Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Mrs Taylor (Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning), seconded by Mr Dignum, moved the recommendations of the Cabinet, explaining that she was delighted to be able to recommend adoption of the Local Plan. This was the final stage in a long and arduous process.
In June the Council had been notified that the planning inspector had found the Draft Local Plan, subject to the agreed modifications, to be sound. This was the fulfilment of four years hard work. Mrs Taylor thanked the officers for their dedication and hard work in bringing this about.
She commented that it had not been easy to reconcile the localism agenda against the national planning policy that required the Council to significantly boost housing supply. A substantial amount of work to achieve this had been put in by the previous administration under the leadership of Mrs Heather Caird, and she thanked them also for their endeavours in achieving this outcome.
Following extensive public consultation the plan had now gone through its examination process and, subject to modifications, had been found sound enabling the Council now to adopt it. This would provide an up to date local plan for the part of the district outside of the national park and the Council could now demonstrate a five year housing land supply, which enabled it to resist speculative proposals for development on unallocated greenfield sites.
The Local Plan showed that the Council accepted change but, more importantly, was in control of that change and able to balance growth with other important local interests.
The District would have an up to date Local Plan which would provide certainty for investment and development and enable the Neighbourhood Plans to progress. Further, it would allow the Council to progress with the Community Infrastructure Levy which would help provide the funds to finance the much needed supporting infrastructure.
However, the adoption of the plan was not the end of the journey. There was now a need to manage the development of the strategic locations and ensure that the infrastructure necessary to support the development in the plan was provided and put in place at the right time. Land needed to be allocated for employment, gypsies and travellers and some housing where it was not being allocated through neighbourhood plans. Finally, there was a requirement to complete a review of this plan within 5 years. So upon adoption of the plan, the Council needed to focus on the continuation of the journey to reconcile the need for development against the protection of the natural environment.
Mrs Duncton expressed delight at the proposed adoption of the Local Plan. She commented that the process had, in fact, begun in 2000, well before the four years cited by Mrs Taylor, and the Council had previously been close to completing a local plan. She strongly supported the recommendations.
Mr Plowman commented that he understood the need for a Local Plan and members’ relief at being able now to adopt one. However, he pointed out that 104 modifications had been agreed, and the Council was required to review it within five years. Whilst acknowledging the hard work of officers, he did not consider the Plan one to be proud of and he could not support it. He believed that the people of Chichester would not thank the Council for it. The Plan would not deliver the low cost housing that was required, it would lead to the development of irreplaceable high quality agricultural land, it would not achieve the required improvements to the district’s creaking transport infrastructure, and it would have an adverse impact on Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whilst the Plan allocated land for additional housing development, the developers’ past record of delivering new housing was pathetic, and the Council had no sanctions to ensure delivery.
Mrs Apel supported this viewpoint and said that the issue of infrastructure for transport, sewage and waste water treatment had not been resolved.
Other members expressed support for the Local Plan and congratulated councillors and officers on bringing it to adoption. They drew attention to the constant changes in planning law, whilst the Plan was being prepared, including another change just announced. The view was expressed that the five year review was to be welcomed as ensuring that the Plan was a living document, striking the right balance between local needs. Mr Oakley welcomed the importance attached to neighbourhood plans and the recognition that strategic sites would be master planned as a whole with the necessary infrastructure and not developed piecemeal
Mr Dignum suggested that celebration was in order. He felt that the Local Plan was an opportunity, providing a framework to benefit present and future generations.
He drew attention to the shortage of homes, both national and local, both to buy and to rent. Locally this meant high house prices and high rents. Many young people growing up here had to move elsewhere when they came to set up their own homes.
The Local Plan offered the opportunity to try and address these issues. This was a chance to work together to make sure that the District had a bright future, with a strong economy, and a thriving working age population.
Without this Plan the District would have been at risk of unwanted, unplanned development being permitted by a Government inspector.
On behalf of the Cabinet he thanked everyone for their support and input into this long and detailed process. Much of the credit went to the former Leader, Heather Caird, who had led the task of securing approval of a sound Plan; credit also went to the councillors who gave their support, and to the officers who did all the hard work. It was a huge achievement and it would help to shape the District for years to come.
(1) That the submitted Chichester Local Plan: Key Policies 2014 – 2029, amended to include all the main modifications recommended by the planning inspector to make the plan sound, together with other more minor modifications already agreed with the inspector, be adopted and published (including any consequential and other appropriate minor amendments) in accordance with Regulation 26 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) Regulations 2012.
(2) That the Chichester’s Southern Gateway supplementary planning guidance remains as a material consideration where relevant to applications for planning permission.
(3) That the Sites in Chichester City North Development Brief remain as a material consideration where relevant to applications for planning permission.
(4) That the Provision of Service Infrastructure related to new development in Chichester District supplementary planning guidance remains as a material consideration until it is superseded by the Planning Obligations and Affordable Housing SPD, which will be adopted at the same time as the Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedule.
(5) That it is noted that the Interim Statement on Planning for Affordable Housing is superseded by the adoption of the Local Plan.
Report author: Mr Mike Allgrove
Publication date: 14/07/2015
Date of decision: 14/07/2015
Decided at meeting: 14/07/2015 - Council