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Draft Local Plan: Your questions answered

What is meant by the term ‘infrastructure’?

Infrastructure is a collective term for services, facilities and structures such as roads, electricity, sewerage, water, schools, health provision and open spaces that people need to live happy, healthy and safe lives.

New development is required to provide new infrastructure or upgrades to existing facilities to ensure that the needs of new developments can be met.  We cannot ask that new development provides upgrades that meet existing shortages.

How will you plan for new infrastructure?

The Local Plan will be accompanied by a document called an Infrastructure Delivery Plan. This will identify the key infrastructure requirements which need to be delivered to support new development that is proposed in the Local Plan. This will include transport, schools, healthcare, electricity, gas, water, sewerage, sustainable drainage systems, and telecommunications.

The preparation of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan is undertaken in partnership with a number of key providers, including West Sussex County Council, the energy and utility companies operational in the area, Highways England, telecommunications providers, clinical commissioning groups (health care), and the Environment Agency.

The provision of new or upgraded infrastructure is usually agreed as part of the planning application process. This can be set out in legal agreements or planning conditions or are provided through contributions made to the Council as part of a standard payment known as a ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ (see below).

What about all the extra travel and traffic that will be generated by new development?

Congestion on the local transport network is a significant local issue. We understand that there is a big risk that the unprecedented increase in the number of homes and jobs that we are likely to see in the District could make this worse.

We are undertaking detailed transport modelling work to find out the impacts that this significant housing and employment growth will have on our roads. When the potential impacts have been identified, we will be able to assess what improvements to roads and transport will be needed to ensure the current situation is improved and not made worse.

As well as providing road upgrades, if needed, the Local Plan expects that new development is designed to minimise the need to travel in the first place and to promote non-car methods of transport in the first instance, including  improving and creating walking and cycling routes, and provision of new public transport.

How does the new Local Plan address the extra capacity that will be needed in schools?

We understand that any new development will mean that there is a need to consider the capacity of existing schools and whether a new school is needed.

More modest scale developments will be required to make financial contributions towards improving or extending existing school facilities through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

For some of the larger scale developments proposed in the Plan, policy requires the provision of a new school as part of development.

We work closely with West Sussex County Council, as the local education authority, to understand where new schools or upgrades to existing schools may be needed.

How will local healthcare facilities be improved?

We understand that any new development will mean that there is a need to consider the capacity of local health care services. It is important to understand that Horsham District Council does not provide health services ourselves. This is done by the local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the NHS. We therefore work very closely with these organisations in order to find out what additional health facilities or provision may be required as a result of new development.

If needed, it is expected that existing or new health care facilities are provided through financial contributions achieved either through the Community Infrastructure Levy or, in the case of very large sites, land is provided by the developer on the site.

Although access to doctors and hospitals is important, the plan will also influence our health in other ways. There is an expectation that development will be designed to help allow healthy lifestyles, with safe places to walk and cycle, and the provision of sport and leisure facilities. In addition, it is expected green spaces and places for nature will be provided, both of which are known to help improve our mental health and wellbeing.

What do developers contribute financially towards new infrastructure and how can we be sure that their contributions are made?

Funding for public infrastructure is gathered in two ways; one is through the Community Infrastructure Levy, the other is through what is called a Section 106 legal agreement.

Most development provides contributions through the Community Infrastructure Levy. This is a set fee which is collected when a development starts to be built. This money is then pooled by the Council, and helps to fund the infrastructure, facilities and services - such as schools or transport improvements - which are needed to support new homes and businesses in the areas.

Further guidance on the Community Infrastructure Levy can be found on the Council’s website.

Section 106 payments are made to pay for a specific types of infrastructure that is needed to ensure that a development proposal is acceptable.  These are secured by legal agreement and must be paid at the time specified in that agreement.  It may be for example that early payment is made to improve a highway junction or local school, but a later payment is made to help provide for an element of affordable housing.