Public to have their say on future of South Downs

Walkers near Jack and Jill Windmills, Clayton SUS-150828-131402001

Walkers near Jack and Jill Windmills, Clayton SUS-150828-131402001

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Have your say

Residents can have their say on the future of the South Downs National Park through a draft blueprint published last week.

A two-month consultation began on Wednesday September 3 on the South Downs National Park Authority’s preferred options for its local plan, which includes the Shoreham Cement Works near Upper Beeding as a strategic site, and plans for new housing in Coldwaltham.

The old Shoreham cement works at Upper Beeding SUS-150616-073157001

The old Shoreham cement works at Upper Beeding SUS-150616-073157001

The document suggests that any proposals for the cement works site should deliver an ‘innovative, exciting and imaginative solution which treats the site as an asset rather than a problem’, and argued that the site was ‘unsuitable’ for market or family housing.

Subject to conditions the authority supported ‘in principle’ a scheme for 600 units of self-catered accommodation, a hotel, indoor and outdoor performance venues, conference facilities,two natural swimming pools, ‘green industries’, a small-scale anaerobic digestion or other renewable energy plant, some retail and food and drink units, and a limited amount of affordable housing, which has been put forward by the Upper Beeding Neighbourhood Plan Group.

A number of ideas have been floated for the site recently including a £200m dinosaur centre.

Trevor Beattie, chief executive officer for the SDNPA, said: “Our landscapes are the reason the South Downs became a national park so they must sit at the heart of every planning decision we make.

“Our landscapes have always depended on development – 112,000 people live in the national park and people need homes and places to work.

“Putting the landscapes first means making sure we get the right growth in the right places and we believe this means we can enable around 1,840 new affordable homes in the national park by 2032.

“This is a significant proportion of the total 4,596 homes we’re allowing for over the next 17 years – which includes planning permissions granted but not yet implemented and anticipated windfall sites.

“We’ve set out the policies to make this happen and now we want to hear what other people – the organisations, communities and individuals who care about the future of the national park – think.”

A drop-in session will be held at Arundel Town Hall on Wednesday September 16 from 3-8pm.

The Coldwaltham site is an allocation for around 20 homes on land to the south east of Brookland Way off Brook Lane.

Across the entire national park the plan sets out to deliver around 4,600 homes up to 2032, which includes a number of sites coming forward through neighbourhood plans in several parishes.

The document also has policies to address issues such as reducing the impact of development on nature and wildlife, encouraging opportunities for recreation, safeguarding public views, setting a high ambition for affordable homes, and also looks at ways to encourage new community facilities, and prioritise movements by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in village and town centres.

Once the consultation closes on October 28 comments will be reviewed and it is hoped the finished local plan will be published next summer, and sent to the planning inspectorate in the autumn.

The authority hopes the finished plan will then formally be adopted midway through 2017. To view the plan and comment visit www.southdowns.gov.uk/localplanconsultation

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