Lewes District Council

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Lewes District Council
Southover House
Southover Road
East Sussex


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Planning Services

We publish details of our annual ambitions and how we performed undertaking them. We also show any policies or strategies on areas of our work.

Councillor Tom Jones

Foreword by Cabinet Member for Planning, Councillor Tom Jones

This is our plan for delivering planning services for Lewes District over the next three years.  It sets out our detailed plans for 2011/12 and a broad direction for the following two years up to 2014.

Planning services have a very high profile in Lewes District.  Our biggest task is to put in place a Local Development Framework (LDF) Core Strategy.  This will set out a planning strategy up to 2030 and involve some difficult decisions on how we accommodate the development that the area needs for housing, business growth and new local facilities.  We intend to consult on our emerging Strategy in autumn 2011.

New development proposals always provoke interest, and sometimes even controversy.  We are keen to make it easier for local people to have their say on planning applications.  We are continuing to upgrade our Public Access Online system, which allows people to see and comment on planning applications at home, over the internet.

The advent of the South Downs National Park means some major changes to planning services in our area.  We have been working closely with the National Park Authority (NPA), and with other councils along the South Downs, for a smooth transition.  The NPA is the all purpose planning authority for the designated area from April 2011.  However, they are delegating much of their work on planning applications, appeals, enforcement and tree work back to us, and we will be working in partnership with the NPA to complete the LDF Core Strategy.

The new Localism Bill, now passing through Parliament, will radically change the planning system.  We want to embrace the Localism agenda.  We have already started work on Neighbourhood Planning through a grant from Central Government to develop a plan for Ringmer and we will begin to involve others as the policies become clearer.  This will be a radical change in the planning process, making planning policies more local, with a referendum to agree implementation.

The Government has announced that national fee scales for planning applications will be replaced by locally set fees, tailored to cover the costs of providing the service.  We will be looking to introduce locally set fees at the earliest opportunity.

Our building control services compete for business with private sector firms.  We will be looking to maintain and improve our market position.  Alongside new planning policies in the LDF, Building Control will play an important role in promoting sustainable building construction, as we seek to tackle climate change.  Another vital area of work over the next three years will be development of new policies in the LDF to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and low carbon in new development.  During 2010/11, we have commissioned specialist consultants who have completed a detailed technical study to help us with this work.

Work on flood and coastal defence will also focus on the threats arising from climate change.  The Government has imposed new duties on local authorities through the Floods and Water Management Act 2010.  Managing and alleviating flood risk, and the risk from coastal erosion, will continue in close co-operation with Environment Agency, East Sussex County Council and other partners.  Work is under way to repair and restore the coast defences at Peacehaven, using grant aid from the Environment Agency.  The work will be completed in August 2011.

Developing and Improving Our Services

We are always looking to develop and improve our services, particularly in response to the feedback we get from our customers.  There are many factors driving change in our services:  some national and some local.  The planning and building control world never stands still: there are always changes to which we will have to respond and adapt.  The main drivers for change we can see at March 2011 are set out below:

Main Drivers for Change in our Services



Performance, Progress and Forward Plans

We review our progress and performance regularly. A summary of our progress and forward plans is provided here:

PDF Planning Service - Service Plan 2010-11 - Progress and Performance Report (0.72mb)

Department Policies & Strategies

We have a number of departmental strategies and policies for which we are responsible, or policy documents prepared by others, which guide various aspects of our work.  These include:-

PDF South East Plan (2009) – prepared by S E Regional Assembly and approved by the Secretary of State (0.04mb)

PDF Enforcement Strategy (draft) - March 2011 (mb)

PDF Street Naming & Numbering Policy (2009) (0.23mb)

PDF Sussex Ouse Flood Management Strategy (0.89mb)

PDF Policy Statement on Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (1.32mb)

PDF Coast Defence Strategy for Saltdean to Newhaven (0.10mb)

PDF Shoreline Management Plan (Beachy Head to Selsey Bill) - Part One (0.84mb)

PDF Shoreline Management Plan (Beachy Head to Selsey Bill) - Part Two (0.80mb)

PDF Gypsy and Traveller Strategy (0.13mb)