Should your parish council create a neighbourhood plan?

JPCT 270712 Southwater housing developments. Off Worthing Road and just north of New Road. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 270712 Southwater housing developments. Off Worthing Road and just north of New Road. Photo by Derek Martin

Southwater councillors are getting advice about the opportunity to attain more control over the types of developments in the village.

A councillor from Ringmer, in Lewes, attended a Southwater Parish Council meeting on Wednesday last week and said that under the Localism Act 2011, parish councils had the right to create a ‘neighbourhood plan’ - guidelines about the way their village was developed.

Councillor John Kay recently helped create a neighbourhood plan with his council and advised that creating one was not quick or simple but was beneficial if residents felt the types of development in their village were not appropriate.

He said: “If you believe you know what your parish needs better than your local planning authority or if you know better the places developments should happen or the types of developments that should happen this is the right route for you.

“You can’t cut the total developed number but you can stop it happening in specific fields as you can protect green areas which are particularly important to local people.

Mr Kay explained the plan would allow councillors - with the help of residents of the village - to identify the type of housing they wanted, any community assets which should be left untouched and the types of affordable houses that were needed.

“You can determine the scale of housing developments. For example we have said all developments should be a maximum of 20 houses to ensure they integrate into the area.”

Whilst Mr Kay assured councillors that the overall cost of creating the plan for Ringmer was less than £3,000, councillors were aware that in Southwater it would be more costly because it’s a larger community.

Mr Kay also conceded that it might be harder to administer a plan in Southwater because, unlike Lewes, Horsham District Council already has a core strategy in place for planning development.