The Core Strategy (2007)

Chapter 1 Introduction

The Local Development Framework

1.1 This document is one of a series of 'Local Development Documents' which together will make up the Local Development Framework for Horsham District.  The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires the preparation of such documents in order collectively to deliver the spatial planning strategy for the future of the District.  The Local Development Framework will comprise a portfolio of local development documents, of which the Core Strategy is key and is normally the first development plan document to be produced.

1.2 In due course the Council will prepare other development plan documents that will be part of the statutory development plan, and supplementary planning documents which expand policies set out in a development plan document or provide additional detail.  The Local Development Framework also includes the Council's:

  • Statement of Community Involvement; (submitted to the Secretary of State in June 2005);
  • Local Development Scheme (the public statement of the Council's programme for the production of local development documents);
  • Annual Monitoring Report (which will assess the implementation of the Local Development Scheme and the extent to which policies in the Local Development Documents are being achieved - see Chapter 5 ‘Monitoring and Implementation Framework’). 

1.3 The Core Strategy sets out the key elements of the planning framework for the District, primarily over the period to the end of March 2018, but with a view to providing the basis for a longer term spatial strategy within which the economic, social and environmental needs of the District can be met.  In specifying the intended long term vision for the District and the strategic policies required to deliver that vision, the Core Strategy indicates broad locations for delivering the housing and other strategic development requirements in accordance with the overall philosophy.

1.4 The policies set out in the Core Strategy do not, for the most part, include cross-reference to other policies. This is because all the policies are inter-related to one another and the document should be read as a whole, including the vision, spatial objectives and spatial strategy.

Community Involvement

1.5 We have consulted extensively on issues relating to the future spatial planning of Horsham District and the potential vision and objectives for the area.  In June 2004 we published the 'Planning for Our Future: Issues and Options' preliminary consultation document and sought to involve the community and stakeholders in considering the issues raised.  That document aimed to move the debate on possible approaches forward from more general considerations to the examination of the potential means of delivering the objectives identified.  It set out the suggested ways forward both in terms of site specific proposals and broader policy approaches, on the basis of our evaluation up to that time of the appropriate options.

1.6 A total of over 800 separate responses were received in the consultation period which amounted to around 2,000 individual comments being recorded.  These comments, together with the earlier contributions to assessing the relevant issues, were carefully considered in moving to 'preferred options' for further consultation.  The Sustainability & Strategic Environmental Assessment Draft Final Report prepared by the Council also addressed the social, environmental and economic effects of the initial options considered and those proposed in the 'preferred options'. 

1.7 In February 2005, in the light of the feedback previously given, the Council prepared the 'Preferred Options' Core Strategy with the aim of giving as much guidance as possible on the proposed vision, objectives and strategic policies for the District, and in order to facilitate public debate on the proposals indicated.  It was made clear that the Council was not committed to the potential provisions set out in the document and that the consultation represented an opportunity for communities and stakeholders to respond to the suggested 'preferred' strategy or to bring forward alternatives.  It was indicated that we would wish to review the proposals in the light of the further response received and that we may draw different conclusions in the context of the circumstances then prevailing.

1.8 The response to the consultation on the ‘Preferred Options’ was extensive. A total of some 2,330 comments was received on the four documents published (not solely the Core Strategy), from over 1,350 individuals and organisations. These responses were analysed and considered carefully as part of the process for agreeing the content of the Submission Core Strategy.  A number of the issues raised resulted in further studies being undertaken and led to amendments or additions to the strategy.  A Statement of Compliance (Response to Representations) Report indicating the response to the objections or issues raised has been prepared, as reflected in the content of the Submission Core Strategy.

1.9 The Council agreed to submit the revised Core Strategy in September 2005. As part of this process, the decision was taken to cover the period to 31 March 2018 in the provisions of the Core Strategy, but with a view to the longer term time horizon in the evolving South East Plan. The Submission Core Strategy was sent to the Secretary of State for independent examination on 4 November 2005. Representations were invited within the specified six week period by 16 December 2005. All the representations received during this period were summarised and the summaries made available on the Council’s website.

Examination Stage and Adoption

1.10 The Submission Core Strategy has been subject to scrutiny by independent Inspectors, including at Hearing Sessions held in September 2006, in order to test its soundness and to consider the representations made on the basis of whether its approach and proposals were sound. The Inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State to conduct the examination produced a report with recommendations which are binding on the Council in January 2007. As a result, the Council has incorporated the changes required by the Inspectors and has adopted the Core Strategy as the formal development plan document, which is part of the Local Development Framework for the District.