Neighbourhood Plan: The highly unusual Ditchling, Streat and Westmeston Neighbourhood Plan is out for public consultation from 16 March to 26 April. This plan is unique, bringing together three neighbouring parishes who have worked together to draw up one plan for the whole area.

Public participation has been key, with consultation including a household questionnaire, open days and regular door-to-door publicity using an innovative system of street representatives for two-way communication between the project group and residents.

The plan includes policies on housing sites and design, traffic, leisure, the environment and business. It will be used to help decide planning decisions in all three parishes and make sure this special area develops and is protected as residents want.

This six-week consultation period is for residents to make their views on the proposals known before the plan is independently examined and put to a referendum.

‘We have a vision drawn up that protects the unique character of the plan area, based on three narrow ancient Saxon strip parishes’, says project group chair Tom Dufty. ‘We want to protect the high quality historic and natural environment alongside appropriate high quality sustainable and diverse new development’.

Residents have expressed a strong desire for any new houses to be small and more affordable to local people and the plan reflects this. It allows for a minimum of 15 new homes in Ditchling, most of which will be subject to a local lettings policy in perpetuity that ensures their availability for people with a housing need and a connection with the parishes.

All the plan information can be found at www.beaconvillagesplan.co.uk

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