Brighton’s City Plan goes back to the Planning Inspector for examination later this month offering land for about half of the number of homes needed over the next 20 years. If the Inspector rejects it, it’ll be back to the drawing board and years before another plan can be submitted. Rother District Council found itself in the same position with the same Inspector.
Like Brighton & Hove, Rother finds itself hemmed in by land that can’t easily be covered in concrete. For them it’s the High Weald AONB and for us the South Downs National Park. Their Core Strategy, [the equivalent of our City Plan] which was published in 2011, set a target for 3,700 to 4,100 homes against a projected need of 6,180 homes.
After further deliberation and a detailed survey of over 600 sites, they raised the number of homes to 5,700 and Planning Inspector Laura Graham, who is also hearing Brighton’s examination in public, passed the strategy in July.
Rother managed to allocate land for over 90% of their requirement. In Brighton it is about 52% but it is a given that we will never get close to fulfilling the need for somewhere between 18,000 and 24,000 homes by 2035. The question is, how many can realistically be accommodated so that the City Plan is found to be ‘sound’ in its reasoning.
Laura Graham accepted that Rother had done all it could to cooperate with neighbouring planning authorities, considered to be a primary duty of the plan making process. Brighton too has done everything possible to explore options with neighbouring councils all of which have their own problems accommodating expected population growth.
In addition, like Rother, a forensic examination of hundreds of sites in and around Brighton has certainly left no stone unturned in the search for possible housing locations and each one that has been rejected is accompanied by a detailed explanation of why it isn’t suitable.
ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP COMMENT
To a certain extent planning inspectors are a law unto themselves but let’s hope that Rother’s success will give Brighton some comfort in the run up to the next meeting later this month. Of course, in the meantime, the proposals for extra housing on the urban fringe [see earlier story
] have to be accepted by the City Council’s Policy & Resources Committee on 16th October. Like the examination in public, that’s not necessarily a done deal.
The Economic Partnership supports the proposals for additional housing on the urban fringe.
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