Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Wallis Room, Parkside

No. Item


To approve the notes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To approve as correct the notes of the meeting held on 7th March 2017


The group approved the notes of the meeting held on 7 March 2017.


Horsham District Local Plan Review

The early stages of the local plan review will consider the economic development and rural policies.  The Cabinet Member wishes to seek advice of the group on the scope of this review process.








Officers reminded Members that the group had been notified of the indicative timetable for the HDPF review at its meeting in January 2017. The review was required by the Inspector to be underway by November 2018. Four topic areas had been brought forward, each of which was described in full in the HDPF, for review:


Policy 7:         Economic Growth

Officers explained that the policy as set out supported existing businesses on existing sites and made provision for a site on land north of Horsham. It also set out a framework for NDPs and provided a hook to identify additional sites. However, the challenges related to the ‘one size fits all’ locational strategy and a key consideration could be a separate employment locational strategy taking account of transport nodes and corridors.


Policy 9:         Employment Development

The group heard that the NPPF allowed key employment land to be protected, and a review was required to demonstrate need. The previous full review and designation of Key Employment Areas was undertaken in 2005 -2006 and officers advised that some sites did not meet current business need. Other sites had been lost to housing and conversely, different sites could now benefit from protection. Those could include new allocations on transport nodes. A comprehensive review was therefore required.


Policy 10:       Rural Economic Development

Officers explained that the policy had been carried forward from the Core Strategy with only limited updating. The broad thrust was still sound as it supported economic development in rural areas, but there was a need for ‘fine tuning’. For example, the lack of definition as to ‘substantial environmental improvement’ needed to be addressed and the reference to ‘established employment site’ rather than ‘industrial estate’ needed clarification.  Officers advised that further guidance on policy interpretation was required, rather than a wholesale rewrite. A specific policy on barn (or similar) conversions would also need to be addressed.


Policy 26:       Countryside protection

The group heard that the policy aimed to limit development in rural areas and retain the rural character of the countryside, which was an economic asset in that it attracted business and residents to the area. It was arguable that the policy prevented some small scale infill development which would help retain the vitality of rural areas.  Officers would be considering the identification of specific hamlets, unclassified settlements and housing groups where limited small scale infill could be appropriate. This was a relatively new approach based on research of how other authorities are dealing with the challenge of balancing the protection of the countryside whilst retaining the vitality of the rural area. There would also be a review of existing Built up Area Boundaries to ensure consistency and update where new developments have taken place.


At the invitation of the Chairman of the group, Members discussed:


·         Diversification of farming sites

·         Enforcement

·         Mitigating the impact of loss of large employers

·         Links to council and external strategies and plans, particularly to address infrastructure

·         Publication of the sites put forward for employment use (SHELAA)


Officers noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Neighbourhood Planning

The Housing White Paper contains a number of proposals in relation to Neighbourhood Planning. The Cabinet Member wishes to hear Members views on the implications arising from this document.



Officers explained that the Housing White Paper proposed to amend the NPPF so that Local Planning Authorities would be expected to provide neighbourhood planning groups with a housing requirement figure. The HDPF requires that at least 1500 homes to be delivered through neighbourhood planning in the district, but gives no requirement per parish.


In the short-term, more detailed housing needs work is required to assess the need per parish but funding is available from Locality to undertake this work, where necessary. In the longer-term, Officers explained that it was likely that the Local Plan review would need to provide parishes with housing targets to be met by their neighbourhood plan. Detailed guidance was not yet available due to the White Paper consultation being underway.


The group discussed the


·         Challenge for the unparished area of Horsham

·         Meaning of combined local plans

·         Five year land supply

·         Emphasis of the White Paper on infrastructure


The Chairman of the group noted Members’ views.



Pilot trial of additional notification for Councillors


The Development Manager explained that the Member trial was underway. At the request of the members engaged in the trial, it was agreed that the trial be shortened to 1 month from the originally planned 2 months.


Town centre vision & public consultation timelines


The group heard that work was ongoing as planned on a twenty-year vision for Horsham town centre. An all-member seminar was planned in May and a public exhibition was scheduled for 19 and 20 May. Comments would be welcome until 12 June 2017. 


Housing White Paper - Fixing our broken housing market consultation timelines


Members were updated on the relevant considerations from the White Paper and were advised that the consultation would close on 2 May 2017.


Land north of Horsham


Officers explained that two all-member seminars were scheduled in April for which Members were urged to submit any questions in advance. Planning Committee North would then meet on 28 April.