THE first Local Plan to cover an entire National Park has been submitted to the Government.

The document for the South Downs incorporates more than 50 neighbourhood plans created by communities within and around the park.

It will set policy to determine the outcome of planning applications for years to come.

Margaret Paren, chairwoman of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “The South Downs Local Plan puts our nationally important landscapes first and will ensure they sit at the heart of every planning decision we make.

“Putting the landscape first means making sure we get the right growth in the right places.

“This will both protect our landscapes and allow our communities to flourish, providing better places to live and work for the 112,000 people who call the South Downs National Park home.”

The plan has been submitted alongside all the evidence used in its preparation, and the more than 2,500 comments which were received in the pre-submission consultation in 2017.

It was developed alongside communities and includes about 50 Neighbourhood Plans developed by South Downs towns and villages and provides development management policies and allocate land for development.

When adopted, its 96 policies will replace more than a thousand different policies from 12 local authorities currently in place.

Its authors hope it will provide a clear framework for planning in the National Park.

In addition to drawing together planning policy for the region, the plan also identifies two sites with strategic potential for important economic growth: the Shoreham Cement Works in Upper Beeding and the North Street Quarter and East Gate area in Lewes.

It says: “These sites represent one-off opportunities for development of exceptional quality.

“They have the potential to deliver multiple ecosystems services, which in turn promotes the National Park’s purpose and helps to achieve the vision set out in this plan.”

The next step will be the appointment of an inspector to examine the plan.

The inspector will then set questions to be answered by the South Downs National Park Authority and other interested parties.

All outstanding queries will be dealt with at public hearings, expected to be held at the South Downs Centre in Midhurst.

All updates on the Local Plan will be published online including times and dates for public hearings. For more information go to


The purpose of this policy is to reflect the three guiding principles of this Local Plan. The three principles are reflected in the policies that appear throughout the Local Plan. These are:

Firstly, the presumption in favour of sustainable development set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF);

Secondly, the statutory duty of the Authority to have regard to National Park purposes when determining planning application and;

Thirdly, the great weight to be attached, in the determination of planning applications, to conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park.