providers (e.g. health facilities, police, fire service and schools).
1.27 The Council has engaged constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis with other local authorities and organisations to address key strategic matters. Statements of Common Ground with relevant strategic policy-making authorities are currently being prepared and will be made available for review on the Council's website. These statements will be kept under review and updated with progress made on addressing identified key issues, along with any new evidence available.

1.28 The West Sussex and Greater Brighton Strategic Planning Board comprises representatives of local planning authorities across West Sussex (Adur, Arun, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex and Worthing) with West Sussex County Council, Brighton and Hove City Council, Lewes, and the South Downs National Park Authority. It seeks to identify those spatial planning issues that impact across the wider area and agree strategic priorities and policies to guide longer term strategic growth in a coordinated and well considered matter.

1.29 The Strategic Planning Board has currently identified 4 Strategic Objectives and 9 Spatial Priorities. These are set out in Local Strategic Statement 2 (LSS2) agreed in January 2016 which covers the period from 2015-2031. Work has recently been commissioned to begin preparing the evidence base for the next Local Strategic Statement (LSS3) to cover the period 2030-2050. This includes a study of projected housing and employment needs, transport impact, infrastructure needs and spatial options to deliver the development needs and infrastructure. Working together in this way recognises that planning issues do not stop at planning authority boundaries - the new LSS will help the authorities to address wider issues effectively and to demonstrate that they have fulfilled the requirements of the NPPF and Duty to Cooperate. This Council is in any case engaging effectively with neighbouring authorities on an ongoing basis on cross-boundary issues. Statements of Common Ground with such authorities will be placed on the Council's website.

1.30 Effective and on-going collaboration with other local planning authorities and statutory bodies (including Highways England, the Environment Agency, Natural England, Historic England, Southern Water and the Chichester Harbour Conservancy) is addressing key strategic and cross-boundary issues. Examples of effective outcomes include ongoing discussion on how to protect heritage assets; joint solutions to wastewater issues; agreement on transport modelling and highway solutions; and agreement of mitigation measures to address the impacts of recreational disturbance on birds within the Solent.

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South Downs National Park

1.31 The Chichester Local Plan: Key Policies excludes the area within the South Downs National Park (see Map 2.1). As the South Downs National Park Authority is a local planning authority, it is producing a local plan for its area, which is expected to be adopted in 2019.

1.32 For more information on the South Downs National Park Local Plan, go to www.southdowns.gov.uk/planning.

West Sussex County Council

1.33 West Sussex County Council is responsible for preparing statutory land use plans for minerals and waste. The West Sussex Waste Local Plan was adopted in 2014. The West Sussex County Council and South Downs National Park Authority Joint Minerals Local Plan was adopted in July 2018. All development within a West Sussex Minerals Consultation Area must be considered against the latest Minerals Consultation Area guidance and policy produced by West Sussex County Council, available at West Sussex County Council and shown on the Chichester interactive policies map.

1.34 West Sussex County Council is also responsible for all roads and transport planning in West Sussex except the A27 and M23/A23 (motorways and trunk roads), which are the responsibility of Highways England.

How the Plan has developed

1.35 This local plan is informed by the Council's strategic visions and plans including the Corporate Plan, the Chichester Sustainable Community Strategy, the Chichester Vision, the Economic Strategy and the Housing Strategy.

1.36 An essential part of the process to date has been community engagement. The Council's approach to involving local communities and stakeholders in formulating the Local Plan Review is set out within the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI). The Statement of Consultation sets out the key stages and outputs as the Plan has been prepared.

1.37 The Council commenced the background work necessary to inform this local plan in 2016. Since this time a substantial amount of information has been gathered, most of which is original research commissioned by the Council. The majority of this information, the evidence base, can be accessed on the Council's website or viewed at the Council Offices. The evidence base has been used to help identify the issues facing the plan area, and to help and test various options for dealing with them.

1.38 Consultation on an Issues and Options document was carried out between June and August 2017. This took the form of a questionnaire, seeking views on future development, including preferred housing locations and distribution throughout the plan area, employment land allocations and transport and access strategy. The highest frequency of comments related to strategic development locations and concerns about infrastructure, particularly the A27. Responses from this consultation were used to inform draft strategic policies and land allocations in the Preferred Approach Plan.

1.39 The Plan has been subject to a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) which is integral to each stage of the plan making process. The SA assesses the impact of the Local Plan Review's objectives, policies and sites having regard to social, environmental and economic factors and helps to ensure that the local plan accords with the principles of sustainable development. The Local Plan Review is also supported by a number of assessments that form part of the continual review process, which include the Strategic Environmental Assessment; Habitats Regulations Assessments; and Equality Impact Assessments to evaluate the sustainability of the proposed strategy, policies and proposals.

1.40 Within the plan area there are a number of internationally important sites designated for their ecological status. These include Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), which are classified under the Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds (the 'Birds Directive'). Government policy states that proposals affecting potential SPAs, candidate SACs and sites which support internationally important wetland habitats under the Ramsar Convention should be considered in the same way as designated SACs and classified SPAs with respect to the Habitat Regulations. In addition, the recently completed Medmerry realignment will in due course be considered for designation as an SPA to reflect its ecological status.

1.41 As required by the Habitat Regulations, a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) has been undertaken to ensure that the proposals in the Local Plan Review do not have a negative impact on any existing sites, or where they do, that mitigation measures are identified. The recommendations arising from the HRA will be incorporated, where appropriate, into the development of the Local Plan Review as it progresses.

1.42 Testing the local plan to ensure that it meets the needs of all members of the community is also a key requirement. Undertaking Equality Impact Assessments allows the Council to identify any potential discrimination caused by its policies or the way in which it works and take steps to avoid these impacts. This will be prepared at the next iteration of the Local Plan Review.

Policies Map

1.43 A set of maps showing the proposed changes between this Plan and the existing policies map will be made available. The policies map identifies all the site allocations and designations that are relevant to the determination of planning applications. It also shows planning constraints, for example environmental designations and conservation areas. It will be updated upon the adoption of this Plan to reflect the proposed changes.

1.44 Where a neighbourhood plan is 'made' the policies are also shown on the policies map.

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