South Downs Planning Newsletter

South Downs Planning Newsletter


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Welcome to the winter edition of the planning newsletter for the South Downs National Park Authority. This photograph shows Stanmer Park, Brighton, on a frosty day. The beauty spot is set to benefit from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding to improve access and links to the South Downs Way. Read more about it below in our update on projects benefitting from cash injections right across the National Park!

Affordable housing gets the green light

Much-needed affordable housing will be delivered after plans were approved for three village sites.

The National Park Authority’s Planning Committee voted to give the go-ahead to new development in Easebourne, West Sussex, including the conversion of a listed former school to three new homes.

Learn more here.

New homes in heart of market town

Thirty-four flats are to be built in a prominent town centre location to replace a vacant brownfield site.

Plans put forward by 6a Vision Homes for the demolition of a workshop building in Lavant Street, close to the railway station in Petersfield, were approved by the National Park’s Planning Committee.

Find out more here.

Appeal is dismissed by planning inspector

A planning appeal to relocate a nursery to a greenfield site in the National Park to free up land for 70 homes has been dismissed by the Government Planning Inspector.

The decisions of the South Downs National Park Authority and Arun District Council on two related planning applications were upheld by the relevant inspectors.

Find out more here.

Horse owner saddled with £12,000 fine after breach

A horse-owner who built stables, plumbed in a caravan and placed a shipping container on rural land in the National Park has been ordered to pay more than £12,000 in fines and costs and told to return the site to its original condition. Find out more.

Plans submitted for new culture and education hub

Major plans have been submitted to turn a former dairy farm into a culture, arts and education hub.

Learn more.

New Interim Chief Executive leads Authority

The South Downs National Park Authority has appointed Tim Slaney as its Interim Chief Executive Officer. Find out more here.

Funding boost of £3m for local communities

New off-road routes for walkers and cyclists, new play areas, school improvements and work to enhance a river are among the projects to benefit from a major funding boost from the South Downs National Park Authority.

More than £2.5m of CIL funding will benefit 42 community schemes across Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex. Find out more here.

This film gives an update on work to establish a new wetland habitat in the National Park as part of a plan to realign the Cockshut Stream. The partnership project, which benefitted from £150k of CIL funding, will bring an array of biodiversity benefits and reduce the risk of flooding in the Lewes area.

Neighbourhood planning update

The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) provides local communities with the power to shape development in their area.

Once “made”, a NDP becomes part of the Development Plan for the South Downs National Park, and its policies and proposals are used in the determination of planning applications and appeals.

The Authority has advised parishes not to start any New NDPs or NDP Reviews until the South Downs Local Plan Review (LPR) has passed its examination stage, which is anticipated for 2026.

However, a number of parishes that started to prepare their NDPs a number of years ago, have made significant progress this year.

The full list of NDPs which have been “made” or are being prepared is available on the South Downs Neighbourhood Plan webpage. In terms of this year:

  • The Bramshott & Liphook NDP went out to public consultation in the summer.
  • The Peacehaven & Telscombe NDP went out to public consultation in spring and autumn;
  • The Rowlands Castle NDP was “made” in November.
  • The Rottingdean NDP’s decision statement went to Brighton & Hove City Council’s special committee on 8 December, and a date for the referendum will be announced soon.

If you have any queries about neighbourhood planning, then you can email us at

Minerals and Waste Consultations

Two counties in the National Park are currently undertaking a partial review of their minerals and waste strategies.

The modifications consultation on the East Sussex Minerals and Waste Local Plan Partial Review closes on 22 December.

The Hampshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan Partial Review: Regulation 19 consultation is due to start in January 2024, subject to final agreement by the four other local planning authorities.

Design awards return bigger and better!

An exciting awards scheme to celebrate outstanding and innovative design in the South Downs National Park returns bigger and better than ever.

After a five-year break, the prestigious South Downs Designs Awards are back with an extended line-up of categories. Learn more.

SMEs and planning - what you need to know

How does a small or medium-sized business go about submitting a planning application to the National Park? Read this explainer piece for some useful tips.

Assessing housing needs

An assessment has been made on future needs for housing and employment land in the South Downs National Park.

Learn more about the assessment here.

Mandatory BNG arrives

With Biodiversity Net Gain becoming mandatory next month, Ecology Planning Lead Dr Lynsey Robinson gives some useful explanation and background. Read her piece here.

Acquire BNG units in first-rate scheme

A landmark agreement has been signed that marks the first step towards creating large new areas of habitat for wildlife in the South Downs National Park.

Thirty one hectares of land – almost 100 football pitches – at Iford Estate, in East Sussex, have been signed over for nature recovery.

The large swathe of downland is the first to appear on the National Park Authority’s register of land that is formally dedicated for “Biodiversity Net Gain” (BNG) provision. Find out more.

Contact National Park team to get Biodiversity Net Gain units

Authority Monitoring Report published

We have produced our ninth Authority Monitoring Report, giving an overview of some of the key achievements for 2022-23.

The AMR reports progress on the timetable and milestones for the preparation of documents set out in the Local Development Scheme.

Eco-enhancements from small applications

Adam Duncombe, Development Management Officer, writes about the collective contribution small planning applications can make to nature recovery and climate.

Did you know? A round-up of planning statistics

  • Appeals submitted to the Planning Inspectorate 31
  • Appeals started 23
  • Appeals determined 18
  • Appeals successfully defended 10
  • Statutory submissions received 991
  • Statutory submissions received via Planning Portal 832
  • Statutory submissions determined 977
  • Neighbours notified 5,967
  • Representations received 1,920
  • Consultations issued 2,877
  • Conditions imposed 3,470
  • Enquiries for planning advice 252
  • Enforcement complaints received 173
  • Enforcement cases opened 155
  • Enforcement related site inspections 91
  • Enforcement notices served 13
  • Enforcement cases closed 154

(Figures from 1/7/23 to 30/9/23)

Meet the National Park planner...

For this edition we catch up with Philippa Smyth, Principal Development Management Officer, and find out about her interests and passions.

Dates for the diary

The next Planning Committee meetings will be held on 15 February, 14 March and 11 April.

You can watch the meetings on-demand for up to six months after the meeting through our webcasting portal.

You can look at previous and upcoming agendas on the website here.

Watch the committee meetings on webcast
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