EHDC’s Local Plan consultation
Thanks for visiting PeCAN's blog on how to respond to the Local Plan consultation. Your voice counts so please tell the Council if you think the climate emergency should be a top priority for local planning. You will find here all you need to get started.
What’s the consultation about?
East Hampshire District Council's draft Local Plan sets out how the district should develop over the next 20 years, including where and how developers can build new homes.
Local Authorities have to update their Local Plans every five years and EHDC’s current Local Plan is now pretty old. The Council started working on a new plan in 2018 and then decided in May 2022 to restart the process after the government increased housing targets. This creates an opportunity to make the plan more climate friendly.
This consultation is the first of two so-called 'Reg 18' consultations that EHDC has planned. This one is high-level and asks about the overall priorities and approaches. The second one will focus more on the nitty-gritty and is scheduled for September 2023.
Which area is affected?
The Local Plan covers all the land in East Hampshire outside the South Downs National Park, i.e. around Alton, Whitehill & Bordon, and Horndean, which is where the bulk of new houses will have to be built. Land inside the South Downs National Park including Petersfield is covered by the SDNPA’s Local Plan, which will also be updated shortly in a separate process. However, both areas face the same issues around climate and nature.
How long does it take to respond?
Responding does involve some work. Speedy readers will probably need at least an hour to look through the documents before starting. However, there’s no need to answer every question or to write long responses. Many of the questions are in a 'yes / no' format or involve ranking options in order of preference, so in theory you could respond quite quickly. Or you could spend a lot longer on it, as you like.
Is it worth my time?
Definitely. The Local Plan will have a huge influence on where and how new houses are built. If we want zero carbon housing and nature-friendly developments, as residents we have to speak up now.
Who can respond?
Anyone, even people who live outside the district. EHDC says it is targeting residents, businesses, local organisations, other councils, among others. It is also targeting developers, so it is important that lots of residents speak up so that commercial interests do not dominate the feedback.
How do I respond?
Click here to visit EHDC's consultation page. There you can download and read the main consultation document, called 'Local plan issues and priorities regulation 18 part 1 (pdf 4.8 mb)'. As you read through it, you will find 30-odd questions sprinkled throughout the document. Some questions have extra background papers, such as on climate change or housing needs, if you want to read more in-depth (at the same link above). You don’t have to answer all the questions. You can send in your answers or, probably easier, submit them via an online questionnaire at the same link.
What does PeCAN think?
PeCAN volunteers have worked up a draft response which you can help us to improve. We aim to submit it in mid-January after getting more feedback from PeCAN supporters.
You can download our full response below. Here’s the gist of our main points:
Vision - the Local Plan should be based on a strong and inspiring vision that minimises greenhouse gas emissions and protects nature, among other things.
Overview – we would like responding to climate change and protecting the environment to be top priorities in planning policy.
Climate – new developments should aim to be zero carbon, which among other things means buildings are energy efficient to run, use electricity only from new renewable energy sources, and have no fossil fuel heating. Developers should also estimate and minimise the greenhouse gas emissions that are used in building materials and construction processes.
Housing need – now that the government has said that centrally-determined housing targets are flexible, the council should plan for enough houses to be built to meet demographic needs but no more, to avoid damaging the environment through over-development.
Housing types – new houses should be adaptable to help different age groups use them without extensive structural work. While the focus will be on housing for older people, the council should ensure there are enough affordable homes for families.
Environment – developments should protect mature trees and all habitats and species, not just the vulnerable ones.
Infrastructure – the proceeds of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL funds) should be available for renewable energy projects and projects that preserve and restore nature.
Development – new developments should prioritise brownfield sites. They should be designed and located to minimise transport and vehicle usage and promote local living and active travel.
General – planning should make it easier to retrofit heritage and listed buildings, to build renewable energy infrastructure, to ensure homes are resilient to extreme heat and weather, and to avoid the loss of established habitats and trees.
Please feel free to share your response to the consultation with us and let us know if you think we should add or change anything to PeCAN’s own response – thank you. Email us at [email protected].
Don’t forget the deadline! Midnight on Monday, 16 January 2023