The Emerging Local Plan

The Emerging Local Plan only covers areas in East Hampshire outside of the South Downs National Park - less than half the district. This includes Alton and the surrounding area as well as Whitehill & Bordon and the southern parishes of Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle.

Communication with the government

East Hampshire District Council has been in communication with the government about its aim of putting an effective, up-to-date local plan in place to meet housing requirements, making the best use of land and creating well-designed and attractive communities. The Council's priority remains getting an up-to-date local plan in place.

Due to the presence of the South Downs National Park within East Hampshire, an alternative approach to the standard method is needed in regard to the assessment of housing needs. The nature of such an alternative approach is at the discretion of local authorities, but additional scrutiny will be applied at examination by the Planning Inspectorate. EHDC will seek professional advice from its consultants on this matter. Any alternative method would need to be deemed appropriate by a planning inspector, in the context of any representations received, at an examination in public.

The ministerial response reaffirms that the standard method is a starting point when planning for new homes. It gives little reassurance but instead reaffirms national planning policy and guidance as it currently stands. EHDC will continue to explore alternatives to the standard method - including the approach used in its interim Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (December 2018), which varies from the standard method in respect of deducting housing delivery in the South Downs National Park area.

The presumption in favour of sustainable development requires that unmet needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas would also need to be accommodated, subject to strong reasons for restricting the overall scale of development, as established by specific national policy. This matter will be considered through the evidence base for the Local Plan, including the sustainability appraisal and habitats regulation assessment, taking account of other evidence such as the land availability assessment, strategic flood risk assessment and landscape assessments.