Lewes District Council

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Lewes District Council
Southover House
Southover Road
East Sussex

Tel: 01273 484420


Fax: 01273 484452

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The Planning System

The purpose of the planning system is to maintain a consistent approach to development. This is done through a series of local and national policies.

Planning involves making decisions about the future of our cities, towns and countryside. This is vital to balance our desire to develop the areas where we live and work with ensuring the surrounding environment isn't negatively affected for everyone. It includes considering the sustainable needs of future communities.

The planning system regulates the development and use of land in the public interest. It seeks to balance the need for new homes, factories, schools and other facilities with our need to protect and improve the environment.

The system is not designed to protect the interests of one person or group over others. Within the framework of legislation approved by Parliament, people have a reasonable degree of freedom to alter their property.

Controls safeguard the character and amenity of local areas for the benefit of the public as a whole. Planning permission should normally be granted, unless it is contrary to the development plan or the proposal causes demonstrable harm to interests of acknowledged planning importance.

Local Plan

The Lewes District Local Plan was adopted in March 2003 and sets out the current planning strategy for the District. It is under review and will ultimately be replaced by the Local Development Framework.

The development plan sets out the rules for consideration of individual planning applications, what we plan to do with land in the district, details what types of development will and will not be permitted, and how we will control development.  This provides the basis for rational and consistent planning decisions and guides most of our day-to-day decisions. It also allocates land for various types of new development.  

Generally, applications for planning permission should be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Applications which do not accord with the plan should not be allowed unless material considerations justify granting a permission. This helps to:  

Further information on the Lewes District Local Plan

Building Regulations

Building Regulations approval is a separate matter from obtaining planning permission for your work. This applies to building work in England & Wales and set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or around those buildings.

They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings. 

Special Protection

Some areas have special protection against certain developments. Reasons for special protection include:

  • Protect attractive landscape e.g. national parks, conservation areas 
  • Protect interesting/endangered plants and/or wildlife
  • Control the spread of towns and villages into open countryside e.g. Green Belts
  • Protect monuments or buildings of historical or architectural interest

Occasionally, large proposals or controversial applications of national significance are 'called in' to be decided by the First Secretary of State instead of the Local Planning Authority. 

Planning Handbook & Glossary

The planning handbook describes the purpose of the planning system and the role of the main players in it, together with the main elements within the system. The handbook is only a basic introduction to give you an overview. The most recent version is available to download, along with a glossary to explain the terminology used.

PDF Planning Handbook 2011 (1.42mb)

PDF Planning Glossary 2011 (0.34mb)