The “MADE” Neighbourhood Plan now holds statutory planning powers
Update on the Review of the West Grinstead Neighbourhood Plan
The West Grinstead Neighbourhood Plan (WGNP) was “Made” following a successful referendum on 6th May 2021. It contains an undertaking to review it, to take account of any revised housing numbers which are allocated to the Parish in the emerging Horsham Local Plan (HLP), by early 2023, or the adoption of the HLP, whichever is the sooner. Two major issues though have arisen that complicate matters.
The first is that HDC no longer has a 5 Year Supply of new homes. What that means is that while that situation persists, some of the planning rules that protect us from indiscriminate development will not apply and we will be vulnerable to speculative applications from housebuilders. It is no coincidence therefore that we have recently received a new application to build on land north of The Rosary and that Gladman Developments are ‘consulting’ about land in Shermanbury Road.
The other issue is that Natural England has issued a Policy Statement regarding Water Neutrality. It transpires that Southern Water has been abstracting more water from the Hardham Aquifer, which supplies the Sussex North Water Supply Zone (i.e. all of Horsham District, most of Crawley and the northern part of Chichester District) than they are licensed to do. This has caused environmental damage; in particular to the habitat of the Little Whirlpool Ramshorn Snail, which is known to inhabit only three areas in the UK and whose habitat cannot be replicated artificially. Until the situation can be resolved, HDC has been advised that effectively it should not grant any planning consent if it would result in increased demand on water facilities. This is the first time it has happened anywhere in the UK. We are therefore in uncharted territory yet again.
We know that as we go to press, all applications for new housing in Horsham District are on hold. We have been advised too by HDC that for the moment there is no point us doing anything about reviewing the WGNP. This situation is likely to persist for at least 4 months and possibly longer. We will supply a further update when more details are known.