Blueprint for development of South Downs National Park to be decided on

The view over Lewes
The view over Lewes

A blueprint for how the South Downs National Park will be protected and where housing will be allowed was due to be discussed this week.

The planning committee of the South Downs National Park was debating proposals to create a local plan on Wednesday, April 15.

This will include building 650 homes in Lewes with 390 homes being included in the North Street Quarter, as well as some additional housing in villages.

Director of planning for the South Downs National Park Authority Tim Slaney said: “National Parks aren’t suitable places for unrestricted growth, and the first priority is to conserve the landscape.

“But, with a vibrant local economy and house prices in the South Downs well above national and regional averages, we need to deliver housing to meet the needs of local people and keep our communities and rural economy thriving – now and in the future.

“This includes both affordable and market housing.

“The final Local Plan will set out the areas and where possible the likely figures for new houses in the National Park up to 2032, giving people certainty about the future of their towns and villages.

“There shouldn’t be any surprises as many of these figures have already been announced through the Joint Core Strategies we’ve developed in partnership with other local authorities.

“Our target is to keep at least 40 per cent of all new housing in the National Park affordable but our landscapes will always have the highest possible level of conservation and we will always put these landscapes first. People will be able to have their say on this as part of the consultation on the Draft Local Plan for the National Park in autumn 2015.”

The local plan will include how to support the local economy, protect tranquil areas and dark night skies, encourage better design and deliver much needed homes.

It will set out for the first time how the National Park Authority will manage development in order to meet its responsibilities to conserve and enhance the landscapes while serving the needs of communities and the local economy. It will have to be approved by the Government.

The authority plans to deliver about 1,800 affordable homes for the 18 years between 2014 and 2032; and from 2014 to 2032, approximately 4,400 homes will be built including those already granted planning permission.

The draft Local Plan will be available in the autumn.