Draft - Direction of Travel document consultation


The Direction of Travel document has been published by us to ask for your help in preparing a new Local Plan for the Arun District. This is an exciting opportunity for you to tell us what should be included in the Local Plan right at the start before the Plan has been put together. It will be an important plan because it will need to set out the council’s aspirations and community needs for the next 20 years at a time of significant change, including the serious challenges of tackling climate change.

The current Arun Local Plan was adopted by Arun District Council (the council) in July 2018 and covers the period from 2011 - 2031.

In September 2019, the council declared a Climate Change Emergency (similar to many other authorities at that time) to be supported by a strategy to make the authority carbon neutral by 2031 by addressing:

  1. House building, retrofitting and efficiency
  2. Transport
  3. Air pollution
  4. Community leadership
  5. Procurement

The council also wished to see the policies of the Local Plan significantly improved to deliver sustainable development across the district. Planning Policy Sub-Committee on 15 October 2019 outlined how Arun District Council can secure zero carbon developments through the planning system to improve the level of sustainability of all new developments. Proposed measures included providing:

  • guidance of renewable energy for individual homes
  • improved standards for insulation, heat recovery and water usage
  • guidance for renewable energy schemes
  • guidance on the planting of woodland
  • improved and more rigorous standards for the prevention of flooding

The need to contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development is a key tenet of the planning system and of Local Plans. The objective of sustainable development can be summarised as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In particular, there is a role for the Local Plan to address this by:

  • updating the Strategic Policies (Allocating significant scale developments with supporting infrastructure)
  • updating the Development Management Policies * (Development Management Policies regulate the look and design of developments, protect amenity, including energy efficiency/carbon reduction standards or protecting heritage and local wildlife)

We have already begun early work to shape the scope of the Local Plan update through agreeing appropriate long-term Vision and Objectives – taking forward the council’s aspirations up to 2053. This will provide the overall reference framework to shape the Local Plan.

The Local Plan Vision and Objectives (V&O) show what it is the council wants the district to look like in 20-30 years’ time. (See Chapter 3). The V&O have been carefully formulated to be informed by the United Nations Sustainability Goals and our corporate aspirations set out in our Council Vision 2022 – 2026 which include:

  • improving the well-being of Arun
  • delivering the right homes in the right places
  • supporting our environment to support us
  • fulfilling Arun’s economic potential

The above are supported strategic priorities (e.g. meeting housing and employment needs) and by linked council strategies (e.g. Carbon Reduction and Housing and Homelessness Strategies).

Through this document, the council now wishes to explore with you the context within which the new V&O are set and how they will be achieved through preparing an updated Local Plan. This requires the council and all stakeholders including residents, developers, infrastructure providers, local communities, and interest groups to explore together:

  • what the towns, villages and communities within Arun will be like by the end of the plan period
  • what needs to be put in place to deliver these aspirations
  • the challenges and opportunities faced by the district and how they might be addressed
  • the approach to delivering Arun’s needs, including where development should or should not go and evidence to support this

The Strategic Policies of the Local Plan will therefore reflect the V&O. As a minimum, strategic policies need to be effective for at least 15 years by the time the plan is ready for adoption. This means, to allow for plan preparation time, the proposed plan period is 2023 – 2041 (18 years to include preparation time of 3 years).


* It should be noted that signalled changes to the plan-making system arising from the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill propose National Development Management Policies that may replace local development management policies.

1. Introduction

What a local plan is

1.1 A Local Plan is a statutory planning document otherwise known as a Development Plan Document (or DPD) which sets out the local planning authority’s planning policies for meeting the area’s growth and development needs over the 20 year plan period. This includes policies for protecting heritage and the natural environment (e.g. listed buildings and important wildlife sites and landscapes) including provision of necessary infrastructure (e.g. roads, schools, public transport, walking and cycling) to support delivery of housing and economic growth within the authority’s area.

1.2 The current Local Plan illustrates these policies on a Key Diagram (Figure 1) and on a more detailed Ordnance Survey (OS) based Policies’ Map (Figure 2). The key diagram for the currently adopted Local Plan 2011 – 2031 illustrates the key development strategy, infrastructure priorities and protected landscape/gaps.

Figure 1 - Key diagram - Arun Local Plan 2011-2031

Map showing key housing and employment development locations within the district and strategic gaps








Alternative text: Map showing key housing and employment development locations within the district and strategic gaps. The orange colour areas on the map show Strategic Housing Sites, the purple colour shows Strategic Employment Sites, the red lines show Economic Growth Areas and the dark green show's gaps between settlements.

Figure 2 - Policies Map – Arun Local Plan 2011-2031

Policies Map – Arun Local Plan 2011-2031









Alternative text: Map showing built-up area boundaries and housing and employment development in the district and policies protecting strategic gaps, national and local wildlife sites and where road improvements are planned.

1.3 The policies map shows the development strategy in more detail including policies for the protection and conservation of the natural and built environment.

1.4  Therefore, the policies in the Local Plan will help the council to make decisions on large and small-scale planning applications including where they should go. It will also help to coordinate development with other infrastructure providers that will invest in the district to deliver large scale developments (known as strategic allocations) as well as supporting cumulative smaller scale development.

Policy Requirements Context

National and Regional

1.5 Local Plans must be produced in accordance with relevant planning legislation, national planning policies and guidance. Legislation states that Local Plans are central to the planning system. Planning applications must be determined in accordance with the Local Plan (and other development plan documents including Neighbourhood Plans) unless other material considerations indicate otherwise.

1.6 National planning policy and guidance, including the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance, must be taken into account when preparing a Local Plan.

1.7 As the plan progresses it will need to be subject to legal and soundness tests set by the Government and tested at examination.

1.8 Local Plans must positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area. Strategic policies in Local Plans must provide a strategy for the provision of housing, employment, retail, leisure, commercial development, infrastructure, community facilities; and the conservation and enhancement of the natural, built, and historic environment (including measures to address climate change mitigation and adaptation).

1.9 Neighbourhood Plans should support the delivery of strategic policies contained in Local Plans and should shape and direct development that is outside of these strategic policies.

 Why we want to hear from you

1.10 Arun has future needs arising from a growing population (driven by inward migration) which must be planned for sustainably, in the face of climate change. This means that the Local Plan may affect you either directly or indirectly now or in the future. Therefore, the council would like to hear what you think on these matters (see topics and questions in the next sections). At this early stage of plan making known as the Regulation 18 Issues & Options stage, the council can take your views into account in shaping the updated Local Plan before it progresses through its later statutory stages.

1.11 To do this, the council has produced this Direction of Travel Document explaining the context, process, and timetable, identifying topics with key facts and potential opportunities and challenges. This is to assist you in thinking about what matters to you on the future development and conservation of Arun, including implications for where you live, work and play.

 How to make comments

1.12 We are committed to engaging with our communities, businesses, stakeholders, and partner organisations in preparing a new Local Plan. This consultation document provides the first opportunity to be involved in the plan making process.

1.13 The document sets out several key themes that we think are important to address in our Local Plan. Only some of the chapters may be of interest to you. That is perfectly fine, and we have structured the document in a way that you can respond to on a theme basis which can be broadly grouped under the council’s draft Vision and Objectives (please see the relevant section). Under each theme / chapter we have asked a series of questions presented in coloured boxes. Some topics are not found on their own (e.g. Transport) but overlap and can be found in several themes.

1.14 Please let us know if you agree, disagree or if we have missed any issues, opportunities, or challenges that we can address through the Local Plan by responding to the questions set out in chapter 2 to 9. However, Chapter 10 includes some broader questions if you have other comments to make about what should be in the plan that do not fall under those chapter headings (for ease – these are included here below):

Conclusion questions (chapter 10) - what do you think?

  1. Are there any other issues or challenges that we have missed from this document?
  2. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
  3. Do you have any other comments in relation to what should be in the Arun Local Plan update?

1.15 A complete list of all the consultation questions can be found in Appendix 1 (Chapter 12 Appendices). You can respond to the Direction of Travel consultation by:

  1. Submitting your comments via our online consultation system. You will initially need to set up an account and password. You will then be able to log in to the consultation online and directly answer the questions set out in this document in writing.
  2. Alternatively, you may wish to email us at localplan@arun.gov.uk
  3. Or write to us at Planning Policy, Arun District Council, Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN17 5LF. Please ensure that you clearly identify which consultation question(s) you are answering. 

1.16 You are encouraged to use the Objective portal as this ensures that your comments are directly input by you and more easily collated and summarised. Please do not respond in writing via email or post unless it is absolutely essential.

1.17 This is the earliest stage of plan making (Regulation 18) which seeks to scope what the Local Plan update should contain through inviting comment on Issues & Options which have been set out in this Direction of Travel Document. Following the public consultation, a summary of the responses will be made available for inspection. These responses will be fully considered and taken account when preparing the draft Local Plan. The Local Plan will also undergo a public consultation before the final publication (Regulation 19) Local Plan is issued for legal and soundness consultation and submitted for examination. There will be opportunities for further engagement during the plan-making process.

2. The Arun context

2.1  Arun District is located on the South Coast, one of seven districts within West Sussex. The district is bordered by Chichester District Council to the west, Horsham District to the north, and Worthing Borough and Adur District to the east. The northern half of Arun District falls within the South Downs National Park (SDNP). The South Downs National Park Authority is the planning authority for areas of the district which fall within the SDNP. The Environment Act 1995 (as amended) and section 11 National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (as amended) includes the duty for relevant authorities to “seek to further the purposes” of the National Park. The change to the duty comes from s245 Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 and came into force on 26 December 2023.

2.2  The Arun Local Planning Authority (LPA) area covers 12,090 hectares (46 square miles). The northern part of the district is predominantly rural; the southern part falls within the West Sussex coastal plain. The River Arun divides the district approximately in half, between the urban areas of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton which hug the coast whereas historic Arundel is nestled adjacent to the River and the SDNP. The geology and topography of Arun reflect the scarp slope and spring line setting of the SDNP to the north which meets the impermeable clays on the coastal plain in the Lidsey, Barnham and Ford catchments. This gives rise to a significant high-water table and propensity for surface water flooding across much of the district as well as coastal flood events.

2.3  Arun is a coastal district with complex and sensitive landscapes located adjacent to the nationally designated SDNP. The district benefits from a distinctive and valued rural character and historic environment.

Our population

2.4 Arun’s population and households continue to grow largely driven by migration (predominantly internal or UK migration). The Census 2021 shows the population of Arun to be 164,800 people, the majority living in the three towns of Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, and Arundel. The Arun Housing Needs Review study study comments that demographically: 

  • the population of Arun has grown by just over 24,000 people since 2001 (approx.17%) and at times, higher than the south east and West Sussex, pointing to a stronger migration to Arun than previously envisaged;
  • much of this growth has occurred in the past 10 years.

