Published: 22 Jun 17
Since we last made a presentation to the village, a number of things have been happening.
The Government published its White Paper on housing “Fixing our broken housing market”. The opening of the document by Theresa May reads “I want to fix this broken market so that housing is more
affordable and people have the security they need to
plan for the future.
The starting point is to build more homes. This will slow
the rise in housing costs so that more ordinary working
families can afford to buy a home and it will also bring
the cost of renting down.
We need to build many more houses, of the type
people want to live in, in the places they want to live.
To do so requires a comprehensive approach that
tackles failure at every point in the system”
The main thrust of the document is to put greater pressure on local authorities, like Horsham District Council, to build more houses than they originally planned.
As you know we launched a Call for Sites. This was an appeal to any landowner in the parish, who had land which they thought would be suitable for housing development, to let us know so that suitable land could be included in the Plan.
We had a surprisingly large response.
Some proposals were from individuals who wanted to build one or two homes in their garden.
Others were from major developers who have plans to build estates, rather like the Ashmiles, on various fields around the parish.
Our task, and it is a substantial task, is to look carefully at each site, and decide which sites we, as a community, want to include in the Plan. That process has started, and we have collected huge amounts of data on each site in order to make an objective judgment. It will mean that some sites will be included for future development. It will also mean that some sites will be rejected as unsuitable.
Remember that, as we have made clear throughout this process, we cannot produce a Plan that rejects development altogether. The Government, and Horsham, would instantly reject the Plan.
What we need is development that will enhance the village. Development that will provide homes for young families, who will be the future of the village, and homes for the not-so-young, who have lived here for a long time and who wish to continue living here, in appropriate accommodation. We must allow development, but must not destroy everything that we love and respect about the parish.
When the assessment and marking process has been completed we will, as we promised, share the results with you and will ask for your comments and (we hope) approval. This is unlikely to be before September.
In the meantime our Planning Consultants are producing a document called a Scoping Report. This is the first step towards a much larger project, a Sustainability Appraisal, which is, in effect, an objective critique of our selection of sites for the Plan. The Scoping Report brings together all the existing data and public documentation about the parish, and sets the framework for the next stage, the Sustainability Appraisal.
The problem is that much of the data is way out of date. We are anxious that, if we allow the Scoping Report to go out in its drafted form, the old data might be used by disappointed developers to attack the Plan, when it is published. We are therefore considering commissioning a Landscape Appraisal, which will update all the old data and will provide a better foundation for the next stages.
This is an expensive report to commission and we are having to think about it carefully, with our Planning Consultants.
Our consultants are also preparing a Housing Needs Survey. This will use a variety of statistical approaches to work out how many houses we are actually likely to need over the next 20 years. This will enable us to go to Horsham District Council, in advance of the drafting of the Plan, to tell them what we are to propose and to get their agreement. Horsham have, so far, not sought to impose “quotas” on parishes for housing supply but have hinted that they might seek to do so in the future. We hope to be able to head off this pressure by an assertive approach.
We will hope to be able to make a full presentation to you later in the year and to seek your views about what developments should, and should not, be chosen to go into the Plan.
Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group