Design Statements provide a detailed description of the existing character of a town, parish or village and set out guidelines on how to encourage new development that enhances and complements what already exists. They are created and written by the local community with advice and input from the relevant planning authority, who oversees the process and eventual adoption of the statements as Supplementary Planning Documents.
The intention of Village and Parish Design Statements is to ensure that new development fits its surroundings and is in keeping with local character.
Local communities have a unique appreciation and understanding of their own place and a Town, Parish or Village Design Statement is based on this knowledge. The statements are produced by the local community, not by Horsham District Council.
They describe the qualities and characteristics that people value and include guidance on how development should be carried out, so that it is in harmony with its setting and contributes to the conservation and enhancement of the town, parish or village. Their purpose is to manage change, whether that change is major new development or just cumulative small-scale additions and alterations. It is therefore not only a useful document for prospective developers, but it is also an important document for current land and property owners looking to make their own alterations to their holdings.
Before the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 the Council adopted Design Statements as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) alongside the Local Plan. However since the Act, and the adoption of new Development Plan Documents within the Local Development Framework, the Council will now adopt Design Statements as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD) that require a greater and wider level of public consultation and also require a supporting Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment.
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment
To ensure that LDFs contribute to sustainable development, it is a requirement that a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) to be undertaken for each document produced as part of an LDF. In addition, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is also necessary in accordance with European legislation. These two processes are very similar and they have therefore been combined.
Although each Design Statement is different, prepared by a unique community, their purpose is the same. Therefore the SA/SEA Report for Village, Parish and Town Design Statements (Dec 2008) has been adopted by the Council to cover all of the statements being prepared and those already adopted as Supplementary Planning Documents.