Sudden delay announced to Horsham’s Local Plan for thousands of new homes

An eleventh-hour delay has hit Horsham District Council’s controversial Local Plan which pinpoints areas for thousands of new homes to be built in the area.

Councillors were due to consider the plan - which has attracted huge opposition from local residents - at a meeting tonight but it has now been postponed.

The plan outlined land for housing developments at Buck Barn, Billingshurst, Southwater and west of Ifield.

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In a statement today the council said: “The Government announced changes to the National Planning Policy Framework on Tuesday 20 July, without notice.

The site at Buck Barn earmarked for building thousands of new houses - despite huge public opposition

“These changes have significant implications on the Horsham District Local Plan.

Horsham District Council is now required to prepare a Local plan detailing 30-year vision.

“The current draft Plan prepared under the previous requirements sets out planning policies and proposals to guide development up to 2038 only.

“We have sought legal advice and it is clear that we will need to commission some additional work to support this new 30-year vision requirement.

“Consequently, we have been recommended to delay the development of the Local Plan.”

Council leader Paul Clarke said: “This is hugely disappointing news. We have sought help from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government to reduce our housing requirements without any substantive success.

“As a result we have worked hard to prepare a plan that would pass muster with a Planning Inspector in order to protect the district against speculative development.

“The Government consulted on the possible requirement for Local Plans to include a 30-year vision some months ago and we responded asking for guidance on how this could be evidenced.

“We received no feedback and had no advance warning of this substantive change in the National Planning Policy Framework.

“Worse still, no guidance has been published alongside the changes to the NPPF to explain what local authorities need to do to meet this new requirement.

“Our legal advice is clear that we have no choice but to delay our Plan.”