A six-week ‘period of representation’ will allow residents the chance to have their say on Horsham District Council’s planning framework.
The Horsham District Planning Framework Proposed Submission became council policy after a majority of councillors voted in favour of it at a meeting last Wednesday.
Before the plan can go to the planning inspector for a series of public examination hearings where its soundness will be tested, members of the public can comment on how the plan could be improved or amended from May 16.
Under submission rules HDC does not make any alterations to the document, but will produce a schedule of minor amendments.
This schedule, along with every representation received by the council up to June 27, will be sent directly to the planning inspector.
Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of HDC, said: “A huge amount of work has gone into this over the past few years and we are pleased that our plan is now going forward.
“The location of more homes for the district’s population is always going to be a sensitive topic. We need them and the government says we must provide them.
“I want to reiterate to our residents that the plan also delivers much more for our district in terms of additional employment for local people and economic development.
“It will also provide for affordable housing which we urgently need.
“It has been a long, complex process and we would like to thank everyone who has been involved for their contribution to this plan.”
The planning framework includes 13,000 homes up to 2031, including many already granted planning permission as well as 2,500 north of Horsham, 500 west of Southwater, and 1,500 to be allocated across the Horsham district through the neighbourhood plan process.
Meanwhile HDC hopes that a new business park, built as part of the North Horsham development, will help contribute towards the creation of 9,000 new jobs in the district over the next 20 years.
Speaking at last Wednesday’s meeting Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), HDC’s cabinet member for living and working communities, said: “The plan is the most important planning document the council has ever produced. It takes account of local views from previous consultations and showcases all the hard work which has been done by council officers to produce a comprehensive framework for the future.
“This plan will enable us to regain control of development throughout the district.
“It has certainly raised some very passionate responses and these were seen in the discussions that took place but it is clear from the large majorities on each of the votes that councillors believe that this is the right plan - more homes, more investment and more jobs.
“The plan sets out the key principles and policies seen by the council as essential to bring new opportunities and maintain a high quality of life for everyone in the district.
“From this point on we begin to have an additional measure of protection in planning appeals against unplanned development.
“There are still hurdles to get through.
“A Government inspector will be appointed to go through every aspect of this Plan and ensure we have met all the requirements set out in the national planning policy and guidance to councils. As this Strategy advances we will increasingly get to a much stronger position to control the location and extent of development and resist planning appeals by developers.”