Henfield NP overturned
On 17th October HDC announced that the High Court had overturned the decision to adopt the Henfield Neighbourhood Plan following a Judicial Review requested by housing developers Stonegate Homes Ltd and Littleworth Properties Ltd.
Apparently, the plan excluded certain land to the west of the village on the basis that the local community believed that development at this site this would result in significant traffic disruption. Despite the plan having been accepted by the independent examiner and approved by referendum, the judge found that there was insufficient evidence to support the decision to exclude the site in question.
Commenting on the High Court decision, Leader of HDC Cllr Ray Dawe said ”We will also review what other measures may need to be put in place to ensure that the chances of such circumstances occurring against other neighbourhood plans are minimised.”
Impact of the Henfield decision upon SWAB Neighbourhood Plan
The SWAB team has always aimed to base site assessment decisions as far as possible upon clear evidence against agreed assessment criteria and to avoid placing too much emphasis upon anecdotal statements we receive from time to time where these are not supported by an appropriate evidence base. For this reason we believe the housing assessment recommendations to be basically sound. However the Henfield decision is a timely reminder that we should review our recommendations and the associated evidence at the pre-sub stage.
Of more concern is the expectation, as alluded to by Cllr Dawe above, that HDC may now seek to introduce new measures to minimize a repeat of the Henfield decision. Hopefully, if HDC decide simply to audit the criteria we have used for site selection and the associated evidence base, any delay may be minimal. However, if HDC take a more proscriptive approach they may decide to introduce their own set of site assessment and selection criteria, then we may have to embark on a very significant rework exercise, which could have implications upon funding and resources. Either way we have been informed that HDC will be taking a more “hands-on” approach to NP support.
At the same time, the HDC Neighbourhood Planning Officer Mrs Maggie Williams, with whom we have consulted to date, has now been replaced by Mr Norman Kwan. Mr Kwan started in the post from mid-November and we understand HDC will be organising a Neighbourhood Planning Conference early in the New Year.
Update on housing & local green space recommendations
One land owner has withdrawn their offer of land for new housing, namely sites 15a,b & c at Maudlyn Farm, Bramber. Three sites that were initially not recommended, are being re-evaluated to ensure that our current recommendations are sound and whether there could be a case for adding one or more of these sites (all of which are outside the SDNPA) to our new housing development recommendations in the Pre-Sub.
SWAB NP Timescales
The SWAB NP Pre-submission document is now close to completion and our expectation prior to the Henfield decision was to be ready to commence the next public consultation phase in December 2016.
However, given the current uncertainty, it is not possible to commit to this and we will need to await further guidance from HDC before we can advise on a revised timetable for the SWAB Neighbourhood Plan.
Unfortunately, our Neighbourhood Plan must therefore now be PUT ON HOLD until we receive clear insructions from Horsham District Council on how they wish to proceed.
If you would like to contact any of the team working on the Neighbourhood Plan our e mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org (just click to connect) or you can ring the Steyning Parish Council Clerk on 01903 812042.
In the light of recent developments with the Henfield NP and the Storrington, Washington and Sullington NP, HDC have confirmed that they want a closer working relationship with those groups working on Neighbourhood Plans in the Horsham District.
They have appointed a Full Time Neighbourhood Plan Officer, Mr Norman Kwan. Members of the SWAB Steering Group have now had a meeting with Mr Kwan and with the Principal Planning Officer at HDC.
HDC are now looking at all of the work completed by the Steering Group and the Focus Groups and will be providing constructive feedback. They certainly appreciate the amount of work completed and the depth of care taken in its preparation. They have spoken about taking a sensible, considered and long term approach to any recommendations and requirements they place on our Neighbourhood Plan. It will continue to reflect what local people and businesses consider to be important for the sustainability of our communities. The increased input from HDC at this relatively late stage should be seen as a positive intervention which will only strengthen our Neighbourhood Plan to protect us in the future against unwanted, unnecessary and unplanned development.
A Parish Conference is being organised by HDC at the end of January. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss Neighbourhood Plans in the Horsham District and the future involvement of the District Council. We will have a clearer view of how our Neighbourhood Plan can proceed after this conference. We will then be able to readjust our timelines and will provide further information at that time.
Thank you to everyone who has helped bring us to this stage in our Neighbourhood Plan.
Following the decision to decluster from SWAB, Bramber will now have its own Neighbourhood Plan.
The initial meeting for this was held on 30th January. Click the button below for the minutes of the meeting.
Click the button below to read the results of the Housing Needs Survey that was carried out in Bramber in 2015. This forms an input into the Neighbourhood Plan.
Added: 8th February 2018
Added: 10th December 2016
Added: 29th November 2016
To contact the Neighbourhood Plan secretary please fill out the form to the right and click "Submit".
Added: 27th February 2018
I’m pleased to confirm that the area of Bramber within the SDNP has also been formally designated as a Neighbourhood Area. Please see the attached decision notice and designation map. Horsham DC will be your lead authority on the neighbourhood plan but please do get in touch if there is anything further you need from SDNPA.
Neighbourhood Planning Officer
South Downs National Park Authority
Tel: 01730 819272
South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9DH
Click the button below to read the minutes of the meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Group held on 7th March.
Added: 14th March 2018