What is a Local Plan?

A Local Plan sets out our strategic planning strategy. It shows how we aim to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of the District.

Why we need a new Local Plan for the Horsham District 

The Government requires all local planning authorities to review the Local Plan every five years.  It has set a target for our District of at least 911 new homes each year.  This is likely to change in the Spring of 2024 due to an expected Government update to the calculation, relating to housing affordability.

Water Neutrality is considered an 'exceptional circumstance' which may mean less housing can be planned for in the Local Plan.  However, we are also obliged to see if we can meet otherwise unmet housing needs from surrounding areas such as Crawley.  This is a legal requirement.

These are unprecedented challenges for the Council.  The aim of the Local Plan is to allocate specific sites where it believes the new homes can be built over a long period so that everyone knows what is happening and for the council to be able to resist any inappropriate development. *

* Some sites in some villages and towns are allocated by their parish councils in their Neighbourhood Plans so won’t be listed in the draft Local Plan.

What’s in the Local Plan?

The Horsham District Local Plan 2023 - 2040 will set out how the District will deliver these developments in a sustainable way, looking at new sites to try to minimise the effect on the environment and landscape.

We are also developing policies to address the causes and potential impacts of climate change. We will expect new developments to provide enhancements to the local biodiversity by at least 12%, and provide homes that are built to deliver, as a minimum, carbon emissions reduction as set out in the 2021 Edition incorporating 2023 amendments of the 2010 Building Regulations (Part L).

The Plan will also support the delivery of community infrastructures, transport links and opportunities for local jobs.

Note: Areas in the South Downs National Park are covered by the Local Plan created by the South Downs National Park Authority.

Have you received correspondence about a development in your area?

Developers may be contacting households about areas they are considering for development. Any correspondence you receive about individual developments will have been sent to you by the developers, not the Council. Please direct any enquiries you have about these to the developer.  You will have an opportunity to give your views on development sites investigated and put forward by Horsham District Council in future consultations on the Draft Local Plan.

Sign up for email updates at horsham.gov.uk/localplanupdates

How is a Local Plan made?

A Local Plan usually takes two years to make and approve. Below is a short description of each stage.

1. Evidence gathering

We prepare the preferred strategy by gathering evidence on the following topics:

  • Housing needs
  • Employment needs
  • Gypsy & Traveller needs
  • Infrastructure Delivery
  • Transport Assessment
  • Landscape Capacity
  • Site Assessment
  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Strategic Viability Assessment
  • Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA)

2. Issues and Options Consultation (Regulation 18)

Public and stakeholder consultation participation in preparation of Development Plan Documents. This is often referred to as ‘Issues and Options’ consultation.

Read the Issues and Options 2018 document for the Local Plan Review

During the Regulation 18 consultation we got out and about throughout the District with exhibitions and surveys to gather your opinions. The consultation took place from 17 February to 30 March 2020.  Remember, the only way we will know what you think is if you tell us your views during periods of consultation. The information and feedback we received during the consultation was collected and used to make changes to the Draft Local Plan.

Read the Regulation 18  Draft Local Plan and details about the consultation

3. Proposed Submission (Regulation 19 and 20)

March 2024 Update:  The Regulation 19 Local Plan period of representation closed at 5pm Friday 1 March 2024. Any representations received after this time cannot be accepted.  All comments received during the period of representation (9am Friday 19 January - 5pm Friday 1 March) will be reviewed and published online, subject to them meeting the standards set out within the Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance for Making Representations.  An update in relation to the date of publication of representations, will be provided on our Regulation 19 Local Plan webpage in due course once officers have processed all representations.

This is when we publish the draft planning document and give the opportunity for stakeholders to make formal representations. Under Regulation 20, consultation is six weeks.

Once we have a draft Local Plan in place we intend to share it with as many of you as possible. To receive email updates on the process, register now at horsham.gov.uk/localplanupdates

For advice on how to comment in line with Planning policy, visit our Have your say page.

4. Submission to Secretary of State (Regulation 22)

The ‘Proposed Strategy’ documents and the formal representations are formally sent to the Secretary of State – The Planning Inspectorate or ‘PINs’

5. Examination (Regulation 23 to 25)

An independent Examiner is appointed by the Planning Inspectorate to test the plan.

6. Adoption (Regulation 26)

If the plan is successful at Examination it can be formally adopted by the Council and used to determine planning applications.