Press Release 26.10.16:
East Wittering and Bracklesham Neighbourhood Plan
It is with regret that East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council (EWBPC) announces its intention not to proceed with the Neighbourhood Plan for East Wittering and Bracklesham. The background to this decision is as follows:
The creation of neighbourhood plans (NP) started with the Government’s Localism Act which came into effect in April 2012. One of the Localism Act’s key components is the Neighbourhood Plan; which enables local people to shape the development of the community in which they live.
The process started in July 2013 when the Parish Council designated the plan area formed a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group which included representatives from the parish council and local volunteers. The aim of the plan would be to preserve the character of the villages and to find suitable sites for the 180 new houses which had been allocated to East Wittering and Bracklesham in the Local Plan.
The steering group had their first public meeting in August 2013 to collect public views on what residents would like to change about the area. Another public meeting was held in April 2014 and a household survey in August 2014 which provided the information needed to form the basis of the plan.
It was intended to publish the NP as a pre-submission draft plan in late 2015. This would provide an opportunity for the public and local organisations to comment on the plan. A Strategic Environmental Assessment needed to be carried out and a consultant was appointed to do this specialist work.
However, at the same time as the plan was being finalised, a planning appeal was being brought by Wates developments for 110 houses in Clappers Lane and another planning appeal was in progress regarding 23 retirement flats being built by Churchill. If these appeals were successful, then the housing numbers allocated to the parish would be fulfilled and the NP would no longer be able to recommend suitable sites.
In the event, the appeal for 110 houses was successful and the Churchill homes were permitted by the District Council. This meant that the total number of houses for the parish were then allocated, leaving the NP redundant. Therefore the options open to the Parish Council moving forward were:
a. Continue the NP without allocating any development sites
b. Stop completely
c. Cease work but get agreement with CDC that the background information be used for any future NP.
At its meeting on 8 September 2016 East Wittering & Bracklesham Parish Council decided to stop work on the NP completely. When and if new housing numbers are allocated to the parish when the Local Plan is reviewed, then it is hoped that the Parish Council can work together with Chichester District Council on a suitable strategy for the future of the parish.