A settlement hierarchy ranks and classifies settlements based on the availability and accessibility of a broad range of facilities.

Settlements that are in a higher tier of the hierarchy will often be more sustainable locations for new development, because residents would be able to access a greater range of services and facilities more easily, without the need to travel as far by car.

A review and update of the settlement hierarchy for areas outside of the South Downs National Park was carried out in 2018. This supported the Draft Local Plan consultation (2019). The review includes a background paper to explain the methods and its results.

A further review of the settlement hierarchy was carried out in accordance with a revised methodology in 2022.

The revised methodology recognises the council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019 and reflects an increased emphasis on ‘living locally’ to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Interactive mapping enables people to explore the facilities and services that were considered in the further review.