South Downs National Park Local Plan: Villages plan to decide their own housing numbers

Communities across the South Downs National Park are preparing Neighbourhood Plans so that they can guide future housing development in their towns and villages.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:53 am
The former Syngenta site at Fernhurst where 220 houses are earmarked in Fernhurst's Neighbourhood Plan
The former Syngenta site at Fernhurst where 220 houses are earmarked in Fernhurst's Neighbourhood Plan

Some 1060 new houses have already been allocated in plans that have been ‘made’ or set in stone as planning guidance. These include 220 houses in the Fernhurst Neighbourhood Plan at the former Syngenta site. In addition 805 houses are earmarked in the ‘made’ Petersfield plan just over the West Sussex border in Hampshire.

Some 673 homes are being allocated in plans still being prepared. Among them are the Petworth plan which goes out for further consultation next week and includes sites for 150 homes. Lewes is earmarking sites for 220 homes, Liss a further 152 and Lavant is allocating sites for 70 homes. National park planning director Tim Slaney said: “Our landscapes are the reason the South Downs National Park was created and so they sit at the heart of every planning decision we make.

“All local plans are required to allocate housing, even those within national parks. Our landscape-led Local Plan looks to ensure housing provision is assessed against any impact on the landscape.

“As the most populated national park with 112,000 residents, we have placed a strong emphasis on working with our communities to identify housing allocations – we have and are supporting nearly 50 Neighbourhood Development Plans.”

Park allocates sites outside Neighbourhood Plan areas

The national park has only allocated housing sites in towns and villages where Neighbourhood Plans (NP) are not being prepared by the communities themselves.

In addition to Easebourne and Midhurst there are allocations in villages across the park and ten of them are greenfield sites earmarked for homes. They include 35-40 homes and public open space proposed on land south of London Road in Coldwaltham currently used for agriculture. There are also two sites at Findon, at Elm Rose and Soldiers Field House where strong objections have been voiced by villagers.

At Greatham in Hampshire, close to the West Sussex border, horticultural nursery land at Petersfield Road is earmarked for 35 to 40 homes. Another homes development and two more permanent traveller pitches to add to the two already there are allocated at Fern Farm, Greatham.

Two sites at South Harting are earmarked for a total of up to 14 homes.

Villagers were shocked to find a new allocation of up to six homes on land north of the Forge was proposed by national park planning officers in addition to eight homes at Loppers Ash.

At Stedham commercial undeveloped open space at Stedham Sawmill is proposed for up to 20 homes as well as employment buildings. The site is opposed by parish councillors.

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