City Plan looks to a more inclusive, carbon-friendly future

A blueprint that will guide new development in the city to 2030 to provide more genuinely affordable homes for local people, reduce carbon emissions and support economic recovery will be discussed at the city’s first ‘virtual’ council meeting on Thursday (23 April).

Councillors will vote on whether to move forward with the latest version of the City Plan Part 2 and open it up for a final round of public consultation before it is submitted to the government for an independent examination. 

Part two of the City Plan builds on City Plan Part One (adopted in 2016) which set out a strategic planning framework for the city to 2030 including targets for new housing and employment. It has been shaped by two previous rounds of consultation where residents, businesses, developers, landowners, neighbouring councils and other organisations put their views.

Local priorities

Councillor Nick Childs, lead member for planning policy, said: “The latest version of the City Plan Part 2 reflects local priorities such as the need for genuinely affordable homes, the need to provide a mix of quality homes to cater for different households in the city, ranging from smaller households to families, housing for older people and homes that are built to ambitious sustainability standards.

“It echoes our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, increase biodiversity, protect our open spaces and local facilities such as shops, pubs and community centres.”

City Plan Part 2 also takes into account the government target for new housing. The city plan must demonstrate how to positively address the city’s housing shortage in order to gain government approval and enable it to be ‘adopted’. This is important as an adopted local plan will carry much more weight in guiding planning decisions and allow us to apply local policies which have been shaped by our local communities.

For example, our new ‘special area’ planning policy for Benfield Valley will enable the council to successfully refuse developments in this area. Our policy allows for a modest development of 100 homes provided the remaining open spaces are improved for local residents and positively managed to improve biodiversity and create a haven for wildlife.

Identifying sites for new housing

88% of all new housing development being planned for up to 2030 will be on brownfield sites and, to help address our housing target, 16 sites have been allocated on the urban fringe on the edge of the city. 

The need to look at the urban fringe was firmly established by the government appointed national planning inspector in 2013 with the council told to plan much more positively to meet as much of the city’s full housing need as possible and ‘to leave no stone unturned’. 

Brighton & Hove’s 13,200 new homes minimum housing target for 2030 set out in Part One of the City Plan only meets 44% of the city’s fully assessed housing need (which was assessed as 30,000 in 2015).

If this much higher number of homes were to be built just on brownfield sites the city would have to lose nearly all of its city centre employment and existing open spaces. The national planning inspector for City Plan Part One accepted this would not be sustainable and endorsed 13,200 as the city’s minimum housing target. 

Getting an ‘adopted’ plan approved by government will keep control of planning decisions local and protect most (93%) of the urban fringe open spaces at the edge of the city.

City Plan Part 2 policies

Some of the policies in City Plan Part 2 include:

  • For new developments, improving housing quality, choice and mix including an emphasis on affordable housing
  • Additional new policy to address concerns about houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
  • Allowing a broader range of town centre uses in recognition of changes to high street retail
  • New policies that protect community facilities, pubs, markets and local shops
  • Ensuring new development is attractive and well designed  
  • Requiring sustainable drainage in new development to improve flood resilience
  • Stringent standards to meet our objective of carbon neutrality by 2030 and extending eco-friendly standards to all development
  • Seeking biodiversity improvements through new development

Read the reports for the council meeting (City Plan Part 2 is agenda item number 88). The meeting will be webcast.

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