Population Growth in Arun

Figure 3: Source ONS Mid-Year Estimates (Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 Iceni Projects Ltd).

Source ONS Mid-Year Estimates (Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 Iceni Projects Ltd).








Alternative text: graph showing the trend in population growth in Arun from 140,000 in 2001 to 165,000 in 2021. 

2.5 In addition, much of Arun’s more recent population growth (Census 2011 to 2021) has been within the older, likely nonworking population (28.5% of the population are 65 and over) compared to West Sussex (22.9%) and the South East region (19.5%). Similarly, Arun has fewer younger people of working age. Just over half of the population is under 50, less than both the region (60.6%) and county (56.6%).

Overall population change between 2011 and 2021

Figure 4: Source ONS Census, 2011 and 2021 (Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 Iceni Projects Ltd).

Overall population change between 2011 and 2021








Alternative text: graph showing overall population change by age between 2011 to 2021.

2.6  However, the main driver of population change in most years is net inward migration, mainly domestic and some international. Both types of migration have been positive since 2011/12, with more people moving into Arun than out. The data shows a varying level of negative natural change throughout the period (i.e. more deaths than births) with an increase in negativity since 2011/12 (i.e. from -458 in that year to -912 in 2019/20).

Components of Population Change 2011/12 to 2019/20

Figure 5: Source ONS (Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 Iceni Projects Ltd).

Bar graph showing components of population change






Alternative text: chart showing components of Arun's population change including natural increase, internal and international migration from 2011 to 2020. 

2.7 The Government’s methodology for calculating future population and household growth in the district (that must be planned for) is called the Standard Housing Methodology (SHM). This uses 2014-based Sub-National Household Projections to calculate the starting point for housing numbers which should be tested by the Local Plan making process (5). For Arun, the 2014 based forecasts indicate:

  • from a baseline of 76,000 Households in 2023 growth of an additional +8,950 households (rounded) over the next 10 years (2023 - 2033)
  • potentially +17,900 over 20 years (pro rata to 2043)
  • from a baseline of 164,000 Population in 2023 growth of an additional +14,100 population (rounded) over the next 10 years
  • potentially +28,200 over 20 years (pro rata to 2043)

MHCLG live Tables on Household Projections government website

 Economy and jobs

2.8  Monitoring of jobs and employment sectors in Arun is published in national data sources such as the National Online Manpower Information Service (NOMIS) Labour Market Profile for Arun which shows the overall economic structure and profile, with statistics pointing to strengths and weaknesses.

2.9  The data on Arun’s employment base (looking at employees in employment) suggests that Arun is more dependent on part-time opportunities which tend to command lower wages:

  • 47,000 employees in 2021; of which
  • 29,000 full-time (62%) compared to the South East (67.4%)
  • 18,000 part-time (48%) compared to the South East (32.7%)

2.10 The above is reflected in that the majority of employment (employees 000s) is dependent on the commercial and service economy which tends to offer more part-time work, lower wages and wealth creation (e.g. GDP) compared to manufacturing and construction:

  • commercial and Service (31,000) e.g. Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles (10,000); Human Health and Social Work Activities (7,000); Accommodation and Food Service Activities (6,000); Administrative and Support Service Activities (4,500); Education (3,500);
  • manufacturing and professional (9,000) e.g. Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (3,000); Manufacturing (3,000) Construction (3,000);
  • average hourly pay by place of residence in Arun is £13.64 compared to the south east £17.58;

Figure 6: Employment (employees) by sector

pie chart showing Arun employees by employment sectors including manufacturing, wholesale, health, administrative, education, construction, food and other

Alternative text: pie chart showing Arun employees by employment sectors including manufacturing, wholesale, health, administrative, education, construction, food and other

Results from the pie chart show:

  • Arun has a lower job density of 0.62 (the ratio of total jobs to population aged 16-64 – working age) compared to the south east at 0.85 suggesting lower economic activity in the workforce;
  • Arun has a higher percentage count of firms in the micro and small size band but lower percentage in medium and larger firms compared to the south east.

Transport and travel

2.11 Arun’s strategic road and transport network includes:-

  • A27 dual carriageway which bisects the district east-west connecting Arun with Chichester and Worthing and beyond
  • the A259 corridor also runs east-west connecting Bognor Regis with Chichester onto the A27 and Littlehampton to Worthing
  • congestion at railway crossings and restricted north-south access from the A259 to the A27 and beyond
  • rural settlements are served by a network of minor roads
  • the nearest motorway is the M23 Junction 11 near Crawley (25km to the northeast of Arun) and the M27 Junction 12 (25km to the west, near Portsmouth)
  • improvements to the trunk roads of the A27 and A29 are identified in order to tackle rail crossing bottlenecks and congestion issues at Arundel and Worthing
  • 6 Rail stations served by Southern Rail connecting Arun to Southampton and Portsmouth in the west to Greater Brighton in the east and on to London Victoria via Horsham and Gatwick Airport (Arun Valley Line)
  • bus route connections including the 700 Coastliner between Portsmouth, Chichester, Bognor and Littlehampton and the Star bus between Bognor and North Bersted
  • there are limited bus services to the rural settlements and, given the rural character of the district, it is not surprising that private vehicle ownership is high (Figure 7). Census 2021 data shows 55% of resident workers depend on a car or van to travel to work, with smaller numbers using public transport or active travel, while a quarter of Arun residents work from home (Figure 8)
  • a significant proportion of residents do not have access to a vehicle (17%), which is a significant issue in rural areas if buses are not available.

Figure 7: access to car/van in percentage (%)

Pie chart showing percentage of car or van availability in households in Arun










Alternative text: Pie chart showing Arun percentage of households with access to one or more vehicles (car/van) (percentages are explained in bullet points above)

Figure 8: travel methods in Arun shown in percentage (%)

Pie chart showing Arun travel to work methods including working from home, private car, public transport and walking and cycling.









Alternative text: Pie chart showing Arun travel to work methods including working from home, private car, public transport and walking and cycling (percentage breakdown is explained in bullet points above)

3. Vision and Objectives

3.1 In accordance with national policy, the council has set out its long-term aspirations to 2053 within its Vision & Objectives (see below). The Vision & Objectives (V&O) will provide the framework to shape the development strategy and policies of the plan. These will also be subject to sustainability appraisal to identify the positive and negative impact of policies individually and collectively. This will allow any adverse impacts to be mitigated or minimised, through further adjustments to the plan, where possible.

3.2 The V&O have been formulated and checked at a high level for consistency with the corporate vision and strategies of the council as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (See Appendix 2).

3.3 Based on our work to date, we have been able to identify what we currently consider to be the key issues, opportunities, and challenges that we will need to address when taking forward a strategy and policies for growth and change in an updated Local Plan. However, we want to hear your views on these and what you think our V&O for our district should be.


 Draft Arun Planning Vision

3.4 By 2053 Arun residents will share in a sustainable, higher quality of life for all. Achieved by living in quality designed places, safe from flooding and resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, all generations will live securely in the years to come. Local people will enjoy rich heritage, diverse culture, and leisure. They will achieve more sustainable, inclusive, healthier lives through access to a range of skilled and higher-paying jobs; modern learning opportunities, convenient, accessible healthcare, transport and secure local food and energy production, with proximity to open rural environments. Arun will have a greener, diverse, and regenerated economy focussed on centres and accessible and sustainable locations, as we progress towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions.


Economy & Infrastructure

3.5 Economy & Infrastructure objectives include:

  • regenerating high streets and the towns of Littlehampton and Bognor Regis, the historic attraction of Arundel and the rural economy
  • securing high-quality infrastructure including high-quality advanced digital
  • supporting local businesses including innovation, green enterprise and start-up sectors
  • welcoming inward investment and quality new employers
  • establishing a thriving visitor, culture and leisure sector with first-class visitor and hospitality destinations
  • retaining and diversifying local skills, by forging innovation and enterprise partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities, including new campus facilities;
  • focusing economic investment in locations where highly skilled networks can flourish

Place making and travel

3.6 Placemaking and travel objectives include:

  • reducing the need to travel and over reliance on cars, promoting sustainable forms of transport
  • ensuring neighbourhoods have the option to access all they need, easily with 20-minutes via walking, cycling and public transport
  • respecting distinct local characters, culture, diversity and heritage
  • ensuring people, especially those with an existing connection to Arun, can access quality housing that they can afford which meets their needs flexibly throughout their lifetime
  • ensuring that Arun’s heritage and the local identity of existing settlements are protected and conserved
  • insisting on high-quality design of buildings, streets and places particularly greening and tree planting, to enhance the character of Arun
  • securing development that is resilient to the adverse effects of climate change (such as extreme heating, and cooling) and is protected from flooding
  • requiring construction at the highest available energy efficiency standards and to be carbon neutral


3.7 Environment objectives include: 

  • protecting and conserving outstanding landscapes and the separate character and setting of villages, the coast, high quality farmland and areas of historic character
  • protecting increasing, enhancing, and conserving important natural habitats and species through securing biodiversity net gains within new development and, where not possible, in close proximity
  • delivering effective coastal change management to ensure that people and places are protected, and natural habitats are protected or conserved though working with nature
  • seeking opportunities to promote and allocate land for offsetting purposes; achieving combined flood alleviation, nature recovery and carbon sequestration (e.g. via native tree planting or wetland creation)
  • help to achieve higher water efficiency and quality standards, including water recycling and carbon emissions’ targets.

Vision and Objectives questions:

We have the following questions for you:

4. Do you broadly support the proposed Vision?
5. Do you agree with the proposed Objectives?
6. Are the V&O sufficiently SMART? (Specific Achievable, Measurable, Relevant and Timebound)
7. Will the V&O guide the Local Plan to deliver the desired local outcomes?
8. Is there anything critical that is missing? If you think there is, then please provide details of your suggestions.

3.8 Our Vision and Objectives cover 3 broad topics. In the following chapters of this document, consider the following themes under these broad topics (as listed below):

  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Life Support Network
  • Homes in the Right Places
  • Economy, Health & Wellbeing and Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure
  • Placemaking, Heritage and Culture
  • Infrastructure to Support Our Needs


This includes:

  • Economy and Infrastructure along with
    • Economy, Health and Wellbeing
    • Infrastructure to Support Our Needs
  • Placemaking and Travel
    • Homes in the Right Places
    • Placemaking, Heritage and Culture
  • Environment
    • Climate Change
    • Environmental Life Support Network

4. Climate Change

4.1 This section considers the issue of Climate Change. It should be read together with the next chapter (Our Environment Life Support System) as there are many overlaps between climate, human activity, and the environment.

4.2  Impacts of climate change have been, and continue to be well documented, such as increased temperatures and increasing frequency of more extreme weather. The planning system needs to play a role in trying to ensure that infrastructure, buildings, places and spaces do not add to emissions and the risk of climate change. They also need to be resilient and adapted to ensure that they are safe and can sustain communities, nature, farming, and livelihoods into the future.

