South Downs National Park Local Plan: consultation until 28th October

SDNP public consultationThe announcement of a public consultation on the South Downs National Park Local Plan is a milestone event for two key reasons:

  • The plan is expected to be adopted in 2017. When it is, it will be the first time that a single set of planning policies has been applied to cover the entire National Park.
  • It is the 8th largest planning authority in the country not only in terms of the geographical area covered but also in light of the number of planning applications received each year.

What stage are they at?

In September 2015 the National Park Authority published draft housing allocation maps and set out where housing development should be located, as part of the first draft of the Local Plan, or the Preferred Options Consultation.

As part of this consultation, they are inviting the submission of sites for the next update to the Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA).  Deadline for submissions is 28th October 2015.

To date the plan identifies 20 potential sites for new development including strategic brownfield sites and allows for 4,596 new homes over the next 17 years.  Upon completion, this Local Plan will shape growth and new development for the area up to 2032.

How is the SHLAA used?

The SHLAA identifies land and assesses the availability, suitability and deliverability of that land as a potential housing site.  If informs part of the development strategy for the emerging South Downs National Park Local Plan and neighbourhood plans.

How does this affect you?

If you are a land owner within the jurisdiction of South Downs National Park and have a site which you think may have the potential to meet their requirements then this represents a prime opportunity to become involved in the consultation process and promote your land to be included as a future development site.

If your land is included as a site allocation for a particular use, it increases the likelihood for a successful planning application, as the principle of development will have already been secured. Whilst this process can be lengthy and sometimes complex, there is merit in pursuing as the financial rewards can be great.


A number of the key development plan stages to be aware of include:

Call for Sites – This is where the council invites landowners, developers and the general public to identify land that may have development potential;

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) – This document assesses all the sites that the Council is aware of, including those identified under a ‘call for sites’, to consider their suitability for inclusion as a site allocation;

Local Plan or Site Allocations DPD – These are the documents in which site allocations are identified. Once adopted by a council the allocations will become part of planning policy and will carry significant weight in future planning decisions. Prior to adoption, these documents will be subject to various consultation stages, often referred to as ‘Preferred Options’ and ‘Proposed Submission’.

There will be opportunities to put sites forward as site allocations through each of these consultation stages and it is always better to become involved in this process as early as possible. Following the consultation stages, these documents will then be independently examined to ensure they are robust.

When promoting sites for potential inclusion as a site allocation, the key to success will be to demonstrate that the site constitutes sustainable development and supports the development needs of an area.

What constitutes sustainable development?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published in 2012, sought to distil the planning system, with a core message which promotes a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

‘Sustainable Development’ is described as the golden thread which runs through plan-making and decision-taking.  In its most basic terms, its key tenets are that it provides:

  • An economic role;
  • A social role;
  • An environmental role.

Since the publication of the NPPF, each local council is required to set their own housing and job targets for the next 15-year period. To ensure that these targets are robust, each council needs to identify and allocate suitable land for housing and employment development.

How do Plainview Planning add value?

Plainview Planning specialise in promoting land into Local Plans. We add value by:

  • coordinating your promotion efforts to make sure that the Council is provided with persuasive documentation about your site;
  • ensure that the right groups are lobbied at the right time to maximise chances of inclusion;
  • we monitor the status of Local Development Frameworks throughout the country and are well placed to guide you through the administrative and political process;
  • we can provide professional expertise and funding to effectively promote your land and our services can be provided on a joint-venture basis.

Our experience with land promotion projects is wide ranging and we have worked on many schemes including large sites in Mid Sussex, South Somerset, Dover and Maldon.

A selection of the schemes we have been or are currently involved in:

North Fambridge: Promotion of up to 1200 homes;

Northlands Farm: 400,000ft² Distribution Centre;

Leigh Industrial Estate: Regeneration of an industrial estate.

If you are interested in any of the points raised in this article or have a site you think may have development potential then please feel free to make contact to see how we may best assist: