Most parish councils in the Horsham district have taken up the council’s offer in April to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.
Horsham District Council said 22 parish and neighbourhood councils have indicated they will produce a plan, which will sit alongside the district Local Development Framework and inform planning decisions.
This figure includes six of the eight largest villages, while in Horsham town the neighbourhood councils and North Horsham Parish Council also want to join in the process.
HDC is proposing to provide support and assistance to all participating communities, including financial support for parish councils and neighbourhood forums, in order to make the most of this new process which was introduced in the Localism Act 2011.
This is subject to agreement at a meeting of the full Horsham District Council on Thursday July 25.
This meeting will also see HDC introduce its Horsham District Planning Framework, which will outline where and how many houses are built in the district over the next 20 years.
Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of Horsham District Council, said: “We have an exciting opportunity.
“For the first time in the history of British town planning, people at a very local level will be able to shape their area by producing their own plans and ideas which, once they come into force, will help to determine future planning applications.
“We have listened to what parish and neighbourhood councils have been telling us about the support they feel they need and the district council will be responding positively and enthusiastically to ensure they receive this.”
Those parts of the district without a parish will be able to set up a Neighbourhood Forum to take full advantage of the new plan-making powers, where local people and businesses will lead the development of their own Neighbourhood Plan.
For full coverage of next Thursday’s meeting see our website (www.wscountytimes.co.uk) and forthcoming editions of the County Times.