Don’t ignore the Chichester district blueprint

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The man helping to co-ordinate work on a new development plan for the district has urged people to think ahead about their children and grandchildren’s needs when responding to the consultation which starts this month.

Chichester District Council’s assistant director with responsibility for environmental and planning policy, Keith Morgan, said in terms of influencing policy for the new Local Development Framework, now was the time to get involved.

Responses from organisations such as the Environment Agency, West Sussex County Council, Natural England, the South Downs National Park Authority and the Chichester Harbour Conservancy were also very important at this stage.

Mr Morgan said the plan was extremely important and affected everyone in the district.

“It’s very difficult for people to look ahead over a number of years,” he said.

“The well-being of our communities is what the district council is about, and unless we can plan what change is going to happen in the district our communities will lose out. They will lose out in terms of suitable housing, suitable employment opportunities and retail and leisure and community facilities.

“Protecting what we value, our towns and villages, our gorgeous countryside and a very attractive and undeveloped coastline – that is very important.

“We need to balance those things against development needs and looking a long way ahead is a way of protecting what we value.”

Mr Morgan said that work going on by the government to reform planning laws and make it simpler could leave the district vulnerable to plans which people did not like and that forming the LDF was a way of retaining control.

“This could have massive implications so there is a big incentive for us to keep local independence by having an updated local plan,” he added.

Mr Morgan said having an updated development plan would also help unlock money from smaller developments under the Community Infrastructure Levy – a more flexible form of funding given to communities for facilities, which could only be charged to developers if the plan was in place.

“We can’t get this money at the moment because the threshold on bigger developments is so large, this would be for smaller developments.”

He also added that having a development plan would help to give young people – for example graduates of the city’s university – the choice of staying in Chichester and making a life here.

The plan would make it more attractive to young people.

The consultation runs from August 26 until September 23.

See http://chichester-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal for more details.