Gillian Keegan clears the way for a new local plan in Chichester

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The MP says a new local plan will be critical to delivering the housing and services residents of Chichester District need without endangering protected areas.

The Member of Parliament for Chichester, Gillian Keegan, has said she is “delighted” at Chichester District Council’s recent announcement that they expect to submit their Local Plan in early 2024 following a number of delays.

In a letter to the District Council administration earlier this year, the MP outlined her serious concerns over speculative development in the absence of a local plan. Writing in relation to an application for 150 homes in Birdham, she shared residents’ fears over the local plan not being submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, leaving Chichester at the mercy of reckless speculative planning applications.

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Following a meeting with Mrs Keegan, District Council senior leadership requested her assistance in solving issues related to the plan, including around transport infrastructure. To aid this Mrs Keegan convened meetings with key senior stakeholders at the Department for Transport and National Highways, and council officials have now confirmed that the plan is at a point where a submission is viable.

Conservative MP Gillian Keegan worked constructively with local Lib Dems on the local plan.Conservative MP Gillian Keegan worked constructively with local Lib Dems on the local plan.
Conservative MP Gillian Keegan worked constructively with local Lib Dems on the local plan.

Following several interventions in recent months Mrs Keegan has told local press that she is pleased that the deadlock has now been broken and Chichester District Council are expecting to submit the plan in the New Year.

“It has taken us a long time to get to this point, but I am grateful for local administration officials’ cooperation in pushing forward with the local plan.

“I have always said that a local plan is critical in stopping unregulated and poorly planned development across our district. I was therefore more than happy to assist in securing meetings with senior officials as the latest step in my work on this issue.

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“I continue to be concerned by plans for a development in Birdham and have expressed this to the council on several occasions. I will be monitoring progress on this and look forward to seeing the final submission early next year.”

Cllr Roy Briscoe, a member of the Chichester District Council Planning Committee, said: “Gillian played a crucial role in advancing the Chichester Local Plan. Despite facing challenges, including a last-minute shift by National Highways, Gillian's intervention prevented the plan from falling apart.

“Through her efforts, she engaged constructively with the new Liberal Democrat administration and resolved issues between National Highways and the planning team, allowing the plan to move forward to examination hopefully early in the new year.

“Gillian's contributions were instrumental in overcoming obstacles and ensuring progress.”

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Chichester’s Proposed Submission Local Plan (PSLP) sets out where and what housing can be built over the coming years. An up-to-date local plan allows the local authority to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply and ward off unwanted speculative planning applications.