By Jess Price
You may have heard that Horsham District Council is reviewing their Local Plan. The first consultation on this review opens on Monday and runs until 5pm on 30 March 2020.
At the Sussex Wildlife Trust we try to comment on all strategic plans for all the Local Planning Authorities in Sussex. For example we are currently working on responses to both the Crawley Local Plan review and the West Sussex Minerals Plan (soft sand). Spatial planning is important to make sure that the right kind of development happens in the right place and at the right time. We try to influence these high level plans by working with local planning authorities and responding to consultations. We want to affect decisions and site allocations before the planning application stage so that the environment is placed at the heart of spatial planning. All planning applications are decided against the policies in the strategic plans, so getting these right is the most efficient use of our time and can hopefully solve problems for wildlife before they occur.
Due to national policy, we know that Horsham District Council will have to plan for a lot of houses and the Sussex Wildlife Trust is very concerned about the ability for the district to absorb this level of development. As soon as the full plan and associated evidence base is made available on Monday, the Sussex Wildlife Trust Conservation Policy Team will be assessing the consultation documents to see how Horsham District Council has considered the natural environment in their decision making. We will not be formulating an opinion until we have had time to consider all the available information, but given the ecological emergency we are facing, it is clear that to be fit for purpose the plan must contribute to nature’s recovery and a landscape that is resilient to climate change.
We encourage anybody impacted by the Horsham Local Plan review to get involved and submit your own comments via the Horsham District Council website
Once we’ve completed our response, we will make it available on our website.