After the public engagement that took place in November you could be forgiven if you thought that the Neighbourhood Plan activity had gone a little quiet. It has been quite the opposite in fact with a huge amount of work taking place in order for our Focus Groups to meet the deadline for their interim reports being in place to inform our State of the Parish Report that was essential to the attendees for the Planning Workshop that took place on the 30th of January.

These draft documents are available on the Henfield Hub and will be further updated by the results of the planning workshop between Steering and Focus Group members and statutory consultees. The workshop will start the process of bringing forward policies that set out requirements in advance of new development in the plan area and to inform and guide decisions on planning applications. Whilst we need to be in compliance with the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF) we need to ensure our policies are more locally specific to protect and enhance those parts of our community infrastructure that are the most important to local residents.

At the time of writing we have yet to finalise the housing numbers that came out of our Housing Needs Assessment and following a meeting with Horsham District council on the 19th of January we have written to them with the housing numbers we think should apply. Discussion on this matter is still ongoing.

Work is proceeding with the site assessment of the 32 potential developments that came forward after our call for sites, (one site came in very late) and a Biodiversity Report for the plan area which has been prepared by Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre at Woodsmill.

The next major public events will be our Site Assessment Open Days where we will present information on all of those sites that have not been screened out of the process so that you can have further input into the final site selection for inclusion in the plan. We will also provide evidence as to why we have ruled out some sites.

The Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA) work has been slightly delayed because of resource issues at HDC. They appointed a consultant to start work on the project in January and a Scoping Report is being prepared for consultation with statutory consultees.

Ray Osgood Chairman of the HNP Steering Group.