Published on Tuesday, 5th September 2017


Every area in England has to produce and maintain a local plan that outlines land use policies and which can be used as the basis for determining planning applications. Portsmouth’s current local plan was adopted in 2012 and is getting rather long in the tooth. In the intervening five years, national policy has been changed most notably to reduce local authorities’ abilities to stop building changing use and to boost greenfield development, while technology has permanently reduced the demand for office and retail space.


The rules outlining how to update a local plan are laid down by government and it’s a time consuming and drawn out process. Portsmouth is starting the refresh of its policies now, with a view to having the new plan adopted by the end of 2019.


At this stage, the council is consulting on its Issues and Options document, which is a high-level document about general principles. Most of the content is pretty vanilla, with the difficult question of specific sites not covered until a subsequent document next year. General growth points are identified though, including Tipner, the City Centre and St James. If you want to take part, please go here to read the plan and here for the consultation. The deadline is 28th September.


The most important question is that of housing numbers. The council is putting forward two options for the period between 2011 and 2034, 14560 (633 per annum) and 17020 (740 per annum) and I would be surprised if many people picked the latter. 


National policy on housing numbers is that districts have to meet their housing need in full unless either a neighbouring district voluntarily accepts the shortfall or there are so few suitable sites that the target cannot be achieved in its entirety. South Hampshire has long benefited from a cooperative arrangement between the area’s councils to share out the numbers in a realistic manner. This is in contrast to most of the rest of the country, where a huge bun fight is the norm. 


Tags: Planning