Finishing touches to Chichester’s local plan

Aerial view of Chichester cathedral.   Picture: Allan Hutchings
Aerial view of Chichester cathedral. Picture: Allan Hutchings

THE district’s local plan will be one step closer to being set in stone if changes are approved next week.

Chichester District Council will meet next Thursday to rubber -stamp the finalised plan and send it off to the secretary of state for approval.

If everything goes smoothly, it should be in force by November.

The local plan covers the period from 2014 until 2029, and sets development in the district at a rate of 410 homes a year.

Around 70 additional homes are expected to be built in the South Downs National Park area of the district.

However, this does fall short of government guidance for 530 to 650 homes a year being built in Sussex Coast authorities.

An officer’s report to the council, said: “Work on the plan has sought to accommodate the highest level of growth possible recognising the needs of a growing population.

“However, a number of constraints inhibit our ability to plan with any certainty at higher levels of growth than those being proposed.

“In particular the time constraint imposed by the need for investment in Tangmere wastewater treatment means that development is limited ahead of 2019.”

Tangmere is expected to double in size if the local plan goes ahead, with 1,000 new homes allocated for the area.

With 500 homes for Westhampnett, 500 for Shopwhyke and 1,000 for the west of the city, most of the development is centred around this area.

The officer’s report said: “Chichester city is likely to see nearly 3,500 homes over a 15 year period. This equates to at least an extra 8,000 residents or a 25 per cent expansion of the city.”

Other areas which will take on the housing burden, known as ‘settlement hubs’ in the plan are Southbourne with 300 homes, Selsey with 150 and East Wittering and Bracklesham expected to take 100 homes.

A further 775 homes are expected to be built across the district.

The latest step in the plan process will come as a relief to some, as the housing shortfall in the district has meant several large developments thrown out by the council have been approved at appeal.

The closer the local plan gets to being approved, the stronger case the council has to fight appeals.

Chichester District Council’s cabinet will hold a special local plan meeting at East Pallant House on Thursday, at 11.30am. This will be followed by a full meeting of the council at 2.30pm.