4.3 Achieving Net Zero Carbon: Greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are the largest contributor to climate change. Reducing the emissions is viewed as the fastest way of helping to address this. In particular, the Government:

  • published the Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 target amendment) Order 2019 which is committed to a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared with 1990 levels (referred to as Net Zero Target)
  • the Paris Climate Agreement, set a commitment via the Nationally Determined Contribution, to cut emissions by 68% by 2030
  • in 2021 published the Net Zero Strategy (Build Back Greener) for decarbonising all sectors including targets for phasing out the sale of all petrol or diesel cars and shifting all electricity generation to clean sources
  • introduced the mandatory Future Homes Standard (FHS) which aims to secure lower carbon emissions from new homes
  • note: In September 2023, the Government announced amendments to the targets set out in the above Net Zero Strategy (sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles will be phased out in 2035 rather than 2030) and Future Homes Standard (by 2035 replacement of boilers will need to switch to heat pumps).

4.4 Climate Emergency - we declared a Climate Emergency in January 2020 (along with many other authorities) and went on to publish a Climate Action and Biodiversity Work Plan which details all the actions the council is involved with regarding tackling climate change. Looking at these actions may also help to inform what other actions the Local Plan update can do but also help everyone to find responsible ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the Local Plan will not be able to do everything.

4.5 The council aims to become carbon neutral in its scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2030. With Scope 1 emissions being generated from the burning of fuels for heating the council’s buildings, and the petrol/diesel to run the fleet. Scope 2 emissions being produced from the purchase of electricity used by the council. Scope 3 emissions are produced from the upstream and downstream activities of the council and include emitters such as procurement, business travel, employee commuting, investments, and leased assets. To achieve this the council has completed a full review of all its own emissions and set out a Carbon Neutral Strategy.

4.6  In addition, the council is specifically looking to significantly improve Local Plan policies that encourage housing, business, and transport providers to address carbon reduction through increased energy efficiency, renewable and decentralised energy, thus improving biodiversity and local resilience to the impacts of climate change e.g. extreme heat and cold, drought and severe rainfall/flooding events (including coastal).

Our key issues and challenges

4.7  Reducing demand for carbon-based energy: There is a need to reduce carbon emissions from development, transport and how we live, through increasing the energy efficiency performance of buildings and vehicles while providing zero carbon sources of energy and decentralised energy (e.g. wind, wave, solar and geothermal energy air sourced heat pumps, battery storage facilities and opportunities for heat recovery enabling district heating and community energy projects). In addition, it will be important to ensure more sustainable forms of transport (e.g. electric vehicles) while minimising the need for people to travel by car (e.g. through securing Active Travel routes connecting people with where they live and want to go through walking and cycling, benefitting health and wellbeing) as well as providing access to digital infrastructure (e.g. broadband).

4.8 Flooding and Sea Level Rise: New climate change projections and allowances for sea level rise and river flows and rainfall were released in 2019 and are now reflected in recent changes to the Flood and Coastal Change section of the Planning Policy Guidance. Developments in Arun will need to be designed and located to avoid areas of flood risk and help minimise flood risk elsewhere.

4.9 Ground and Surface Water: Many areas of Arun have a high-water table and are susceptible to surface water flooding. This makes development served by Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) essential, but also problematic, if the water has nowhere to go. Consideration may need to be given to larger scale and innovative solutions in appropriate locations e.g. using creative bunding and swales, tree planting and nature-based solutions to capture and store water and carbon (e.g. marsh and wetlands) while benefiting biodiversity.

4.10 Water Supply: Located within the South East of England, Arun district has long been affected by serious water stress (mainly eastern Arun). In recent years this has worsened (particularly in periods of drought) and applies to the whole district. Arun will need to ensure that development is water efficient and includes provision for capture and recycling of water.

4.11 Nitrate Neutrality and Water Neutrality: Arun will need to ensure that development does not impact on sensitive designated habitats. such as Pagham Harbour Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This is because excessive water abstraction and wastewater discharge which can lead to nitrates and other pollutants impacting on water-based habitats and species. This will partly come through design standards, but also other land-based offsetting initiatives signalled by the Government as well as other policy approaches Thames Water. (Charging arrangements for new connections services. February 2023.)

4.12 Wastewater and Bathing Quality: Arun’s bathing waters have been affected recently due to discharges from sewage outfalls at times of extreme rainfall and surface water penetration into the sewer network. Development in Arun will need to ensure that adequate separate surface and wastewater infrastructure is provided as well as helping to reduce the water footprint though recapture and recycling water (e.g. SUDS), including grey water recycling.

4.13 Resilience: Extreme temperatures and weather events can lead to flooding, drought, wildfires, crop failure and adverse impacts on newly planted and existing trees/woodland (Forestry Commission. Right tree, right place, right reason. July 2020.) and on wildlife. This can also impact on urban areas and buildings (e.g. freezing/flood damage or subsidence or wind and fire damage). This can include our streets and public places (e.g. extreme heat island effects). The extreme weather events can also impact on the economy, health and wellbeing and particularly vulnerable sections of the population (e.g. fuel poverty). Development in Arun will need to be located and designed to increase resilience to these extreme events.

What we are already doing

4.14 The Adopted Arun Local Plan currently sets out policies which:

  • seek to ensure that development is designed to be resilient to climate impacts e.g. Policy ECC SP1 Adapting to Climate Change
  • encourage energy efficiency and 10% renewable energy provision on major developments, solar panels (photovoltaics) domestic wind turbines, wave/hydro power (e.g. Policy ECC SP2 Energy and climate change mitigation);
  • encourage decentralised and renewable energy provision in new developments such as biomass, solar farms (e.g. Policy ECC DM1 Renewable energy);
  • encourage sustainable, efficient water use and supply (Policy W SP1);
  • promote reducing the need to travel and sustainable transport modal shift over to less polluting forms of transport, such as rail, bus, cycling or walking helping to reduce carbon dioxide and other noxious emissions (e.g. Policy T DM1 Sustainable Travel and Public Rights of Way);
  • seek to connect people safely, to places they want to get to and jobs and service that they want to use via active travel modes such as walking and cycling which can form part of regular exercise or keeping fit benefitting health and wellbeing;
    • address flooding, and the sequential test, site-specific flood risk assessment, adaptation etc. Policy DWM 2 Sea Level and SUDS (policy ECC SP1 Adapting to Climate Change).

Direction of Travel policy options

4.15 Given the above, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • keep and update climate change related policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • ensure that development is located where it contributes towards reducing climate emissions in line with Government net zero commitments, securing the most stringent energy efficiency and water standards applicable at the time of decision-making or aim to exceed these through setting local targets (subject to national Development Management policies);
  • seek policies to promote and secure opportunities for increasing the percentage of new development served by renewable and decentralised energy (e.g. significant opportunity to address climate change through the Littlehampton Economic Growth Area), including through the preparation of Local Area Energy Plans, and supported by evidence on what is needed and can realistically be achieved in Arun;
  • consider policies to secure opportunities for development to tap into new energy technologies including geothermal energy, air-source heat pumps, solar (e.g. solar farms or provision on commercial buildings including on canopies over car parking), wind, wave, tidal, pumped water storage, and scope for modular nuclear;
  • consider policies to improve recycling options;
  • consider policies to create more innovative solutions to managing, slowing, and storing water away from drains and sewers (e.g. through permeable surfaces, grey water recycling, green roof and rain gardens, water butts and leaky butts) and particularly, through multi-functional SUDS and nature-based solutions to mitigate development, carbon capture and promote biodiversity;
  • formulate policies to ensure monitoring and compliance of mitigation measures after development;
  • consider policies that improve resilience to extreme events (e.g. heat and cold), avoid development in areas at risk of flooding, deliver buildings resilient to flooding, protect existing trees and roots, achieve more tree planting (e.g. for shading community spaces) and for attenuating flooding, more permeable materials (e.g. green roofs) and water capture and grey water recycling, to reduce demand;
  • consider policies that facilitate technology and innovation and infrastructure to support decarbonising electricity, including its storage and distribution (e.g. electric vehicle charging capacity and infrastructure, including larger scale battery facilities or increased energy networks, pumped water storage facilities or larger scale alternate energy sources);
  • move development away from the coast (e.g. towards the A27 corridor) and consider designation of Coastal Change Management Areas (CCMA) to restrict or regulate development and protect communities from flooding;
  • identify nature-based solutions such as wetland flooding areas that help to reduce coastal erosion, while increasing biodiversity and carbon offsetting infrastructure (e.g. wetlands) including marine-based (e.g. The Sussex Kelp Recovery Project);
  • accommodate infrastructure proposals of the water companies and other infrastructure providers as the Local Plan progresses, e.g. water recycling at Ford and a potential desalination plant to be located in the tidal area of the River Arun;
  • ensure that adverse amenity and environmental impacts of renewable and decentralised energy are avoided or mitigated (e.g. noise, vibration fumes, light, and radio/telecoms interference etc).

Climate Change questions:

We have the following questions for you:

6. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
7. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
8. Do you disagree with any of the options?
9. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
10. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan to combat climate change?

5. Our Environmental Life Support Network

What we already know

5.1 Arun has a distinctive settlement pattern and varied rural landscape, reflecting both its coastal and downland setting (in particular the sensitive scarp slope setting of the SDNP and views to the coast). The coastline is dominated by two seaside towns (Bognor Regis and Littlehampton), whilst inland, the settlement pattern comprises a number of villages and smaller hamlets. The historic market town of Arundel, along with the wider Arundel Park woodland and wetland, on the edge of the SDNP, have been long-established features of the landscape. Collectively, these features offer a diverse environment for Arun communities as well as attracting visitors. Some key features of Arun’s environment include:

  • the River Arun, which runs through the whole district from north to south and is stated to be one of the fastest flowing rivers in England, if not in fact the fastest, and historically has helped to shape the district’s landscape quality;
  • the historic setting and landscape for Arundel and the adjacent Wetland Centre joining the River Arun;
  • the distinct roles and character of Littlehampton and Bognor Regis as the principal coastal towns;
  • delivery of the Arundel to Littlehampton Green Link connecting Arun to the coast and SDNP via the River Arun is a current aspiration of the Local Plan;
  • the remnants of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal, which reflected the historic main trade route;
  • attractive beaches including sand and shingle which include designated habitats;
  • open countryside having an inherent importance for openness and separation of settlements with distinctive character, allowing people to enjoy its intrinsic tranquillity, which increase health and wellbeing for those able to access it from urban areas;
  • Arun’s geology and soil quality means that the majority of agricultural land is of higher-grade, being classed Grade 1 or 2, and as such should be preserved supporting a key part of the rural economy, including supporting larger food and flower producers located in the district;
  • tourism, sport, and leisure with significant areas of golf courses and equestrian provision, including informal recreation;
  • Arun currently has 339 parks and open spaces that it maintains and manages;
  • there are a further 106 Local Green Spaces (LGS) that have been designated through the neighbourhood planning route;
  • the existing parish-level Green Infrastructure mapping (available at Arun District Council’s web site), shows at a parish level the coverage of the nature-related policies of the adopted Arun Local Plan and the made Neighbourhood Plans;
  • local level and nationally and internationally designated habitats and species, most importantly at Pagham Harbour Special Protection Area (SPA) and European Ramsar designation for visiting birds and to the north of the local planning authority area, the Arun Valley Special Area of Conservation (SAC) which broadly follows the River Arun within the South Downs;
  • many existing designated Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) within Arun (established via Sussex Nature Partnership and Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre), for the contribution they make at a county level, including potential new LWS (e.g. most recently the Ferring to Goring Gap site which partly falls within Arun and Worthing, designated in 2022);
  • there are in total nine wider landscape scale areas and six specific sites protected at a county level, as well as locally;
  • the Environment Act 2021 has made it mandatory for new major developments to achieve a minimum 10% net gain in biodiversity on site (off site contributions where on site is not feasible) to deliver a measurably improved position for nature than before development started. This principle is named as Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG);
  • part 6 of the Environment Act 2021 introduces Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) to cover and knit together, across the whole of England at a County level, focusing delivery priorities to designated high and intermediate value sites. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has recently been designated as the responsible body charged with delivering this for West Sussex.

