Planning Issues

The Steyning Society keeps an eye on Planning Applications for building developments that are submitted to Horsham District Council. We aim to influence any further developments of our lovely town.

Please see the latest Steyning and area planning news below

Horsham District Council’s Local Plan.

Introduction 

The Local Plan has been approved for publication by Horsham District Council.  Representations can be made by the public from 19th January until 5 p.m. on 1st March 2024. Copies of the plan are available on the Council’s website and in local libraries.  The Council’s website also explains how representations should be made.

The Pan covers the period 2023 to 2040 and aims to deliver the social, economic and environmental needs of the District. It contains a number of strategic policies and general planning policies which identify development locations to meet employment, housing, retail and other needs and sets the framework for the protection of the natural and built environment.  The South Downs National Park is excluded, its planning policies are set out in the South Downs National Park Local Plan.

The Plan has been prepared in accordance with National Planning Policy Guidance and takes account of the evidence base such as housing and employment needs, water supply, biodiversity, flooding and infrastructure.

Proposals for development

The Plan states that the key challenge for the District is how it can continue to protect its environmental quality alongside pressures for development and growth whilst maintaining a high quality of life for its residents.

The Development Hierarchy of the District is identified as Horsham Town as the main settlement surrounded by a network of smaller towns and villages and the rural countryside. Steyning and Bramber defined as part of this network “with a good range of services and facilities, strong community networks and local employment provision with reasonable rail and/or bus services.”

The Plan allows for development beyond existing settlement boundaries through site allocations and sets out a series of criteria to be applied –

  • appropriate to the scale and function of the settlement
  • meets local housing or employment needs
  • does not prejudice long term development
  • is contained within an existing defensible boundary and landscape and townscape character features are maintained and enhanced
  • it can demonstrate water neutrality

Policies

The Plan sets out a series of policies covering Climate Change and Water;  Conserving and Enhancing the Natural Environment;  Development Quality, Design and Heritage; Infrastructure, Transport and Healthy Communities and Economic Development.

Housing

The Chapter on Housing notes that all local planning authorities are required by Government to calculate a “local housing need” figure based on a standard methodology. For Horsham District this is assessed as 911 dwellings per annum or 15,487 in the 17 year period between 2023 and 2040.

The Plan identifies previously allocated strategic sites at Horsham, Kilnwood Vale and Southwater together with new strategic sites at Ifield, Southwater and Billingshurst to provide nearly 10,000 of this need. The additional needs will be met by allocating sites in the towns and villages such as Henfield (55 homes); Partridge Green (255 homes); Small Dole (40 homes) and Storrington (125 homes).

Steyning – Glebe Farm allocation

This site is subject to a planning application DC/21/2233 which is still unresolved and which is considered below. We submitted an objection at the time, as it was not allocated in the Local Plan. This is changed by the latest plan.

The housing allocation is for 265 homes at the Glebe Farm site

The Plan states that development at this site will be supported where proposals –

  • provide safe vehicular access from the A283 (Steyning by-pass)
  • maximise and enhance connectivity to Steyning Village centre through improvements to local pedestrian and cycle networks
  • are landscape-led informing site layout and capacity, safeguarding key views to and from the South Downs and protecting all other elements of landscape character.

The site assessment (appendix 7b) published with the plan notes that Steyning is classified as a larger village, with a good range of services and facilities including a primary school, GP surgery, leisure centre and a range of shops in the centre. It notes that the site could be accessed from the A283 with secondary active travel and emergency access from Kings Barn Lane. It is assessed as having moderate capacity for medium-scale housing development, being relatively contained with the topography undulating across the site. Any design would need to minimise the impact on the South Downs. It states that the site and surrounding land are not designated as important for nature conservation and there are no overriding ecological constraints preventing its allocation.

The Plan states that it is recognised that any development would need to ensure that there are no impacts on the local wildlife site located to the east and should be designed to deliver biodiversity enhancements. Due consideration of the setting of the Grade II listed Northfield Cottage will be required. Allocation would depend on addressing issues concerning improving environment quality, safe vehicular access, supporting biodiversity and improving pedestrian and cycle connectivity to the village centre. Any scheme should be landscape led with green infrastructure provision as a key component. The site layout should also incorporate views of the South Downs.

There is no mention of the Lithium Battery Storage Plant and its potential impact on the site and future development

Steyning Society’s comments on Glebe Farm

The Society has concerns about this allocation and considers that it should only be made and included in the Local Plan if the following conditions can be met –

  • It can be shown that there is sufficient capacity in the town’s school and medical facilities such they can cope with the impact of this development
  • There is no vehicular access to the site from Kings Barn Avenue, apart from emergencies and for cycles and pedestrians
  • The principal access is from the Steyning By-pass with a new roundabout
  • Landscaping conditions are imposed and biodiversity is enhanced
  • The setting of the listed building to the south is enhanced
  • Green infrastructure and views of the South Downs are incorporated
  • Flooding and drainage issues are resolved particularly the existing flooding problems associated with the Downs Link and Kings Barn Lane
  • Clarification that the Lithium Battery Storage Plant has no impact on the allocation

The Society recognises that Steyning will need to take its share of the District’s future housing needs but this must be proportionate and managed so that any impact on facilities, roads, drainage and landscape is appropriate.

There are existing brownfield sites at the former Steyning Grammar School, Brotherhood Hall, Church Street and Elm Grove Lane which do not seem to have been included in the assessment of development potential in the town.

We will submit these comments to the Inspector.

APPLICATION FOR PLANNING PERMISSION IN RESPECT OF GLEBE FARM

In October 2021, an application was made for planning permission to build 265 houses on Glebe Farm, with access from the Steyning by-pass.  The application remains undecided as at 31st January 2024. The planning issues arising from this application include

  • a new roundabout access onto the by- pass will require a speed limit to be enforced on the A283.
  • We do not consider an emergency access to Kings Barn Lane should be built until this A283 access is completed.
  • It is important that Steyning’s Social Housing needs are included, as this will not be possible on the SGS site. HDC has stated that there are 148 people on the Steyning Housing List waiting for affordable housing (80% of market price). As 80% is not affordable, HDC and Steyning PC should address this Social Housing issue urgently when dealing with Richborough Estates.
  • The scale and design of the proposed housing should be consulted on widely as part of the application process.

Please click on the objections made by the Steyning Society:  Glebe Farm Steyning Society comments

Proposed development in Elm Grove

The appeal against the Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the redevelopment  of the B & W Building in Elm Grove Lane was allowed in July 2021 but, as at 31st January 2024, no further application has been made in respect of the site.  The Society had previously objected to the proposal.

The decision  allowing the appeal can be found using the link https://iawpa.horsham.gov.uk/PublicAccess_LIVE/Document/ViewDocument?id=B1FB13BC70F94CEB967FC54A5D70EDB5.  You can read the full objection to the proposed development  here: Elm Grove DC200789 Steyning Society objection