Council’s £800k local plan review among its priorities

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A budget of £800,000 for a five-year review of Chichester’s local plan was agreed by councillors on Tuesday.

Chichester District Council must carry out a five-year review of the key housing supply document as a condition of its plan being found sound by a Government inspector last year.

Plans are already underway to begin the review and full council agreed the budget for the work, amounting to £785,00 and a £15,000 contingency.

Cabinet member for housing and planning Susan Taylor said: “We have no alternative but to carry out this review.

“Failure to do so could result in the council having to spend time and resources defending speculative proposals for development, as opposed to being able to operate a plan-led approach where we remain in control of decisions.”

The review is among a series of priorities for the council’s cabinet in the coming year, presented by leader Tony Dignum to the overview and scrutiny committee last Tuesday.

Priorities include addressing the challenging 50 per cent EU recycling target, progressing the Chichester Vision and Southern Gateway projects and taking forward a shared service project with Arun District Council and Horsham District Council.

Cabinet member for commercial services Gillian Keegan will lead a project investigating alternative ways to run the museum, currently costing around £600,000 a year.

An options analysis will be presented by June.

Mr Dignum said the council’s priorities were underpinned its overall objectives.

They are to improve provision and access to suitable housing, supporting communities, protecting and managing the environment, ensuring value for money for taxpayers and improving and supporting the local economy.

Wisborough Green councillor Josef Ransley questioned whether the council should come up with a way to ‘get hands on in terms of delivery.

But Mr Dignum said it was ‘more effective’ to subsidise a registered social landlord than the council delivering housing itself.

Mr Dignum’s full list of priorities is available on the council’s website.