Our key issues and challenges

5.2 There are competing, and often conflicting, requirements between accommodating new development such as housing and economic growth, while protecting and enhancing the natural environment, landscape, and biodiversity. In addition, protecting the characteristics of the district’s individual settlements with their countryside setting is important, through preventing coalescence. Some of the other key challenges and issues are: 

  • accommodating new development (including environmental and tourism- related) within communities within potentially sensitive rural landscapes, areas with heritage and character, including the setting of the coast, River Arun, and SDNP;
  • Mitigating impacts of any future A27 Arundel bypass scheme (currently delayed to 2025 – 2030 in National Highways’ Road Investment Strategy) which is expected to have a significant impact
  • the importance of the urban and rural fringe between settlements, and areas of the countryside and where development should and should not go;
  • protecting the best and most versatile agricultural land classes from inappropriate development;
  • delivering growth sustainably, so that there is no detrimental impact on habitats and species (e.g. Pagham Harbour SPA or adjacent designations such as the Arun Valley SAC) arising from accommodating increased population and households;
  • delivering off-site BNG contributions (where on-site provision is not feasible) through finding suitable land opportunities that secure local off- site BNG benefits;
  • ensuring new strategic infrastructure including roads (e.g. A27 and A259 and A29 improvements) and schools will be delivered sensitively while also protecting and enhancing the natural environment;
  • continuing to ensure that development contributes positively to the delivery of supporting infrastructure, mitigates its impacts, and secures environmental benefits, including rural green and blue infrastructure, leisure facilities and formal sport infrastructure, which benefits the health and wellbeing of Arun’s communities;
  • ensuring that green infrastructure is integrated within urban communities as well as in rural and urban fringe locations (Natural England has developed an Urban Greening Factor for England (Natural England. Introduction to the Green Infrastructure Framework. January 2023.), as one of a suite of five Headline Green Infrastructure Standards within the Green Infrastructure Framework – Principles and Standards for England. It aims to seek contributions towards green infrastructure and ecosystem services from developments);
  • to highlight the importance of corridor connectivity with adjoining areas e.g. as identified in the People and Nature Network (PANN), in particular Natural Capital Investment Areas number 8 Coastal Plain and number 9 Arun Blue-Green Corridor (e.g. the work in the Weald to Waves project) supported by SDNPA.

What we are already doing

5.3 The Adopted Arun Local Plan currently sets out policies that:

  • deliver new sustainable and places through Strategic Allocations (Policy H SP2 Strategic Allocations)
  • define the Bult-Up Area Boundaries where development should go (Policy SP SD2 Bult-Up Area Boundaries)
  • protect the countryside and define appropriate uses in the countryside (Policy C SP1 Countryside)
  • protect Strategic Gaps Between settlements (Policy SD SP 3 Gaps Between Settlements)
  • protection and enhancement of important Landscapes (Policy LAN DM1 Protection of Landscape Character)
  • protect the best soils (grade 1,2 and 3a) unless outweighed by the need for the development in the long term (Policy SO DM1 Protection of Soils)
  • deliver Green Infrastructure (Policy GI SP1 Green Infrastructure and Development)
  • require the delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain through development – although it does not express as 10% metric (Policy ENV DM5 Development and Biodiversity)
  • protect existing Biodiversity through designated sites and Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOA) - the existing BOAs capture the majority of species, priority habitats and designated sites of importance in the district

Direction of Travel policy options

5.4 Considering the above, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • keep and update environmental policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or, are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • formulating policies which ensure that development makes best use of existing previously developed land which is located in appropriate areas that will maximise the protection of the countryside, important landscapes (including heritage) and the separate identity of settlements, while conserving the best and most versatile soils, including protecting and enhancing habitats and species;
  • ensuring that policies protect and conserve the best and most versatile soils from pressures arising from renewable energy sectors such as solar farms;
  • looking at policies that promote and protect the horticultural sector and its potential to produce more local food and to increase food security including efficient use of land and resources though hydroponics, vertical growing and water storage (e.g. reservoirs) including water recycling technology;
  • to deliver above the minimum 10% BNG where feasible and viable;
  • through working with residents, community groups and landowners, seek policies to promote and secure areas of Arun for BNG and nature-based solutions. This can include blue and green infrastructure for biodiversity, supporting Nature Recovery Strategies opportunities for carbon offsetting and attenuating flooding and coastal erosion;•
  • consider policies that maximise the level of tree planting opportunities across the district as part of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (e.g. Community Forests) including nature-based solutions for carbon and water capture and climate resilience;
  • formulating policies that strengthen and add to corridors connecting adjacent areas, the BOAs and identify stepping stones and wildlife corridors which increase connectivity between the high and intermediate value habitats and species (e.g. a potential bat corridor to be created, linking to the designated site of Singleton to Cocking Tunnels.
  • additionally, consideration of scope for designation of any marine BOAs where appropriate (e.g. related to initiatives such as the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project);
  • explore the integration of the Urban Greening Factor into Arun District Council.

Our Environmental Life Support Network questions

We have the following questions for you:

11. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
12. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
13. Do you disagree with any of the options?
14. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
15. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan for our environment?

6. Homes in the Right Places

What we already know

6.1 The council has published the Arun Housing Need Review (2023) which uses the Government’s national methodology (i.e. the Standard Housing Methodology or SHM) for working out future local housing need for plan making. For Arun, the proposed update period (2023 - 2041) suggests the need to test a figure of 1,400 dwellings per annum (dpa).

6.2 This annualised local housing need figure is just a starting point and is not a housing target. A housing target will not be known and identified by the Local Plan Update until key evidence has been collected on Arun’s ability to accommodate housing and other development, supported by infrastructure that is deliverable and viable (i.e. without making development that must pay for the infrastructure unviable) and without adversely affecting the built and natural environment or being vulnerable to climate change impacts (e.g. flood risk).

6.3 The SHM figure of 1,400 dpa suggests that for the plan period 2022 - 2041 a net local housing need of circa 11,250 dwellings should be considered for testing as a starting point. This figure considers an uplift for affordable housing in line with the (Government’s SHM), slippage in housing development delivery and windfall (unforeseen development) and the stock of current commitments and allocations.

Our key issues and challenges

6.4 The current adopted Local Plan has a target of delivering 1,000 dwellings per annum over the period 2011 to 2031 in a stepped 5-year housing trajectory.

Figure 9: Phased Housing Requirement in Arun Local Plan- Source: Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 Iceni Projects Ltd.

Bar chart showing House Building Trends in Arun from 2001 - 2020/21








Alternative text: bar chart showing Arun Housing requirement stepped trajectory from 2011 to 2031 in 5 year periods, set out in the adopted Arun Local Plan 2018

6.5  Monitoring shows that housing completions are underperforming compared to required housing delivery rates (Figure 10):

  • completions over the pre-recession period of 2001-2009 averaged out at 491 homes per annum
  • over the 2009 - 2013 period, net completions of 533 homes per annum were recorded
  • over the period since 2013, net housing delivery has averaged 621 homes per annum (this included a high of 890 completions in 2015/16)
  • delivery was 652 dwellings (net) in 2021/22 but rose to 930 in 2022/23

Figure 10: House Building Trends in Arun - Source: Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 Iceni Projects Ltd

Bar chart showing house building tends in Arun from 2001-2020/21








Alternative text: bar chart showing house building trends in Arun 2001 to 2021 compared to what the Local Plan says should have been built on average indicating delivery is below the requirement pushing back the requirement to higher levels later into the plan period.

6.6 This underdelivery is not simply due to a lack of planning permissions or implementable consents ( see figure 11).

Figure 11: Total Commitments vs Completions in Arun - Source: Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 Iceni Projects Ltd.

Bar chart showing levels of commitments vs completions of houses in Arun







Alternative text: bar chart showing Arun net housing completions from 2011 to 2021 compared to planning permissions (commitments) which significantly exceed completions each year.

6.7 A significant number of dwellings with planning permissions remain unbuilt, currently at 6,711 dwellings (Figure 11). Because of this, the council has begun to investigate whether there is a market absorption rate, which is the maximum number of dwellings that will be delivered annually, regardless of the number of dwellings with planning permission.

6.8 The Housing Absorption Study 2022 considered that it is too early to conclude on an absorption rate when many of the strategic sites have held back delivery. The study recommended that the situation should be monitored over the next two years, as strategic developments are now mostly benefiting from planning permissions and are expected to come on stream and step-up housing delivery. For example, provisional completions data for 2023 in Arun show circa 900 dwellings.

6.9 The consequence of not meeting the Local Plan housing numbers impacts directly on Arun residents, particularly lower income and vulnerable groups, through for example:

  • homelessness
  • people sharing overcrowded accommodation
  • inability to form separate households due to the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage because of faster rising house prices compared to average wages in Arun District;
  • this may lead to increased journey times if people are unable to afford to live close to where they work.

