In response to the article relating to Tangmere Parish Council’s open letter to district councillors, I would like to provide readers with some context on the issue.
Any planning application is determined by way of weighing its merits or otherwise in relation to planning law. In the Local Planning Area of Chichester district, this primarily consists of the New Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the Local Plan (saved policies 1999) and interim planning statements including the FAD.
Decisions are required to demonstrate a reasonable interpretation of the legislation, applicable to an individual case, and those persons serving on planning committees should not predetermine their decision before the committee sits to determine its decision.
In that context, I can answer the questions put by Tangmere Parish Council by saying:-
1 I believe the purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development.
2 Sustainable development is about positive growth – making economic, environmental and social progress for this and future generations with appropriate land being built on as required.
3 Planning should be a cohesive and collective enterprise; in the past it has tended to exclude people and communities. The NPPF changes that by simply and clearly setting out national policy and introducing Neighbourhood Planning (NP), thereby allowing people and communities to be involved in managing sustainable development.
In such circumstance where existing planning law or policy can be demonstrated to consistently hinder or constrain the purpose of planning, by way of justifiable evidence, I am of the opinion councillors should abide by the law and policy, while seeking to change such policy within the democratic process.
The ‘Tangmere letter’ refers to planning in terms of residents’ objections, councillors’ duty to protect, and controlling development – all terms associated with the old planning system.
The NPPF provides the opportunity for local communities, by way of Neighbourhood Plans, to bring forward their own local community plan and policies, as long as these conform to the strategic aims of the wider district’s Development Plan.
A number of parishes in the district are bringing forward NPs and given the interest on the part of Tangmere Parish Council and its residents to influence planning in their area, I would encourage them to look to manage future sustainable growth in their area by doing the same, given that NPs are an integral part of the new legal framework of planning law.
Wisborough Green & Kirdford