Storrington, Sullington and Washington Neighbourhood Plan Examination

Action in rural Sussex has been the lead consultant providing support to the Storrington, Sullington and Washington combined Neighbourhood Plan. For this plan, like most others we have worked on, we have brought in planning consultants to assist with the detailed drafting of the plan, allowing us to concentrate on supporting the three parishes concerned through the process of gathering evidence, consultation in the local area and wider community engagement that underpins every good Neighbourhood Plan.  The planning consultancy rCOH were the planning consultants on this plan.

The joint plan was submitted by the Parish Councils to Horsham District Council, the Local Planning Authority for the area, and independently ‘healthchecked’. Having passed all these checks the plan was approved by Horsham District Council and an independent Examiner appointed for the examination.

On the 24th March 2016 the Plan failed its examination.  The examiner did not accept the housing site selection process, the evidence to support this and the housing numbers proposed. In other respects he felt the plan had “much to commend it”. In recent weeks, issues with the site selection process have cropped up in Neighbourhood Plans in other parts of the country and it is possible this may be part of a wider trend.  The site selection process included in the Storrington, Sullington and Washington plan were not dissimilar to those included in the Neighbourhood Plans of other parishes in Horsham District with which AirS has worked and that have passed their examination.

This is, of course, a great cause of concern for the Parish Councils and Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group all of whom have worked very hard over the past eighteen months on the plan’s preparation. As their lead consultants we are doing all we can to support them through this. This is the first Plan that we have worked on which has failed its examination, with ten others having successfully passed.

We, the parishes and Horsham District Council are currently taking stock of the report and considering the best way in which the plan can be revised and re-examined in due course.

We will provide updates on further developments in respect of this Plan in due course on our website.

Action in rural Sussex

8th April 2016

“Supporting rural communities in Sussex to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live and work.”