What is a Local Plan?

National Planning policy dictates that every local planning authority will have in place an adopted local plan.  Local Plans set out a vision and a framework for the future development of the area, addressing needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure – as well as a basis for safeguarding the environment, adapting to climate change and securing good design. They are also a critical tool in guiding decisions about individual development proposals, as Local Plans (together with any neighbourhood plans that have been made) are the starting-point for considering whether applications can be approved. It is important for all areas to put an up to date plan in place to positively guide development decisions.

What is the current position in South Downs National Park?

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is working jointly with all the local planning authorities within the National Park boundary.  Presently planning policy is determined under the Local Plans or Core Strategies of each of these Local Planning Authorities. 

The SDNPA is preparing its own Local Plan which will then replace all existing planning policies across the National Park.  Until such time that this is adopted, the Local Plans and Core Strategies of the Local Planning Authorities within the National Park will continue to apply.  The SDNPA Management Plan was adopted in December 2013, the Local Plan will be shaped by the Priorities and Prescriptions of the Management Plan, as well as the National Planning Policy.

How will the Local Plan be implemented?

There will be a series of consultations and workshops with Parish Councils, non-governmental organisations, statutory bodies and landowners.  The consultation period for the Preferred Options opened on 2nd September and will close on the 28th October 2015.  Following this consultation, a Draft Plan will be published for final Public Consultation. The Local Plan is expected to be published in summer 2016, in preparation for adoption in summer 2017.

The full timetable dates and listings for the SDNPA consultation workshops can be found here;

Where are we now?

 On 2nd September 2015, the SDNPA released the Consultation on the Preferred Options for inclusion into the Local Plan, arising from the initial Consultation in 2014.  These Preferred Options focus on specific deliverable Policies which will direct development within the National Park boundary.  These include policies affecting CLA members, focusing on:

  •  Strategic Policies SD20:  Sustainable Tourism and the Visitor Economy
  • Strategic Policy SD21:  Recreation
  • Strategic Policy SD22: General Development
  • Strategic Policy SD27: Sustaining the Rural Economy
  • Policies SD-SS03-SD-DS02 allocations of sites in the National Park that are not in neighbourhood planning areas.
  • Development Management policy SD44:  Replacement dwellings, extension and annexes
  • Development Management policy SD45: Agriculture and forestry
  • Development Management policy:  SD46 Farm Diversification
  • Development Management policy:  SD47:  Rural Workers’ Dwellings
  • Development Management policy:  SD48:  Conversion of Agricultural Buildings
  • Development Management policy:  SD49:  Equestrian Buildings

 The link to these policies can be found here:

 Following this consultation, a Draft Plan will be published for final Public Consultation prior to submission in summer 2016. 

  What is the CLA doing?

 The CLA played an integral role in helping the Government to develop the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and ensuring it provided a framework for promoting sustainable development in rural communities.

 Regionally we submitted representations to both the South Downs National Park Management Plan in 2013 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) in 2014, both of which feed into the Local Plan.  In addition, we responded to the initial Options Consultation in February 2014 and will be making representation to the Preferred Consultation. 

 CLA represents members on several stakeholder boards across the National Park, which include the:

  • South Downs Land Managers Group (SDLMG)
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP)
  • Local Nature Partnership (LNP)
  • Catchment Partnerships across the South East

 The CLA comments on the Preferred Options will be available on the CLA website by early October 2015

 Have your say

If you wish to make a personal representation, the consultation documents are available from 2nd September 2015 to 28th October 2015, and can be found here;

 Please contact Megan Cameron or David Hill at CLA South East on 01264 313434 if you would like further information or have any questions. Alternatively, the SDNPA Planning Policy team can be contacted by telephone on 01730 819284 or email