The Planning Inspectorate has dismissed both appeals against Horsham District Council’s refusals to grant planning permission for houses on land to the north of the A281 at Monks Gate.
The main reason for dismissing both appeals is that the site is not allocated in the Nuthurst Parish Neighbourhood Plan.
Many thanks to everyone who wrote in to the Planning Inspectorate and contributed to the dismissal of these appeals.
This fantastic news demonstrates how VITAL our Neighbourhood Plan is for protecting our Parish against unwanted speculative development.
You can read the Planning Inspector’s decision here: 3129950 – Appeal Decision
The land is a field alongside the A281, opposite the junction with Nuthurst Road.
The owner had put forward this site for the Parish’s Neighbourhood Plan. It was assessed as unsuitable on planning criteria and subsequently not included in the Plan.
Following this, the owner applied to Horsham District Council (HDC) for planning permission to build 14 houses on the site. Then the owner put in another planning application, this time for 4 houses. Local people registered a massive number of objections. Both applications were refused by HDC.
In response, two appeals were made by the owner to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. Both appeals were heard together at a Public Hearing on the 7 and 8 January 2016.
Monks Gate Residents’ Association, the Chair of Nuthurst Parish Council (Valerie Court), the Parish’s District Councillor (Toni Bradnum) and myself (Owen Hydes) spoke against the Appeal, as did officers of HDC. The owner put forward the development company, Camebridge Grove, to present her case.
Attendees at the Public Hearing then visited the site so that the Planning Inspector could further assess the arguments put forward by both sides. The Inspector’s Report has not yet been published by the Planning Inspectorate. This time-lapse between appeals and decisions is not unusual.
The Parish worked hard on its Neighbourhood Plan for over two years and very many people became involved. The Plan expresses parishioners’ wishes as to what development they want to see happen in the Parish. The Plan has full legal status having been approved by Horsham District Councillors in October 2015.
It is therefore crucial that this Appeal, which challenges the Parish’s Neighbourhood Plan, is dismissed and that this deters other landowners from taking the same action. The Planning Inspectorate’s decision is awaited and it will be placed on this site as soon as it is available.
Nuthurst Parish councillor and chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
16 Feb 2016
PS. The illegal action of felling trees on this site resulted in the Forestry Commission serving a restocking order. The owner has appealed against this, but this appeal has also yet to be determined.
Last Thursday was an historic day in the Parish of Nuthurst. It held a Referendum on its Neighbourhood Plan which had taken two years to prepare. Nearly half the electors in the Parish turned out to vote in the Referendum and 86.6% of them voted “yes” to the Plan.
This means that if Horsham District Council agrees to ratify it, the Parish’s Neighbourhood Plan will become a legal planning document. It will be used to determine planning applications for sites in the Parish for the next fifteen years.
Nuthurst’s Neighbourhood Plan seeks to preserve the largely rural nature of the Parish and provides for about 50 houses, grouped in small developments across the Parish. It particularly supports smaller houses to suit the pockets of first-time buyers and downsizers. What it has sought to avoid is large developments that would overwhelm the Parish and put unacceptable strains on the primary school, roads, sewage and other infrastructure.
Mrs Valerie Court, Chair of Nuthurst Parish Council, expressed her delight that the people of the Parish had so overwhelmingly supported the Neighbourhood Plan. She added that she “was proud that Nuthurst had been the first in Horsham District Council’s area to reach Referendum”. Owen Hydes, Chair of the Steering Committee, said that the Neighbourhood Plan had been “a hugely democratic exercise with lots of involvement by people in the Parish all along the way”. He continued that it was “good that the Parish had taken control of its own future, rather than leaving it to others”.
86.6% of those who voted said “Yes” for our Neighbourhood Plan
This is a fantastic result for local democracy.
Very many thanks to all parishioners who:
- served on the Steering Committee and the Focus Groups
- helped deliver leaflets to advertise Open Days and the referendum
- came to our Open Days
- filled in our survey forms, gave us your views
- and voted in the referendum
What happens next?
Our Neighbourhood Plan has to be submitted to a full Council meeting of Horsham District Council (provisionally on 21 October 2015) for a decision on whether Horsham District Council will adopt the Plan.
After this, our Neighbourhood Plan will be used by Horsham District Council to help determine planning applications in the Parish up to the year 2031.
Task nearly completed! Well done to everyone.
Our Introduction to the Independent Examiner’s Report….. some main points
- The Independent Examiner (IE) announced in his report of 18 June 2015 that Nuthurst Parish’s Neighbourhood Plan satisfied all the basic conditions in the legislation and that it could proceed to referendum.
- This is a huge achievement!! A lot of people in the Parish deserve great thanks for their involvement and work. They have enabled us to get to this point whereby we can start to protect our Parish from unwanted, speculative development.
- The IE’s decision means that you will all be asked to turn up at a polling station and cast your vote (for or against the Plan), just as you would in a local or national election. Unfortunately, we cannot tell you the date of the referendum yet. Horsham District Council (HDC) choose the date since they are responsible for organising and running the referendum. When we are given a date, we will publicise it widely. We want lots of you to keep involved and vote!
- If the majority of those voting in the referendum vote in support of the Plan and its development sites, HDC will use the Plan to determine future planning applications in the Parish.
- The IE’s report is long (37 pages) and painstakingly thorough. Although we had over 70% of parishioners in our consultation saying that they would vote for the Neighbourhood Plan, and lots of positive representations, the IE has only considered the negative representations of which there were actually very few. However, in order to be scrupulously fair to these parishioners, the IE has taken considerable time to go through each negative representation. Then he states his judgement. Inevitably this gives the report a negative tone. It is worth highlighting then one of the IE’s statements:
“It is inevitable that not everyone will be satisfied with the results but I am in little doubt that the submitted document (ie the Neighbourhood Plan) represents the aspirations of the community as a whole.”
- The IE makes “recommendations” for changes to the Neighbourhood Plan. As the IE says, it is standard for a Planning Authority to “have the last word” and so it is expected that parishes will accept an IE’s “recommendations”.
- Many of these recommendations involve changing some words in the Plan to make it clearer and this work has already started. Some “recommendations” for change are more significant, for example:
- Policy 11 on phasing the timing of developments will have to be removed because the IE says it is unacceptable.
- Policy 7, dealing with a development site behind Keatings in Nuthurst will have to be deleted. All the other sites remain in the Plan
- The text of Policy 2 on Swallowfield Nursery will need to be modified.
You can read a list of the main “recommendations” on page 1 of the IE’s report. He gives his full reasons in the body of the report.
- Just to summarise:
- There will be a formal referendum and we await a date from HDC. We aim for a high turn-out please.
- The Neighbourhood Plan will be modified to take into account the IE’s “recommendations”. These modifications will be checked by HDC before the referendum.
- If a majority of the residents vote for the Plan, it will be used alongside HDC’s Planning Framework to determine planning applications in the Parish.
Now click here to read the IE’s full report: Nuthurst Parish NP examiners report main body (final)