6.10 Nevertheless, any increase in housing provision to 1,400 dpa using the SHM, compared to the current Local Plan (1,000 dpa), illustrates the significant step challenge that the Local Plan update must tackle with the development market. This will be necessary to prevent similar difficulties of under delivery and to set a realistic housing target that is deliverable. The Housing Absorption Study 2022 highlighted several factors that may also need to be addressed:

  • large scale Strategic Allocations which require long lead times to deliver enabling infrastructure;
  • the time it takes to progress outline planning applications through to detailed consent, starts and completions;
  • issues with the design and quality of strategic developments whereby placemaking is not joining up resulting in applications being refused permission with a consequent need for Masterplanning;
  • the escalating cost of strategic infrastructure including affordable housing, roads, schools, health provision, wastewater networks and sustainable drainage affecting the viability of development and its ability to mitigate negative impacts.
  • insufficient supply of small and medium sites (i.e. under 300 dwellings) in the planning pipeline which are considered would boost annual housing delivery rates having lower lead times and less strategic infrastructure requirements.

6.11 To help overcome barriers to delivery, the Housing Absorption Study 2022 delved deeper into the structural profile of Arun’s Housing Market:

  • Arun’s housing market is principally being sustained by demand from older, more wealthy homeowners moving into the district from other areas (particularly from Horsham, Worthing, and Chichester) where housing is substantially more expensive. This is reflected in Arun’s older age group profile (36% of residents aged over 60 compared to other areas);
  • recently, however, there is evidence of in migration from younger families and middle-aged groups drawn in by relatively lower house prices who are seeking to release equity or make lifestyle choices (e.g. trading up or seeking larger space).

Figure 12:  Age Profile of Domestic Migration in Arun - Source: Domestic Migration to Arun District (Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 - Iceni Projects Ltd)

Bar chart showing age profile of Domestic Migration in Arun







Alternative text: bar chart showing Arun age profile for domestic migration into the district which shows a high proportion of 20-29 years olds and a high proportion of 50-69 year olds moving into the district. 

  • at the same time, Arun’s economy is structurally weak (e.g. a greater level of lower paid/skilled jobs) so that younger resident households with relatively low earnings, are unable to compete
  • in 2021, residents’ median weekly gross earnings were 6% (£35 pw) lower than the West Sussex average and 13% (£84 pw) lower than the South East average
  • this has a notable impact on affordability in the district with lower quartile earnings and median affordability ratios (the ratio of earnings to house prices) is higher in Arun compared to the wider South East and in some instances West Sussex County
  • significant, affordability pressures in Arun means housing is more unaffordable in Arun (compared to the South East and much of West Sussex) due to substantially lower average earnings for residents and workers in the district
  • average house prices in Arun are £325,000 compared to £490,000 - £515,000 in London/Surrey and values are also lower compared to Chichester, Mid-Sussex, Adur, Worthing & Horsham
  • Anticipated growth in the population is expected to be driven principally by domestic migration from other areas (e.g. younger people and those approaching retirement see Figure 12). International migration is expected to remain relatively steady while natural change (i.e. the number of births to deaths) is expected to be negative (with more deaths than births) influenced by the age structure (Figure 13).

Figure 13 Components of Population change 2011/12-2019/20 in Arun - Source: Arun Housing Needs Review Study 2023 - Iceni Projects Ltd

Bar chart showing components of population change between 2011-2020








Alternative text: Bar chart showing Arun components of population change and overall population Growth 2011 to 2020 and a trend decline in natural increase offset by net internal and international migration.

What we are already doing

6.12  The Adopted Arun Local Plan currently sets out policies which:

  • set out a housing target and strategy with supporting housing trajectory over the year 2011 to 2031 including requirements for Strategic Allocations (Policy H SP1 The Housing Requirement);
  • specify the housing numbers, supporting infrastructure (transport, education health, services etc) and policy mitigation for each of the Strategic Allocations (Policy H SP2 Strategic Site Allocations);
  • set out the requirements of housing and placemaking within the Greater Bognor Regis Urban Area (Policy H SP2a), Greater Littlehampton Urban Area (Policy H SP2b) and Inland Arun (Policy H SP2c);
  • secure the appropriate housing mix (dwelling sizes and tenures) to meet the different needs of Arun’s population (including older population) and affordable housing (Policies H DM1 Housing Mix and AH SP2 Affordable Housing);
  • regulate rural housing and exception sites (Policy H SP3), Houses in Multiple Occupation (Policy H SP4), Independent Living and Care Homes (Policy H SP5).

Direction of Travel policy options

6.13 Taking into account the above, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • Kkeep and update housing and location policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • ensuring that the housing target and distribution is realistic, set at a level that achieves sustainable development and supported by infrastructure capacity that can be viably financed by new developments over the plan period;
  • consider whether where people live should be concentrated in existing towns and villages or dispersed in new settlements or options between these approaches at large or smaller scales;
  • setting out a specific housing distribution for each Parish and Town Council that matches their needs, supporting a vision and aspirations for each;
  • ensuring that housing is balanced with jobs and in the right locations that minimises the need for commuting;
  • ensuring the mix of new housing offers a range of sizes and is flexible and adaptable to meet the requirements of the population (such as older households, students, and people with a disability) including non-settled households (e.g. Gypsy & Traveller and those who wish to live on houseboats or mobile homes) or those people seeking to custom or self-build;
  • consider evidence for holiday and second homes’ impact on access to local housing and scope for a policy response;
  • delivering an ambitious affordable housing target including for rent, shared ownership and First Homes quota for the Local Plan Update that is deliverable and viable including through council and social housing, rural exception sites and community-led housing (e.g. community land trusts or initiatives through Neighbourhood Plan policies such as low-cost housing/affordable rent reflecting local incomes);
  • delivering sustainable 20-minute neighbourhoods and placemaking where housing is accessible via quality active travel networks and public transport to jobs and services and key tourism and coastal assets within a 20-minute travel time;
  • ensuring new developments set exemplary standards in contributing towards achieving zero carbon homes and integrate with opportunities for decentralised and renewable energy (including community energy projects), nature recovery and flood alleviation;
  • requiring housing to be flexible/adaptable to meet a range of needs including, home working and access to digital infrastructure, people wishing to live in mobile homes or in houseboats, and for seasonal accommodation including the needs of agricultural workers;
  • addressing housing delivery performance issues through a better balance of land supply to boost housing delivery rates through providing a diversity of smaller to medium sized sites (e.g. under 300 dwelling units), to encourage a diversity of providers, to enable delivery rates to be boosted (i.e. reducing lead times through the planning system or dependency on strategic infrastructure faced by Strategic sites);
  • considering policy options for increasing the choice of homes for different needs (e.g. retirement housing, build-to-rent, affordable ownership, self-and custom-build, council and social housing) to encourage the smaller specialist housing providers across Arun’s coastal towns and rural settlements to enable more of Arun’s population and households to access the local housing market
  • considering how to make housing allocations and placemaking policies more viable to enable better mitigation of impacts which must be funded by the development e.g. reducing costs and boosting values though renewable and decentralised energy supply and community heating;
  • ensuring that housing development is sustainable and is located in the right places, respects constraints (e.g. the character of communities), maximises the efficient use of land including recycling of brownfield land at appropriate densities and is accessible to transport nodes (e.g. to encourage modal shift and active travel);
  • requiring masterplans for all strategic development, prepared by all parties for the whole development that needs to coordinate and join up with existing communities and infrastructure.

Homes in the Right Places questions

We have the following questions for you:

16. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
17. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
18. Do you disagree with any of the options?
19. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
20. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan to deliver homes?

7. Economy, Health and Wellbeing, Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure


What we already know

7.1 Arun needs to boost the local economy including manufacturing and business, commercial services, tourism, and visitor accommodation, as well as the productive distribution, agricultural and horticultural sectors. In addition, there are significant opportunities to grow the green technology and innovation sectors, driven by market forces and responding to the need to achieve Net Zero carbon energy in production. The role of the Local Plan to assist these sectors, is through providing the right type, choice and location of workspace and land, in order to encourage investment by existing and new businesses. This can also help to enable inward investment and innovation (e.g. by looking at opportunities for linking businesses with skills and education establishments such as Chichester University Bognor Regis Campus Technology Park). Attracting and growing higher technology and green business sectors, may help to improve salaries and wages in Arun.

7.2  There is considerable economic potential for the district which exists within the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area. The LEP area includes part of the southern section of the M25, the Gatwick diamond, and the A23/M23 corridor which runs from London to Brighton. However, Arun is remote from these major employment hubs and is poorly connected to local employment spheres such as Portsmouth, Chichester, Worthing, Brighton, or Crawley. East-west transport connectivity is congested and capacity needs to improve to tap into these markets (e.g. A27 and A259 and Southern Rail). Ther is also a need for better north-south connectivity (e.g. A29 improvements) to connect with east-west links (e.g. A259) from the key settlements of Littlehampton and Bognor Regis. Some key features of Arun’s economy include:

  • Employment growth has been increasing within Arun by 1.3% which is higher than the country and wider region in the period 2015 - 2020 (Iceni Projects Limited on behalf of Arun District Council. Housing Market Absorption Study. December 2022);
  • However, in 2019 Gross Value Added (GVA) output was £2,381m which is just 4% of the total output of the Coast to Capital LEP area of £57,130m (GVA is a balanced measure that considers both income and production (Iceni Projects Limited on behalf of Arun District Council. Housing Market Absorption Study. December 2022));
  • The above reflects that growth of Arun’s economic wealth has been at a slower pace than the rest of the West Sussex, partly due to structural weaknesses, including an older population (The number of people aged 50 to 64 years rose by just over 4,500 (an increase of 15.2%). Office for National Statistics. How life has changed in Arun: Census 2021. January 2023.) supported by fewer younger workers, with jobs mainly in lower paid sectors (e.g. services, retail, healthcare and a relatively large agricultural sector, including horticulture);
  • The important contribution of leisure and tourism sectors in Arun’s economy, to employment and spending in the area, with 4m visitors producing £221m of direct spend and 4,360 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs (5,972 actual), attracted by key assets, such as Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, Arundel Castle and Arundel Wetlands Centre; the River Arun, including Littlehampton Marina and many beaches, Pagham Harbour, and inland countryside camping and caravan facilities;
  • Staying visitors contribute much more of this spend (£116m from 0.61m staying visitors) compared to £105m from 3.43m day visitors (business tourism represents only 5% of staying visitors);
  • These industries generally, employ a large number of workers however, the GVA per worker is relatively low compared to knowledge-intensive higher skilled industries such as, Research & Development, Financial Services or Professional, Scientific and Technical Sectors;
  • This is also evidenced by low median wages. In 2021 residents’ median weekly gross earnings were 6% (£35 pw) lower than the West Sussex average and 13% (£84 pw) lower than the south east average;
  • Arun’s job density is also low at 0.61%. This means that there are only 6 jobs for every 10 people of working age;
  • Only 23.9% of Arun’s workforce is qualified at National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) 4 and above, over a third lower than the Coast to Capital rate of 44.3%, while 6.1% of Arun’s working age population has no qualifications;
  • However, there are positive signs that can be fostered such as, a growing presence of light manufacturing and storage & distribution uses (e.g. there is a large existing employment base within the Ford Industrial Estate, for mainly storage and distribution and light manufacturing industries).

