Horsham District Council asks Government to pause its Local Plan process
27 Mar 2020
These are challenging times for the Council with pressures on staff to ensure continuity of vital services while strictly following the Government’s Covid19 guidelines and instructions. The Government has already relaxed a number of normal requirements but it has not yet relaxed the one for local authorities to review and prepare their Local Plans.
The Government requirement is that Local Plans are reviewed every five years and this still remains the case.
In November our current Local Plan becomes out of date when the number of new homes required in our district automatically jumps from 800 homes to 965 a year.
The Local Plan sets out where new homes will be built over the coming 15 years. If the Council has not progressed its new Local Plan to show direction of travel, the ability to control where development takes place and the level of infrastructure such as healthcare, schools, community facilities provided to support development would be considerably limited.
Cllr Claire Vickers, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Development said:
“On 30 March, we reach the end of a lengthy and well publicised consultation period on the draft Local Plan. All the advertised public drop-in sessions took place well in advance of the lock down. These were well attended and we have received a very large number of public comments both from individuals, organisations and groups.
“Until we hear that there is any change, if we are to have a draft Plan ready by November, we have to continue to work within the existing timeframes so that we can do all we can to prevent developers putting in speculative planning applications.
“In the very changed circumstances we find ourselves in, I think it is vital to take the action of trying to get this Local Plan process delayed. Cllr Ray Dawe, Leader of the Council, has written to the Secretary of State setting out the potential impacts of Covid -19 on the Council and on our Local Plan preparation, and is requesting that the requirements for Local Plan timetable are reviewed.
I very much hope that the Government will understand our position on this matter and how difficult it is in these very challenging times to continue exactly as before.
Cllr Claire Vickers, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Development
Despite the lockdown, our documentation is still available online here and planning officers remain available to discuss any issues or concerns you may have.
Please email our strategic planning team or telephone 01403 215100 with any queries.
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