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Draft Local Plan: Your questions answered

What is a Local Plan?

A local plan is a document which sets out planning policies and proposals for new development.  Horsham District already has a Local Plan, called the Horsham District Planning Framework or HDPF.

The Government requires us to review these plans every five years and a new Horsham District Local Plan is being prepared.  When it is ‘adopted’ the Horsham District Local Plan will be used to help determine planning applications in the District.

Horsham District is a popular place to live with a strong economy and high quality of life which attracts people to live here. One aim of a new Local Plan is to set out how the District will meet the unprecedented challenge of how to deliver the government’s required increase in new homes in the most sustainable way. This includes aiming for net biodiversity gain, a high percentage of affordable homes and good public amenities. We also need to look at how we can provide for local, well paid jobs to minimise commuting, protect the integrity of our highly valued landscapes, enhance our natural environment and habitats, and respond to the climate change emergency.

It is important to note that none of the sites in the draft Local Plan (regulation 18) have been selected. These are potential sites that have been put forward by developers and assessed by us for suitability. We have published the site assessments for consultation because we went to hear your views.

What will be the key aims of the Local Plan?

Planning effects all of our lives – where we live, work and relax. The new Horsham District Local Plan will be vital part of this.  It helps us to:

  • shape where developments can take place in the District to maximise environmental benefits and ensure the provision of appropriate transport links,
  • provide for a variety of homes to meet local needs, built to a standard that is at least 19% above the 2010 building standards regulations,
  • create policies that address the causes and potential impacts of climate change,
  • create policies that require development to improve biodiversity by at least 10%, ensuring that the vast majority of our countryside continues to be protected,
  • inform providers of infrastructure the types of infrastructure and community facilities to benefit both existing and new residents,
  • support new and growing businesses so that people can work locally to minimise commuting.

Why do we need a Local Plan?

The Government requires all local planning authorities to provide a long term Local Plan to meet our needs for the future.  If we do not have a Local Plan, development will still take place. However we will not be able to use our own planning policies to help decide where development should go, and will be less able to require the schools, open space and road upgrades that are needed to support development.