Figure 14: occupied floorspace by type - source: Arun Authority Monitoring Reports 2011 – 2021 and WSCC CILLA monitoring data 2011-2021

Occupied floorspace by type bar chart










Alternative text: bar chart showing Arun net floorspace completions (in square meters) since 2018 to 2022  by use class such as commercial, offices and general industry, storage and distribution - showing significant increases in storage and distribution floorspace.

7.3 Figure 14 shows the growing importance of B8 Storage & Distribution to the Arun economy, through completed and occupied floor space type (net sqm) over the last 5 years. The table also shows modest development of B2 General Industry, B1b Research & Development:

There have also been a number of business investments within the Enterprise Bognor Regis Strategic Employment Sites including completed and occupied Rolls Royce Storage & Distribution facility at Oldlands Farm, Bognor Regis, as well as mixed new service and retail with a Lidl Store and further businesses including Warburtons Distribution Depot at Salt Box, Bognor Regis;

Growth within the higher education sector such as the University of Chichester Bognor Regis Campus Technology Park expansion to provide incentive for more start up industries within the digital economy.*

*Creating our Future Arun Economic Development Strategy 2020 – 2025 Arun website page

What are our key issues and challenges 

7.4 The key issues and challenges are the following:

  • Growing and diversifying the economy, with an ageing population supported by a smaller young workforce, which relies on jobs within health care, hospitality, service, and retail characterised by part-time and lower wage levels;
  • Increasing job diversity and skills, through developing economic evidence and strategy to promote higher skilled, knowledge-intensive jobs, including green business, and technology related jobs (e.g. improving high speed connectivity via digital (West Sussex County Council. Digital Infrastructure Strategy.) and broadband technology and associated infrastructure), to increase economic productivity and reduce the carbon footprint of Arun’s economy;
  • Building on successes (e.g. Enterprise Bognor Regis), boosting private sector investment in more higher value industries to increase GVA output;
  • Boosting wages to overcome housing affordability issues / pressures in Arun, due to substantially lower earnings for full-time residents and workers in the district, compared to the south east and much of West Sussex;
  • Accommodating changing work practices, including flexible working and more home working since Covid-19 and consequent changes in demand for floorspace and uses (e.g. conversion of town centre retail, office and business premises to residential via permitted development);
  • A need to encourage growth of new high tech digital industries and attract investment from companies to make it a more competitive economy within Arun;
  • To promote investment in the rural economy, including diversification and rural business enterprise, the role of technology and innovation to improve accessibility, productivity, distribution infrastructure and access to key agricultural workers and adapting the rural economy to be resilient to changing climatic conditions;
  • Finding land and opportunities to accommodate the leisure and visitor economy accommodation for staying visitors, sensitively in appropriate locations including rural areas to boost employment, spend and wealth generation in the local economy (Visitor and Tourism Study in 2022) (Arun District Council. Tourism Hospitality & Visitor Economy Study. May 2022.);
  • Improve the accessibility and attractiveness of Arun’s economy to adjacent markets though improved transport infrastructure and connectivity to growth drivers;
  • Increased protection of employment land while changes to the Permitted Development rights and the Use Classes Order (September 2020) introducing a new Use Class E (Commercial, Business and Services industries), which facilitate commercial (particularly offices) to residential conversions in town centres and residential areas and losses of employment space.

Figure 15: net additional floorspace in Arun - source: Arun Authority Monitoring Reports 2011 – 2021 and WSCC CILLA Monitoring Data 2011-2021

Net additional floorspace in Arun - bar graph

Alternative text: The bar chart shows net additional employment floorspace trend increase from 2011 up to 2022 and subsequent reduction due to commercial floorspace being affected by high rents and lack of demand for office space.

7.5 Figure 15 above shows the net additional employment floorspace trend to have risen significantly, up to the Arun Local Plan 2018, and subsequent reduction due to commercial floorspace being affected by high rents and lack of demand for office space after Covid-19 working from home / changing office requirements.

What we are already doing

7.6 The Adopted Arun Local Plan currently sets out policies which are:

  • Promoting a sustainable economy within the district (Policy SD SP1 Strategic Approach);
  • Promoting strategic growth through allocating 75 hectares of high-quality employment land in order to provide sufficient flexibility to meet the future needs and aspirations for the district (Policy EMP SP1 Strategic Economic Growth);
  • Encouraging Economic Growth Areas and regeneration of the key employment centres at Littlehampton and Bognor Regis (Policy EMP SP2 Economic Growth Areas);
  • Identifying Strategic Employment Allocations (Policy EMP SP3 Strategic Employment Allocations), including to serve the Economic Growth Areas and housing developments, including provision for appropriate scale rural and visitor economy sectors;
  • Regulating economic development to improve and protect employment land, including setting out where it can go, in what form/scale and the circumstances in which it can change (Policy EMP DM1);
  • Encouraging sustainable leisure and tourism within the district (Policy TOU SP1 Sustainable Tourism and the Visitor Economy and Policy TOU DM1 Tourism Related Development).

7.7  Additionally, there is a Local Development Order (adopted 10 January 2024) for the Butlins site in Bognor Regis to enable small scale permitted development within the site. This will enable greater investment within the site and boost the local tourist economy.

Direction of Travel policy options:

7.8 Given the above, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • Keep and update economic policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • Prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • Identify how much additional employment space is needed and where within the district, to generate jobs to serve additional population and housing growth, and to minimise the need for commuting and the need to travel (e.g. to be identified though evidence including a Housing and Economic Needs Assessment);
  • Identify local skills gaps and develop policies and criteria to enable local skills plans for significant developments including the construction and build out of developments;
  • Ensure that housing employment policies are complementary to changing work practices (e.g. through enabling the adaptation and flexible use of residential space to assist with increased home working) and encourage integration with high-quality broadband though policies and guidance promoting open access networks for new housing and commercial allocations to ensure competition and cost effective provision for residents and businesses including in rural areas;
  • Policies to foster the rural economy agriculture sector including appropriate uses and scale of business uses in rural locations as well as the potential contribution of a multi-billion-pound horticultural sector and future investment and scope to accommodate seasonal workers in appropriate locations;
  • Policies to protect existing employment land against inappropriate losses arising from speculative development;
  • Setting out sustainable criteria-based policies and land allocations to encourage diversifying the rural economy to boost staying and business visitors through additional leisure & tourism accommodation and facilities, including large and small-scale niche tourism facilities, eco-pods, glamping, caravan parks etc.;
  • Introducing policies to ensure freight and logistics will be transported efficiently, sustainably and appropriately within the district (e.g. A259 and A27 east west connectivity and rail including north south access via A29 re-alignment through BEW SD5).
  • Ensuring new development delivers and is served by high quality digital infrastructure, and aligns with countywide proposals(15);
  • Encouraging developments on land in appropriate locations to facilitate local enterprise, business innovation and green business sectors, especially higher skilled, higher technology (that increase GVA productivity per worker) to boost wages and jobs;
  • Considering scope to encourage innovation and SME businesses to develop through providing land and space that would allow business to link to local education establishments through applied research and development (e.g. Rolls Royce Technology & Logistics Centre, the University of Chichester Bognor Regis campus and Technology Park including potentially, Chichester College) tapping in to the local skills base for home grown workers (e.g. potentially undertaking apprenticeships and improving skill sets within higher technology industries).

Health and wellbeing

What we already know

7.9  Health & wellbeing for individuals and communities can be impacted positively and negatively (e.g. physical and mental health) by the quality of the surrounding physical environment. For example, Public Health England have stated that ‘the linkages between health and the built and natural environment have long been established and the role of the environment in shaping the social, economic and environmental circumstances that determine health is increasingly recognised and understood’. (Public Health England 2017 Spatial Planning for Health an evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places gov website page) In particular:

  • Arun’s population is projected to grow over the next 10 to 20 years (see Chapter 2 Arun Context) with a significant proportion of the growth over the age of 60 supported by a smaller younger working-age population (including families with children) with differing needs for accommodation, services, leisure and health provision
  • homes designed, built and well located in relation to active travel and transport networks connecting people to greenspace, leisure, sport and services including health and care services, has a positive impact on people to maintain good health (including mental health) (Chang, C., Green, L. and Petrokofsky, C. 2022. Policy Press. Public Health Spatial Planning in Practice Using public health spatial planning to improve health and wellbeing website page)
  • as Arun has an aging population (Office for National Statistics (ONS). How life has changed in Arun: Census 2021 website page) the environment is even more important to reducing strain on health care services and it has been proven that active and engaged lifestyles help with mental as well as physical health (Arun Economic Development Strategy 2020 – 2025)
  • the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraphs 92 and 93 (gov website page) state that planning policies and decisions should aim to deliver healthy inclusive, and safe places and that the needs are met in terms of local health needs and wellbeing strategies
  • additionally Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) states that local planning authorities should ensure that health, wellbeing and health infrastructure are considered in local and neighbourhood plans and in planning decision making (DFLUHC and MHCLG gov website page)
  • Arun generally has good air quality and there are no Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) designated in the district – the nearest being on the A27 in Chichester and in Worthing however, new development and transport may lead to increased congestion and emissions and needs to be closely monitored (in particular, to ensure that NO2 levels remain below the required national objectives -  Arun District Council - Air Quality Annual Status Report 2022 )
  • being more physically active can benefit everyone and can lower the chances of developing health ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and other preventable conditions ( Arun Active Travel Study 2020 website page)
  • additionally, the NPPF (paragraph 102) states ‘access to a network of high-quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and physical activity is important for the health and well-being of communities’
  • there is national guidance on the importance of planning for a healthy food environment to reduce obesogenic environments and policies to reduce the concentrations of certain fast-food outlets within an area
  • Arun is part of the NHS West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is a General Practitioner (GP) led statutory NHS body, responsible for commissioning the majority of local health services for local people within the district (West Sussex County Council - Arun Wellbeing NHS and social care services website page)
Our key issues and challenges: 

7.10 The key issues and challenges we face are the following:

  • encouraging greater active travel options that are safe and accessible for all people within society
  • Providing joined up communities and masterplans facilitating a reduction in the need to travel and offering active travel alternatives for accessing services including for greenspace, leisure, sport or commuting purposes
  • Arun has the highest rate of out-commuting in the Coast to Capital area and is a net exporter of labour (Arun Economic Development Strategy 2020 – 2025). It is important to consider ways to reduce this through increasing jobs and skills locally, including access to jobs and services though sustainable transport so that people are empowered to lead sustainable healthy lives and make healthy choices
  • locating development away from areas affected by air pollution and land contamination and ensuring that development does not add to it
  • reducing health inequalities such as access to open space and local green space in most deprived areas including forms of formal and informal exercise (e.g. static open air gym facilities for adults and young people)
  • reducing reliance on car travel and providing safer walking or cycling routes or other transport means to increase active travel within the district
  • reducing the likelihood of obesogenic environments within Arun as over 67.7% of adults in Arun are reported as obese or overweight (2021/22). This compares to 63.8% for England as a whole (An Overview of Health and Wellbeing in Your Area gov website page)
  • improving social mobility for younger people with access to open space and leisure facilities within the built environment
What we are already doing

