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DEC 2021 – Consultation and Planning on the Church Road site

More information from Wilson Designer Homes concerning consultation and planning on the Church Road site.

Trustees have received a follow up, from Stuart Wilson of Wilson Designer Homes (WDH), which explains in more detail the consultation process for the development of the site in Church Road and how the village can make their views and contributions known to Planners and to WDH, starting right away.

Stuart Wilson says,

“The timeline we have prepared is indicative and is intended to provide a summary/guide of the pre-application process that we have embarked upon. I hope this explanation will allay any concerns in respect of our intentions for village participation. 

It is important to understand that we view the entire pre-application phase as an opportunity for engagement, we therefore do not see this as a series of rigid events but rather a dynamic process that people can actively engage in, should they wish to do so. This is because the South Downs National Park Authority make their pre-application enquiries public, which is extremely uncommon amongst Local Planning Authorities. The reason they do this is to ensure a high degree of transparency and to encourage public engagement throughout. 

Where typically a developer would submit a fully worked up scheme to the Council for detailed pre-application discussions in private, we have deliberately commenced pre-application discussions with a comprehensive evidence base and no detailed proposals at this time. This is publicly visible on the South Downs website and available for people to view at their leisure and either provide comments directly to the Park or to me and my consultants. The timeline includes a series of iterative stages, each flowing into the next and each round providing further opportunities for comment. The proposal will come into focus as we progress through this.

It is for this reason that the timeline only includes a single exhibition style event prior to submission.  However, I will always be willing to have one to one conversations with individuals in direct proximity of the proposed development as I feel this is only reasonable. The exhibition style event is intended to provide an opportunity for the village and community at large to come and view the proposals that have emerged through this public pre-application process. For those who have been following and actively engaging in the evolution of the proposals through the public pre-application process the resulting scheme should be familiar.  The exhibition event is therefore intended primarily to capture any interests who have not already expressed a view through the earlier stages of the process.

I thought it helpful to set this out clearly as many people may not have come across the approach before or be overly familiar with the transparency of the SDNP pre-application procedure. We will make sure to keep Steep Parish Council, the village and community and other key stakeholders informed throughout each iterative stage of this enquiry and will do so through regular updates in the Steep Newsletter and on our website and Steep In Need’s website so that they reach as many households as possible. I hope the Parish Council will support this engagement.  

Although it may not be possible for us to reflect everyone’s view in our proposal, nor will we be able to respond to everyone’s individual architectural preferences and tastes, we hope that by encouraging the village to get involved throughout the pre-application stage, people will understand more clearly why certain decisions have been made. This is the very reason for starting with the evidence base only, and presenting no detailed proposals at this stage.

To be clear about it, I am hoping to receive and will welcome comments from interested local people either directly or, better still, via the SDNP planning portal so that the community have a voice alongside the policy requirements of SDNP. “

We understand that the SDNPA have not yet activated the public comment App. on the Portal for the WDH application but that it will be up and running in the New Year.  Please join in with your views which will be welcome.

Anthony Littlejohn, Chair Steep In Need