Planning forum for Shoreham Beach

Part of Shoreham Beach, seen from the air
Part of Shoreham Beach, seen from the air

RESIDENTS are urged to voice their views on a planning blueprint for Shoreham Beach.

Proposals to help secure the future of the peninsula will be rolled out at the inaugural meeting of a neighbourhood planning forum tomorrow.

The Shoreham Beach Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has organised the meeting, open to all residents and business in the area, at Shoreham Beach Primary School at 7pm.

It is the latest step in a legal process to establish a Neighbourhood Plan for Marine Ward, which will give people the chance to secure sympathetic development for the community and to have a major say in how it is run.

Dawn Clenton-Sparey said: “We already have the 21 members for the forum and this number is growing rapidly. For those who wish to be a part, we would love you to join us.

“We are actively encouraging people, young and older, and from all walks of life, to be a part of this in some capacity. We are extremely keen to hear the strengths and weakness and how residents see a Neighbourhood Plan shaping up.

“This is not simply around planning and development as it has the ability to guarantee for at least a decade that Shoreham Beach residents have an effective voice and a say in their local community.”

The proposals have the full support of Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association and Marine Ward’s two independent district councillors, Liza McKinney and Ben Stride.

Mr Stride said: “There has been growing concern in recent years about the unsympathetic development of the Beach and the so-called ‘two for one’ trend, which has allowed developers to knock down single properties and build two or more in their place.

“This has placed a huge weight on the already over-burdened infrastructure, particularly our roads, the school and drainage.

“As Shoreham Beach is flanked by water on three sides it is an ideal area for a neighbourhood plan, as we can clearly demonstrate its unique and special character.

“I hope the community will get behind us and support this initiative but if they don’t, we would also like to hear the contra-views as well.”

The steering group comprises members of the community and a cross-section of the association’s committee. It was established earlier in the year and has secured Government funding for the set-up costs.

Neighbourhood Plans can be detailed or general, depending on what local people want, and are finalised in conjunction with local planning authorities, who have a legal obligation to help.

Planning authorities and Government inspectors will have a legal duty to consider the plan, once it is implemented, when deciding applications.

If approved, the neighbourhood plan must not challenge the Local Plan and it needs to be supported by an evidence base, possibly comprising surveys, demographics, planning statistics and a characterisation study.

If the community decides to press ahead, a final decision will be made via a residents’ referendum. At least 50 per cent of supporting votes will be required and the whole process is likely to take at least one year from start to finish.

For more details about the legalities and powers of a neighbourhood plan, visit Government policies.