7.11 We are doing the following:

  • there is a large focus on health & wellbeing (West Sussex County Council. Creating Healthy and Sustainable Places. April 2021) through a joined up approach to placemaking as Strategic Site Allocations must be comprehensively planned through a masterplan endorsed by the council (Policy H SP2);
  • masterplans have been endorsed at West of Bersted (SD3), Barnham, Eastergate, Westergate (BEW) SD5, Ford (SD8), Climping (SD10) and Yapton (SD7) and are helping promote active travel by making sure housing development, open space and employment opportunities are within close proximity to reduce commuting distance and that walking and cycling routes help connect to existing Public Rights of Way (PROW) and link to railway stations and bus stops;
  • the Local Plan is promoting health & wellbeing and greater inclusivity within neighbourhood design to promote healthy communities and reduce health inequalities (Policy HWB SP1 Health & Wellbeing);
  • existing policies regulate development to protect communities from noise, light, air, and land pollution (QE DM1; QE DM2 QE DM3; QE DM4 respectively);
  • policies promoting strategic leisure walking and cycling routes will benefit health and wellbeing (e.g. Policy T SP2 Littlehampton to Arundel Green Link will connect Littlehampton and Climping to Ford and Arundel (including rail stations) along the River Arun and will also benefit communities within strategic sites such as Ford SD8);
  • additionally, 5 Priority Routes and 15 other active travel routes are identified to connect new strategic developments and people to where they want to go through active travel, walking and cycling (The Arun Active Travel Study 2020 (2020 Consultancy on behalf of Arun District Council. Arun Active Travel Connectivity Study. May 2021.)) to provide safer walking and cycling interconnectedness between housing and employment areas, reducing the need for long-distance travel and out-commuting;
  • Arun has a design policy for securing quality placemaking which includes health and wellbeing, supported by a Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) published in 2021(Arun District Council. Arun District Design Guide SPD. January 2021.);
  • policies require supporting infrastructure that serves new communities, providing local opportunity for physical activity, sport and play (both formal and informal) which benefit health and wellbeing (Policy OSR DM1 Open Space, Sport & Recreation) and is supported by an SPD providing standards of provision for open space, playing pitches, indoor and built sports facilities to meet the requirements in the district (Arun District Council. Open Space, Playing Pitches, Indoor and Built Sports Facilities SPD. Jan 2020.);
  • local Green Space provision is made via the Neighbourhood Plan process which forms part of the Development Plan (i.e. together with the Local Plan);Sustainable transport routes, including walking, cycling and alternatives to car travel, are promoted (Policy T SP1 Transport and Development);
  • direct health provision (GP surgeries, clinics, and dental practices), to support placemaking and new Strategic Developments in the district, is set out in housing and infrastructure policies and supported by the Infrastructure Capacity Study and Delivery Plan in 2017 (Arun District Council. Infrastructure Capacity Study and Delivery Plan. Phase 2 – Infrastructure Delivery Schedule and Phasing Plan. February 2017.);
  • ensuring that Arun SPDs (e.g. the Arun Design Guide) reflect national design standards and best practice guidance. Including for achieving sustainable travel, pedestrian and cycle priority in new highway infrastructure and ensuring that people with a disability have accessible and adaptable homes.
Direction of Travel policy options

7.12 In view of the above, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • keep and update health and wellbeing policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • ensuring new development is supported and integrated with natural open space and Local Green Space, sport, and recreation (e.g. access to the coast and River Arun including Ford Marina);
  • providing policies to encourage safe, welcoming and healthy places, including greater use of Green Infrastructure Corridors (e.g. parks and areas of open space, strategic planting of trees and hedgerows, wetland creation and nature sites) within developments and surrounding them;
  • ensuring existing and new communities are connected and link people from where they live, to where they want to go via active travel routes (walking or cycling or public transport) to reduce reliance on the car and provide safe alternative methods of travel benefitting health and wellbeing;
  • requiring new developments individually and collectively to formulate masterplans to ensure they are coordinated and link up (e.g. active travel routes and public transport hubs such as rail and bus stations) and provide health services and opens spaces, sport and leisure including green infrastructure networks;
  • considering the need for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for appropriate types of development;
  • ensuring that policies and design standards of buildings and spaces address sustainable access, including the needs of all sections of the community in terms of access and mobility (e.g. for people with a disability, those reliant on wheelchair use and mobility scooters or design that aids people with hearing or visual impairments);
  • policies that integrate blue (e.g. water bodies, swales, and SUDS) and green (e.g. parks) infrastructure as multi-functional networks (while ensuring users have accessible open space), serving biodiversity and health and wellbeing;
  • ensuring that the location and form of development, and access to it, reduces noise and air pollution by reducing the reliance on private car travel and avoiding areas of congestion;
  • considering where commercial food retail should go in relation to schools;
  • promoting opportunities for development to include healthier eating and locally sourced food production (e.g. though allotments or access to farmers’ markets) in order to reduce obesogenic environments.

Telecommunications and digital infrastructure

What we already know

7.13 The NPPF advises that advanced, high quality and reliable communications’ infrastructure is essential for economic growth and social well-being. The Government’s Levelling Up & Regeneration Act 2023 included provision on the importance of digital connectivity and the latest Government proposals are a target of at least 85% gigabit-capable coverage across the country by 2025 (Building Digital UK Project Gigabit Delivery Plan - Spring Update. May 2022.).

7.14 Since Covid-19, there has been a shift in working preferences and more flexible hybrid working patterns favoured within the UK, especially in the South East region. As a result, this has placed further pressure on households to secure high quality fast broadband for both commercial and leisure purposes. Hybrid working also allows greater flexibility and a reduction in commuting methods or time spent commuting. However, it can place further requirements on the electricity grid or broadband requirements compared to using offices or existing employment spaces which were used in the past.

Our key issues and challenges

7.15 The key issues and challenges are:

  • To facilitate the provision and quality of telecommunications networks within the district without impacting on wildlife, landscapes, heritage and character or community safety, in order to serve a greater number of households and businesses;
  • Improve the provision of ultra-high speed broadband connections and telecommunications’ infrastructure across the district, integrated with new developments or at appropriate locations, to cater for increased demand of homeworking and to assist rural communities where there is poor connectivity;
  • Ensuring that the Local Plan strategy and policies are joined up with providers and stakeholders, working with WSCC, landowners, electricity and broadband companies to enable greater infrastructure installation to serve the needs of the district;
  • The need for a Digital Infrastructure Strategy for Arun that aligns with countywide proposals (Arun District Council. Creating our Future: Arun Economic Development Strategy 2020 – 2025);
  • Help to secure funding, working with partners, to which delivers better digital infrastructure in Arun (Arun District Council. Creating our Future: Arun Economic Development Strategy 2020 – 2025).
What we are already doing

7.16 We are already doing the following:

  • Local Plan policies aim to provide the highest broadband speeds possible across the district to attract businesses and foster economic growth (ALP. 2018. Paragraph 8.10. Adoption Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 (July 2018) and provide for new direct access to telecommunications infrastructure in new developments (Policy TEL SP1 Strategic Delivery of Telecommunications’ Infrastructure);
  • criteria policies are provided related to the permitted development of specific telecommunications infrastructure dependent on whether certain conditions are met
  • working alongside West Sussex County Council in terms of broadband-focused opportunities such as the rollout of the Project Gigabit to enable greater investment in high-speed broadband to businesses in West Sussex. There also has been a success with the digital infrastructure provision being implemented within Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (latest news page) in collaboration with services provided by CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent full fibre platform.
Direction of Travel policy options

7.17    Looking at the above, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • keep and update telecommunications and digital infrastructure policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • enabling telecommunications’ infrastructure to be integrated within development and the environment safely and discreetly, with minimal impact on landscapes or wildlife habitats, through criteria policies;
  • ensuring that areas of land needed by the industry for strategic telecommunications infrastructure is identified and safeguarded;
  • encouraging telecommunications’ infrastructure energy use to be zero carbon, where feasible and appropriate;
  • providing guidance and policies relating to homeworking or rural broadband provision and to allow businesses to connect to greater digital infrastructure provision;
  • ensuring that developments over a certain threshold should provide a certain amount of new broadband or telecommunications’ infrastructure;
  • ensuring that policies require new developments to deliver trunking and utility space within developments to facilitate access to ultra-fast broadband network and appropriate telecommunications’ connectivity within the district;
  • ensuring that new developments coordinate with and support telecommunications guidance (e.g. scope for a providing a Digital Infrastructure Strategy for Arun that aligns with countywide proposals).

Economy, health and wellbeing, telecommunications and digital infrastructure questions:

We have the following questions for you:

21. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
22. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
23. Do you disagree with any of the options?
24. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
25. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan for the Economy? Health and wellbeing? Telecommunications and digital infrastructure?

8. Placemaking, heritage and culture


8.1 The NPPF emphasises the importance of high-quality design and place- shaping. Well-designed places exhibit qualities that benefit users and the wider area. The Local Plan can require specific design standards to be achieved or a masterplan-led comprehensive approach towards new development, including incorporating design codes to guide different development proposals.

8.2  Place-shaping new communities, through preparing a Local Plan update with strong quality design policies, can encourage healthy activity and lifestyles. For example, by providing quality housing, safe places and spaces accessible to everyone (including the elderly and people with special needs), which promotes active walking, cycling provision and connecting people with sport, recreation and essential services e.g. jobs, schools, GPs, shopping, entertainment, wildlife and green spaces (for more information see emerging guidance: Creating Healthy and Sustainable Places - A Framework for West Sussex).

8.3 Internationally, best practice is also emerging regarding achieving 20-minute neighbourhoods. This is all about living locally, giving people the ability to meet most of their daily needs within a 20-minute walk from home, with access to safe cycling and local transport options.

What we already know

8.4  We already know the following:

  • the towns, villages and hamlets in Arun have their own unique and distinctive character reflecting various buildings, spaces, densities, materials, and historic uses. However, there is pressure to respond to larger scale developments and cumulative smaller sites coming forward in the villages which can impact on services and lead to examples of good and bad design across the district;
  • developments which lack high quality, distinctive design or are unimaginative, can undermine community identity and support for new development. The reasons can range from the poor quality of external finishing materials which deteriorate quickly, the materials used conflicting with the local character and vernacular of the area, densities do not accommodating sufficient open space between buildings or providing off-street parking;
  • national guidance clarifies the definition of good design and the principles / characteristics of good design, including character, a sense of community and a need to address climate change. This Guide encourages the preparation of Local Design Guides and Design Codes reflecting local character. The Arun Design Guide was adopted in January 2021 to secure the highest quality of design in new development alongside significant growth within the district;
  • there is increasing interest in the introduction of 20-minute neighbourhoods, which enable communities to become more self-contained by connecting people where they live to local jobs and services through active travel (walking and cycling) and transport alternatives to the private car and digital infrastructure (super-fast broadband).

