Plainview Planning has recently responded to the Main Modifications on Horsham District Council’s Local Plan. A central theme for our response was our concern in respect to the overarching development strategy, and whether it is sufficiently robust to enable delivery of enough housing to provide a continuous 5 year land supply.
Horsham’s Local Plan has been under great scrutiny and on 19th December 2014 the Local Plan Inspector, Geoff Salter, criticised the document in his ‘Interim Conclusions’. As a result, the examination was suspended pending further work and consultation on the Main Modifications. The Inspector noted that he expected the Council will need to demonstrate that it has a five year supply of housing against a revised minimum target of 750 per annum.
At paragraph 18 of his interim conclusions, the Inspector noted:
But some good sites may be available and developable in the short term now; the Council may wish to consider revising its strategy to include such sites as a means of meeting the shortfall of homes that I have identified…
Subsequently the Main Modifications were published on the 19th March 2015. The public consultation period for this runs from 23rd March to 5th May 2015. It is our view that further hearing sessions are likely to be needed.
We responded to the Main Modifications document as we represent a number of landowners and developers within the Horsham District and will be raising a wide range of concerns over the proposed document during the current consultation and in future hearings. Finding the Local Plan sound and its eventual adoption could be many months away, and unlikely within 2015.
As a result of the Inspector’s comments, our own analysis and in light of these delays and concerns, we consider the emerging Local Plan should carry little weight in decision making at this time.
Horsham joins a long list of local authorities in England of which, less than 20% have an up-to-date and Framework compliant Local Plan in place.
As the housing crisis continues to be a vitally important and yet seemingly unsolvable issue, we continue to be concerned by the seeming lack of focus on meeting the requirements of Local Plans in a timely manner. This continues to hold up planning decisions and progress on development sites to secure the future of a continued and stable housing supply and the vitality of communities.
Plainview Planning is an independent town and country planning consultancy and we specialise in land promotion and Local Plan analysis. If you have a site you think may be suitable for development then please contact us at email@example.com to see how we can best assist.