Extra housing around Chichester has been agreed in principal by councillors.
Chichester District Council’s latest meeting of all councillors agreed that it would see if it could accommodate some 44 homes a year in the part of the South Downs National Park (SDNP) in its area.
The South Downs National Park Authority, which is shortly due to submit its plan for examination, has approached Chichester District Council to ask whether it can take some or all of its unmet housing needs within Chichester district.
Cllr Susan Taylor, cabinet member for planning services, said: “In order for Chichester District Council’s local plan review to be deemed sound by the examiner, the council will have to demonstrate that it has fulfilled its obligations under the duty to co-operate and agree its statement of common ground with its neighbouring authorities.
“Unlike our plan, which has to be development-led, the SDNP draft plan is landscape-led. The effect of which is that it does not meet its full housing need within the park area and under the duty to co-operate can request adjacent authorities to provide for its unmet need.”
The cabinet previously considered the report on the South Downs Pre-Submission Local Plan in November and it was anticipated that the unmet housing needs arising from the part of the national park within Chichester district were estimated to be 56 dwellings per annum. However, this is now estimated to be 81 dwellings per annum.
Although the supply of housing is greater that anticipated, it leaves a shortfall of approximately 44 dwellings per annum.
Cllr Eileen Lintill said: “As a member of one of the areas of the national park I absolutely concur with everything that Cllr Taylor has said.”
Leader of the council, Cllr Tony Dignum, said: “I think the two main points are that, we were never consulted on the extra 44 houses at the time. We are only now being asked to take them and the consultation has finished.
“Secondly, we are talking about only 44 dwellings per annum, which is something less than one per parish.
“I would just remind members that currently under the consultation of the government’s housing figures, that 75 per cent of our population supply 609 houses per year, the national park, which is 25 per cent of the district’s population, only take 81, which is a considerable diversity.
“I do not accept that all of the national park is a higher standard. It’s a great slab of area from Winchester to Eastbourne and surely some of it is suitable for housing. The important thing is to keep these villages alive, that’s part of being a national park. It means not allowing pubs, shops and schools to close. And to plan for no housing at all seems to me to be quite wrong.”