COLUMNIST: James Butcher on the Adur Local Plan

THIS evening an important part of Lancing’s future is decided, the local plan is due to come before Adur District Council.

The plan sets out the development framework for the next 15 years or so and includes where our housing need should be fulfilled. In Lancing, this is New Monks Farm, the land next to Mash Barn.

In its draft format, my colleagues and I on the parish council voted against the plan. We were successful in having the land above West Beach (Hasler) protected from any potential development and we still had unanswered questions. But now is crunch time, the plan is clearer and the stakes are high. I intend to vote for it.

Local plans are a legal requirement and without a sound local plan, local people lose control of planning applications because they protect land from development as well as identify suitable sites. That means that if the local plan is deemed not to have identified the land which can fulfil the housing need, then it will be thrown out.

After this, applications on any site in the district can be submitted and the council will not have a plan to stop them. Elsewhere, this has meant developers have pounced and banked lots of planning permission by appeal on sites that the local council would never have allowed under a local plan.

Importantly, a local plan does not give developers carte blanche to do what they wish. They still need to obtain planning permission each time, so if an application included development that could be proved to cause huge flooding, it would not get permission. There are many other issues of concern and not enough space to address them all here, please do read my speech to Adur Council on my website.