New policies that set the course for development across one of the largest and most beautiful planning authority areas in the country are being opened up for comment from September 2.
The Local Plan for the South Downs National Park – which covers large parts of East Sussex, as well as West Sussex and Hampshire – takes the radical approach of putting landscapes first while still serving the needs of communities and the local economy.
The National Park Authority has now published its preferred options for these policies and is asking people – individuals and organisations – to give their feedback.
When the plan is adopted (expected to be in 2017) it will be the first time that a single set of planning policies have been applied across the 1,600km2 area of the UK’s newest National Park.
The aim is to set high standards that all development proposed for the National Park must meet to ensure nature is protected and valued both for its own sake and for the things it gives residents, like clean water, food and space to breathe.
Trevor Beattie, CEO for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “Our landscapes are the reason the South Downs became a National Park, so they must sit at the heart of every planning decision we make.
“Our landscapes have always depended on development – more than 112,000 people live in the National Park and people need homes and places to work.
“Putting the landscapes first means making sure we get the right growth in the right places and we believe this means we can enable around 1,840 new affordable homes in the National Park by 2032. This is a significant proportion of the total 4,596 homes we’re allowing for over the next 17 years – which includes planning permissions granted but not yet implemented and anticipated windfall sites.
“We’ve set out the policies to make this happen and now we want to hear what other people – the organisations, communities and individuals who care about the future of the National Park – think.”
Residents are able to find out more at a series of special drop in sessions being held across the National Park, including one at Lewes Town Hall on Tuesday, September 8 (3pm to 8pm):
Visit www.southdowns.gov.uk/localplanconsultation for more information about the Local Plan, to read the preferred options and information on how to share your feedback online or in writing.
The consultation closes on October 28, 2015.
Following the public consultation, there will be a publication of the Local Plan followed by a formal Pre-Submission Consultation. In the autumn of 2016, the Local Plan will be submitted to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and it is expected to be adopted in the summer of 2017.
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