Behind the Headlines: Chichester’s draft local plan

The proposed Tangmere development site as part of Chichester's draft local plan.  Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13
The proposed Tangmere development site as part of Chichester's draft local plan. Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13

A SERIES of changes to the draft local plan for the Chichester district have been approved by councillors, leading to an extra public consultation this summer. Here we look at the changes in more detail.

At a full council meeting, members of Chichester District Council debated the proposed changes, put forward by the development plan panel.

The proposed Westhampnett development site.  Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13

The proposed Westhampnett development site. Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13

They included changing the site boundaries shown on some maps, amendments to the gypsy and traveller policy, the addition of a new policy specifically for the Chichester Harbour area of outstanding natural beauty and a slight change to the overall housing targets.

However, it was emphasised that the draft local plan, which will eventually shape development in the district for the next 15 years, was still a work in progress and more amendments could be made in the days to come.

Consultation

The extra consultation will started on Friday (July 26) and closes at 9am on Monday, September 16.

The proposed west Chichester site, Whitehouse Farm, part of Chichester's draft local plan.  Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13

The proposed west Chichester site, Whitehouse Farm, part of Chichester's draft local plan. Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13

Council leader Heather Caird said it had been extended into September because many parish councils do not meet in August.

“I hope that gives all parties a chance to meet and discuss this,” she said.

A report, considered by members on Tuesday, said: “The summer consultation will be much smaller than the previous one, although it will be open to everyone registered on the local plan database.”

Residents can get involved by visiting www.chichester.gov.uk/newlocalplan, placing their comments on chichester-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal, emailing ldf@chichester.gov.uk or calling 01243 534571.

Housing targets

Under the changes, the annual housing target would be 410 homes per year, spread across the whole of the local plan, instead of the 395 homes per year, plus an initial 258-homes shortfall, initially suggested.

Over a 15-year period this would be a slight reduction in the overall number of homes – from 6,183 to 6,150.

The wording of several of the individual policies within the local plan was also changed.

At Westhampnett, additions to the policy included emphasising moving development away from the River Lavant’s floodplains and the ‘need to ensure’ development ‘respects the setting’ of the Graylingwell conservation area and neighbouring listed buildings.

However, provision of ‘at least three hectares of employment land’ on the site was removed.

Cllr Andrew Smith asked whether the recent success of the appeal to build homes on the nearby Maudlin Nurseries site would be recognised and the housing target reduced accordingly.

However, director of homes and communities Amanda Jobling said: “I’m reluctant to see the number of the strategic site drop much below 500.

“I think it would be a dangerous precedent to remove them entirely.”

Changes

Other changes include:

Giving Stockbridge its own settlement boundary rather being part of Chichester city’s settlement policy area;

Keeping land north of the B2178, known as The Slab, in the west Chichester area protected from development and in open use;

New plans for the delivery of green infrastructure;

The inclusion of a gypsy/traveller policy.

The following changes to maps showing site boundaries were approved:

Whitehouse Farm site boundary be changed to show the correct ownership, excluding Brandy Hole Copse;

Westhampnetts’s plan redrawn to exclude land at Kingsmead Avenue which already has planning permission;

Tangmere plan changed to follow the Tangmere parish boundary in the south-west of the site and the boundary forwarded by developers, excluding land south of the Tangmere Straight.

Chichester Harbour

A new policy to protect Chichester Harbour was also introduced into the plan at Tuesday’s meeting.

In the original draft, there was only a short mention of the need to conserve areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs).

However, the new document has a series of points specifically designed to protect the harbour, saying any development affecting the AONB should be of the ‘highest design quality’.

“The impact of individual proposals and their cumulative effect on Chichester Harbour AONB and its setting will be carefully assessed,” it said.

For plans to be approved, developers must meet all five of the following criteria:

1. The natural beauty and locally distinctive features of the AONB are conserved and enhanced;

2. Proposals reinforce and respond to, rather than detract from, the distinctive character and special qualities of the AONB;

3. Either individually, or cumulatively, development does not lead to actual or perceived coalescence of settlements or undermine the integrity or predominantly open an undeveloped, rural character of the AONB and its setting;

4. It is appropriate to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area or is desirable for the understanding and enjoyment of the area;

5. It meets the requirement of the Chichester Harbour AONB management plan.

Revised timetable

October 17, 2013

Submission of local plan to development plan panel

October 24, 2013

Submission of local plan to cabinet and special council

November 8, 2013, to January 6, 2014

Pre-submission public consultation on the local plan

January-February, 2014

Production of schedule of changes as a result of public consultation

January-March, 2014

Preparation of documents for planning inspectorate

Late April, 2014

Submission of local plan to the secretary of state