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A quick guide to the Lewes District Local Plan

A Local Plan sets out all of the planning policies and proposals for that area.

It includes what kind of development can go where to ensure the right number and types of homes, space for businesses and the infrastructure needed to support the growing population such as roads, schools and health services.

Latest update: we are now consulting over the Lewes District Local Plan Issues and Options - have your say via Consultation Portal - Lewes District Local Plan - Issues and Options.

What is a Local Plan?

A Local Plan sets out all of the planning policies and proposals for that area. It includes what kind of development can go where to ensure the right number and types of homes, space for businesses and the infrastructure needed to support the growing population such as roads, schools and health services 

It is also used to provide open spaces, cultural facilities and protect the district's landscapes, wildlife and historic assets. Critically, the plan will seek to ensure development in the district can adapt to and prevent climate change.

The new Local Plan

We are following the government's process for developing a new Local Plan for Lewes district.

The plan will cover everywhere in the district outside of the boundaries of the South Downs National Park which has its own Local Plan.

In recent years the Government has changed national planning policies and how it calculates the numbers of homes each area should aim to provide. As a result our new plan needs to reflect these changes and re-evaluate the number of homes that the area should provide over the next 20 years. 

Our aim is to, in consultation with local people, businesses and other organisations, develop a Local Plan for the district (outside of the National Park) which takes into account the Government's aim to increase housebuilding whilst maintaining the environment, character and heritage of the district.  

Having your say

Our Local Plan will be developed in stages and there will be opportunities to share your thoughts, ideas and feedback at each stage, in-line with our Statement of Community Involvement.

We will be asking for comments via our website but there will be opportunities for people without access to the internet to read and feedback on the plan as it is developed.

Your comments and information that you provide will help us to further develop the strategy, site allocations and policies.

Stages of development

1. Call for sites

The first stage of creating a local plan is to ask developers and land owners to put forward any land which they would like to be included in the plan. By no means will everything put forward end up in the final plan, but it provides a starting point by getting everything out on the table.

2. Issues and Options

The next step is to invite comments on the issues that the local plan needs to address and the different options for how the area could change in the future..

We will be inviting everyone in the community to share their views on this report and will use what people tell us to inform the next stage.

3Consultation on the draft Local Plan

Once we have had a chance to review comments made at stage two we will write a draft Local Plan and share this again for comments though a public consultation. It's important to emphasise that nothing is set in stone yet and all comments and ideas will be welcome.

4. Proposed Submission Local Plan

We will review all of the comments made about the draft plan and take these into account in updating it. We will seek to balance the demands being placed upon us by Government with the views and needs of the local community. This version of the local plan will be submitted to the Government for examination. 

5. Government approval

Before it can be formally adopted, a government planning inspector will consider the local plan. It's essential that the inspector can see how rigorous we have been in the evidence gathering and analysis. It is only by demonstrating this that the inspector will agree with the sites included in the Local Plan and our reasoning for excluding others from it.

How to get involved

We will be widely publicising each stage of consultation but if you'd like to ensure you receive information as soon as it becomes available we would encourage you to join our Local Plan mailing list at Keep Me Posted.

We will be publishing all information about the development of the plan on the planning policy area of our website Planning policy

You can also contact us at any time to ask for paper copies of the information.

If you run a community venue and would like to make copies of the consultation papers available please contact us and we will be very happy to post them to you. Just email with your details.

What happens if we don't have a Local Plan?

 If we don't have a local plan in place by the government deadline of 2023 government could step-in and take over our local plan making process  This could result in potentially more development than is current planned.

Having an up-to-date plan in place also means that we keep control over where development should be located rather than it being delivered in an ad hoc way as a result of speculative development, sometimes without sufficient benefit to local communities.

Neighbourhood Plans

Some communities have already made, or are making, Neighbourhood Plans. These are smaller versions of the Local Plan and are developed locally, with input the relevant town or parish council. 

As we develop our local plan we will be really clear with anyone who has a Neighbourhood Plan about what they might need to update in their plan.

Frequently asked questions and briefing

The document below gives answers to some of the questions we have been asked most often about the Lewes District Local Plan. It includes information on changes the Government have made recently and why we need to update our Local Plan. 

We will also publish any stakeholder briefings below.

Local Plan Briefing Note February 2021 (PDF) [108KB]
Lewes District Local Plan FAQs (PDF) [81KB]