Horsham District Council’s Local Plan is adopted and will come into effect on 27th November 2015

HorshamLocalPlanOn the 19th of November, councillors at Horsham district council voted to adopt the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF). The plan will come into effect from the 27th of November 2015.

This document will replace the outdated local planning documents saved from 2007, and will provide new strategies and policies to meet the requirements of the District for the period up to 2031. It also means that the council can now provide an up to date 5 year housing land supply.

The plan:

On the 8th October the Planning Inspector in charge of reviewing and evaluating the plan identified that the HDPF was sound subject to certain modifications including an increase in housing requirement to 800 dwellings per year, with at least 1500 dwellings distributed across the District in accordance with the settlement hierarchy, allocated through Neighbourhood Planning.

The housing trajectory presented indicates that the Council can deliver c. 10,000 dwellings in the first 15 years of the plan, but in order to accommodate a number of uncertainties, for example the future of Gatwick Airport, the Council has committed itself to a review of the plan to commence within the first three years from the adoption of the HDPF.

So what does this mean for your potential development site?

Whilst Horsham District Council can demonstrate a five year land housing supply this does not preclude development applications being submitted.  While Horsham’s new policies carry significant weight, national guidance quite clearly states that the presence of a five year land housing supply is not a maximum quota. Recent appeal decisions support this.  For example, a recently allowed appeal in Wychavon District Council in July 2015 saw the Inspector reach the following conclusion;

It is agreed between the parties that the Council can demonstrate a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites as required by paragraph 47 of the Framework. Under these circumstances, the decision-taking criteria contained in paragraph 14 of the Framework are not engaged. Whilst this is so, the Framework seeks to boost significantly the supply of housing and the ability to demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply should not be seen as a maximum supply. Regardless of such a supply being available, the Framework advocates a presumption in favour of sustainable development and the application must be considered in these terms.

What about the parts of Horsham District which fall within the South Downs National Park?

As a result of the HDPF which will be adopted tomorrow, a new policy question mark has arisen over the policy now in place for the areas within Horsham that also fall within the SDNP.

The confusion lies in the fact that the HDPF specifically states it only applies to areas outside the SDNP.  However the SDNP, which is only just starting the process to formulate a Local Plan, directs applicants as an interim measure to the policies contained within the Horsham Core Strategy (2007) which has been superseded by the newly adopted local plan, which as we mentioned specifically states it has nothing to do with the SDNP.

We have sought clarity on this position from Horsham District Council direct and look forward to their updates.

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