LETTER: Right of appeal against plans

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Nick Herbert MP, in his article ‘More beautiful places’ (WSCT 5 May 16), advised that ‘we need to give communities more power and control over their own areas’ and that he had ‘in the Commons proposed a neighbourhood right of appeal’ so that Neighbourhood Plans ‘cannot be undermined by speculative developments’.

Apparently, this proposed right of appeal is intended to cover adopted Neighbourhood Plans; that is plans that have passed all stages of the lengthy preparation and completion process, not emerging Neighbourhood Plans that are in the process of being made.

However, in Horsham District to-date, only Nuthurst has an adopted Neighbourhood Plan (NP), whilst in other parishes in the District, NPs are in-preparation and progressing towards completion.

Nuthurst’s NP was an important consideration for the Inspector who recently refused at appeal (4Mar16), two applications for development on countryside at Monks Gate, which did not accord with the NP.

Had Nuthurst not had an adopted NP, as opposed to an NP in the process of being made, the Inspector might have allowed the appeal, even though the site had not been allocated for development in the HDPF.

Developers are targeting communities where NPs are in the process of being made as at Storrington, Warnham and West Chiltington, knowing that the likelihood of their applications being allowed by Planning Inspectors will be considerably reduced once these communities have approved and adopted NPs.

Communities need to have the right of appeal against applications that do not accord with NPs now being made; as well as NPs that have been approved and adopted; otherwise the Neighbourhood Plan process and the ability of communities to improve their surroundings will be undermined by imposed ‘speculative’ development.

Dr R.F. SMITH

For and on behalf of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) Sussex (Horsham District), Bashurst Copse, Itchingfield

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