General Development Control Policies (2007)

1 Chapter 1: Introduction

The Local Development Framework

1.1 This document sets out the development control policies against which planning applications for the use of land and buildings will be assessed within Horsham District. This is one of the documents that make up the Local Development Framework for Horsham District and which governs the long-term spatial planning of our area.

1.2 Under the Government's new planning system, instead of producing a single document called a Local Plan the Council is required to prepare a number of Local Development Documents.  These documents set out different aspects of the Council's policies for meeting the community's economic, environmental and social needs where this has an impact on the use of land within the District.  The Local Development Framework (LDF) is a 'folder' of these documents.

1.3 The Core Strategy is the overarching document in the LDF.  It sets out the long-term vision and spatial objectives for the District and includes the strategic policies needed to deliver the vision.  It also indicates broad locations for delivering the housing and other strategic development requirements in accordance with the overall philosophy.  In addition to the Core Strategy, the Site Specific Allocations of Land document defines the built-up area boundaries for the more sustainable settlements in the District and allocates land for future development.  These documents are available to view at a number of locations and on the Council's website www.horsham.gov.uk/strategic_planning.

General Development Control Policies

1.4 The general development control policies have been prepared to reflect the vision and spatial objectives of the Core Strategy and are set out in the same topic order so that the links between the two documents can be clearly identified.

1.5 The policies do not, for the most part, include cross reference to other policies.  This is because all the policies are inter-dependent of one another and should be read together alongside the policies of the Core Strategy.  In addition the Site Specific Allocations of Land document should be referred to when proposals for development are being considered on, or adjacent to, allocated areas of land.

1.6 For proposals on sites where no specific policy applies, applications will be considered on their merits and against the spatial objectives set out in the Core Strategy.

1.7 For each topic area, this document includes the relevant spatial objective from the Core Strategy, various policies and a justification/explanation of the policy approach.  The explanatory text makes reference, where appropriate to other guidance, strategies and organisations that may provide further advice.  Such references are correct at the time of printing but are subject to change.  If you require further advice or clarification, please contact the Strategic and Community Planning Department.

1.8 In some cases there may be a need for further policy interpretation.  If considered necessary, this will be prepared separately, in consultation with interested parties.  Further advice on how you can be involved in the preparation of any of the documents that make up the Local Development Framework can be found in the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI).

The Proposals Map

1.9 The Proposals Map has been updated to reflect the content of this document alongside the other Development Plan Documents that have been prepared as part of the LDF.  The map shows the built-up area boundaries; town and village centre boundaries; shopping frontages; employment protection zones and other location specific policies.

Community Involvement

1.10 The Issues and Options Preliminary Consultation document was the culmination of the first stage in preparing the planning strategy and vision for Horsham District.  It was published in June 2004 and was itself prepared in the light of responses made on earlier District-wide consultation (October 2002) on key issues that related to the future planning of Horsham District and the outcome of a number of topic based focus groups.

1.11 The Issues and Options Preliminary Consultation document was published for a six week period of public consultation during Summer 2004.  A newsletter was delivered to every household in the District inviting residents to attend public exhibitions across the District and to comment on the content of the documents.  Statutory organisations, Parish/Neighbourhood Councils, amenity societies, landowners, developers and businesses were also among those consulted.  Over 800 responses were received which amounted to around 2,000 individual comments.  The comments received were used to inform the preparation of the Core Strategy, Sites Specific Allocations of Land and General Development Control Policies documents.

1.12 In February 2005 the Council prepared the 'Preferred Options' Core Strategy and Site Specific Allocations of Land documents for public debate.  The response to the consultation on the 'Preferred Options' documents was extensive and resulted in many detailed responses, which assisted in the preparation of the Preferred Options General Development Control policies.

1.13 Following the Issues and Options Preliminary Consultation and public participation on the Core Strategy and Site Specific Allocations of Land documents there were also ongoing discussions with a number of departments within the Council.  These discussions chiefly involved the Development Department, Housing and Leisure Services sections, who assisted in the formulation of policies.  In addition, key stakeholders and interested parties were consulted during Summer 2005 on initial draft development control policy approaches.  The majority of the consultees responded with detailed comments, which directly influenced the content of the Preferred Options document.

1.14 The Preferred Options General Development Control Policies document was agreed by the Council for public comment during a 6 week period starting in November 2005.  Over 300 representations were made, some of which were very detailed in nature.  They covered many issues and directly influenced the content of the ‘submission’ document.  A report containing the Council's response to the representations received was prepared and made available for information.  In addition further consultation took place on an informal basis with key stakeholders and Members of the Council which assisted us in revising the policy approaches taken.  In a limited number of cases this consultation process involved changes to policies, including new policies, where issues or approaches had evolved, including changes in Government guidance.

1.15 Having taken into account all the information gathered and the representations received, the Council decided how it intended to proceed and, therefore, the content of the 'Submission' General Development Control Policies Document, in accordance with the submitted Core Strategy. The 'submission' document was published on 1st September 2006 and was the subject of a 6 week period for representation in September/October 2006. The duly made representations received during this period, as well as those relating to the subsequent alternative policy boundaries consultation in November/December 2006, were considered by an Inspector as part of the independent Examination of the document, including during Examination Hearings held in September 2007. The Inspector produced a Report with recommendations which were binding on the Council. We have incorporated the changes required by the Inspector and have proceeded to the General Development Control Policies Document, along with the Proposals Map, as formal development plan documents which now form part of the Local Development Framework for the District.

Next Steps

1.16 The Council will review the Core Strategy by 2010, by which time the South East Plan will be published in its final version. To ensure that this document is consistent with these two Plans, the Council will undertake an early review of the General Development Control Policies as part of, or as soon as possible after the adoption of the Core Strategy Review, and this will be programmed into the Local Development Scheme.