Future plans unveiled - but those in the park must wait

THE draft local plan which will earmark sites across the Chichester District for homes, leisure facilities and businesses for the next 16 years is about to be unveiled to the public.

Chichester District Council planners are shortly to undertake a six week public consultation over proposals in their Local Plan which will shape the future of the district up to 2029.

But people living in the South Downs National Park area of the district will have to wait another year to find out what planners have in mind.

Tim Slaney, director of planning for the national park authority, said: “The local plan for the South Downs National Park is an important piece of work setting out how planning can support the national park’s purposes and duty.

“We need to get this right, making sure that it fits within the wider plan for managing the South Downs National Park, to be published later this year, and are now building the vital background evidence on which it must be based.

“People will be able to see the major issues and policies we are considering when the local plan for the South Downs National Park goes out for public consultation at the start of 2014 and the final plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State in summer 2016.”

Villagers living north of the Downs outside the national park area of the Chichester district include Kirdford, Loxwood and Wisborough Green.

And they are among those who will be consulted by Chichester District Council over the next six weeks.

CDC’s Local Plan includes proposals to build 60 new homes in each of these parishes before 2029 as part of the district’s total quota of new housing.

The council’s planners hope suitable housing sites will be identified in the parishes’ neighbourhood plans.

The draft plan did set out a ‘vision’ for the north of the district in areas which are not part of the national park, and said: “Some limited development will take place balancing the need to retain the rural character of the area and address the issues of local housing needs and affordability.

“New housing and employment will be focused mainly on the larger villages in order to help support local facilities and sustainable settlements.”

Consultation for Chichester District Council’s local plan will start on Friday, March 22. Visit www.chichester.gov.uk/newlocalplan for details.