Our key issues and challenges

8.5 The key issues and challenges are the following:

  • ensuring design and place-shaping policies are robust and enforceable to achieve quality design which add to local character and innovation but protect heritage and settings;
  • protecting and conserving local services and venues which provide multi-functional roles aiding community cohesion (e.g. libraries);
  • ensuring that design policies and codes address climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as zero carbon developments (e.g. energy efficient development served by renewable energy to become carbon neutral) and locating residential development around sustainable transport networks and nodes (e.g. rail and bus stations) to help reduce carbon emissions;
  • preventing new developments that are standard and unambitious or include designs, materials and form which do not respect or add creatively to the local context;
  • seeking to ’build up’ rather than ‘building out’ to protect strategic gaps, Built-Up Area Boundaries (BUAB) and the natural environment and make efficient use of land, using less greenfield land, supporting local services (e.g. higher footfall and spend in local shops) and maintain attractive public realm, open spaces and character;
  • scope for limited revisions to BUAB and exceptionally, Strategic Gap revisions, including scope for increased protection when allied to other important landscape and biodiversity assets and constraints;
  • sustainable development includes how buildings are constructed (e.g. energy and water efficiency) but also layout, density and location in relation to services and facilities and the incorporation of natural/green spaces;
  • retrofitting renewable energy methods (e.g. solar panels) on existing development can be problematic particularly in relation to potential visual and physical harm to the historic environment (e.g. historic buildings and Conservation Areas);
  • creating healthy living environments and good design that promote physical activity, including walking and cycling;
  • ensuring that development is safe from flooding, future climate risk and has access to water resources through the lifetime of the development;
  • securing and maintaining green infrastructure networks, green spaces, places to play, allotments, and walking and cycling routes to encourage activity and improve wellbeing and quality of life;
  • how to achieve the 20-minute neighbourhood so that residents of all ages and abilities can walk or cycle to their schools, shops, workplaces, community facilities, open spaces and sports facilities day-to-day, including ensuring that secure bike parking is available (e.g. in new residential developments, town centres and railway stations);
  • securing community transport infrastructure;
  • creating town and local service centres/hubs at the heart of 20-minute communities, while also responding to changing patterns of working and living which challenge the role of high streets and shopping patterns, particularly in the rural parts of Arun which have a high carbon footprint;
  • how to ensure Neighbourhood Plans across the district can play an important role in achieving the above, while meeting growth needs.

Direction of Travel policy options

8.6 Concerning placemaking, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • keep and update quality design policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • consult local communities and organisations to provide policies and design codes that support sustainable and high-quality creative, innovative, and inclusive design within new development while respecting heritage and its setting and local character (e.g. locally relevant materials);
  • providing a clear vision and expectations for the design of development in the district and maintain and update the supporting Design Guide to set out design codes which accompany any design policies within the Local Plan;
  • providing a clear design approach to the creation of the 20-minute neighbourhood, including the requirement for Masterplans to coordinate separate developments and set out a spatial approach to density and transport nodes with critical green, transport, and service infrastructure;
  • consider ’building up’ rather than ‘building out’ to protect strategic gaps, BUABs and the natural environment, making efficient use of land, using less greenfield land and supporting local services;
  • consideration of limited revisions to BUABs and exceptionally, Strategic Gaps;
  • ensuring the density of development is appropriate to, and reflective of, its surroundings, whilst also ensuring that land is used efficiently and can help to support local services and meet housing needs, whilst minimising greenfield land loss;
  • ensuring housing and tenures are inclusive and integrated;
  • providing policies which relate to the layout and design of sites in terms of public spaces, including green spaces and open space provision and ensure that open space standards are included in any such policies;
  • ensuring that any policies on design take full account of the need to protect and enhance the natural environment and wildlife and indeed, integrate nature recovery and nature-based solutions (e.g. flood alleviation, SUDS and swales or large-scale wetland and tree planting) into placemaking;
  • providing policies on standards for accessible and adaptable buildings to meet the needs of older people and people with disabilities;
  • collating best practice and update design guidance to encourage sustainable construction methods (e.g. assembling high quality efficient preconstructed buildings and homes on site using sustainable techniques and materials);
  • developing policies to enable and promote good living conditions for new and existing residents through provision of accessible green and blue infrastructure including SUDS to improve resilience to climate change;
  • aiming to maximise the planting of trees in Arun, integrated within new developments (e.g. provision of street trees) as well as for the purpose of landscaping planting, nature-based solutions to flood and carbon capture and the delivery of Local Nature Recovery Strategies;
  • considering the provision of area-specific design policies for different areas of the district in order to better reflect the varied character of the district, including provision for religious and cultural needs in smaller communities;
  • aspiring to deliver the highest possible design standards (subject to national policy and local evidence) e.g. energy efficiency in the built environment, renewable, decentralised, and low carbon energy, including climate change resilience (extreme heat/cold etc) whilst also protecting the historic built environment of the district;
  • promoting passive design approaches to buildings to reduce energy consumption, e.g. using layout and orientation to achieve passive solar gain or ventilation and cooling.


What we already know

8.7  Arun has a rich built and historic environment with many attractive villages, hamlets and two historic coastal seaside towns, that provide a distinctive local character to the area. Within the district, there are the following:

  • 29 designated conservation areas
  • approximately 723 listed buildings that are afforded statutory protection
  • 1 registered park and garden;
  • 1,187 non-designated heritage assets (locally listed for protection); including
  • 19 areas of character; and
  • 1,168 locally listed buildings or structures of character
  • the route of the Portsmouth - Arundel Canal is also protected through a specific policy, such assets contribute to the district's cultural identity, distinctiveness and unique sense of place, benefiting residents and visitors alike and generating economic wealth.
  • the NPPF and PPG recognise such assets are an irreplaceable resource and demands that they are conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance, to benefit existing and future generations;
  • Plans must therefore, set a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment, including heritage assets most at risk through neglect, decay, or other threats.

Our key issues and challenges

8.8 The key issues and challenges are:

  • ensuring that both designated and non-designated heritage assets are recognised and protected by new developments and wherever practical enhanced by development;
  • ensuring historic buildings remain in active use and are maintained consistent with their conservation (preventing their neglect and decay);
  • safeguarding undiscovered, undesignated buried remains of archaeological interest through the development management process;
  • planning positively for conservation and enhancement of heritage assets whilst still achieving the growth that is needed (including impact of climate change adaptation and resilience e.g. impact of renewable energy proposals on the historic environment);
  • promoting innovative and creative design at all scales, that respects heritage and setting of historic assets and local vernacular;
  • being able to strongly resist inappropriate development, while encouraging developments that make a positive contribution to the historic environment.

What we are already doing

8.9 We are already doing the following: (The Arun Local Plan 2018 has policies that consider all the heritage assets which are within the district which meet national policy requirements (Policy HER SP1)

  • the Arun Local Plan 2018 has policies that consider all the heritage assets which are within the district which meet national policy requirements (Policy HER SP1);
  • protection of statutory listed buildings (Policy HER DM1 Listed Buildings);
  • protection of locally listed buildings and structures of character (Policy HER DM2 Locally Listed Buildings or Structures of Character);
  • protection, conservation, and regulation of development in Conservation Areas (Policy HER DM3) and Areas of Character (Policy HER DM4);
  • specific protection of the Portsmouth to Arundel Canal route remains (Policy HER DM5 Remnants of the Portsmouth to Arundel Canal).

Direction of Travel policy options

8.10 With regard to heritage, we are suggesting the following policy options:

  • keep and update heritage and conservation policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies (subject to any national Development Management policies);
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • considering ways to encourage new developments in areas where they can make a positive contribution to the historic environment, i.e. through the sustainable re-use of a historic building or the redevelopment of a site;
  • ensuring policies are based and applied on robust and comprehensive evidence through a review of the district to understand if there are existing conservation areas that need updated Conservation Area Appraisals, or other areas which merit designation as a conservation area;
  • updating the evidence base to inform decision-making for both designated and non-designated heritage assets and shape policy on appropriate forms of development and its location to respect heritage;
  • protecting, conserving and enhancing the route of the Portsmouth to Arundel Canal (an under-used public footpath) including opportunities to raise its historic profile and usage, serving new communities (e.g. Strategic Allocations) forming part of an integrated green route (for walkers, cyclists, equestrians and in particular facilitating safe journeys to school) linking to surrounding villages and other active travel routes;
  • encouraging and actively supporting the Neighbourhood Planning process to help identify, conserve, and enhance historic assets (e.g. consideration for Conservation Area Appraisals and additions to the Local List or non-designated heritage assets).


What we already know

8.11 The NPPF identifies that achieving sustainable development means that the planning system has three overarching objectives, which are interdependent and need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways. One of these is a social objective, which is to support strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by ensuring that a sufficient number and range of homes can be provided to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by fostering well-designed, beautiful and safe places, with accessible services and open spaces that reflect current and future needs and support the community’s health, social and cultural well-being. In this respect Arun has a number of assets:

  • Arundel is a cultural and heritage destination of high standard. It has a vibrant cultural scene, with hubs at the Priory Playhouse Theatre and the Victoria Institute, which is owned and run by the community. Community events such as the arts trail is also a popular annual event;
  • Bognor Regis and Littlehampton include facilities that provide arts and entertainment through the Windmill in Littlehampton and the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis;
  • also, within Bognor Regis is the Picturedrome Cinema;
  • the council’s Leisure & Cultural Strategy 2013 - 28, aims to foster and regenerate new and existing cultural facilities and assets. However, it is ageing and needs updating to help provide a robust evidence base and strategy to support an update to the Local Plan to ensure that existing assets are protected and new facilities are integrated with new communities.

Our key issues and challenges

8.12 There are no specific policies that address Culture and the Arts separate from Tourism and Development. The Arun Leisure & Cultural Strategy undertook a SWOT analysis which has informed this section. The study notes the following:

  • with the exception of the quality of Arundel as a historic town, there is little of true excellence in the cultural offer. Facilities for both the visual arts and performing arts are poor;
  • it is difficult for Arun Arts to attract acts of national profile to the Alexandra Theatre so there are significant proposals to be financed by the Levelling Up Fund and the council to regenerate and upgrade the quality of the Alexandra Theatre (through redevelopment and extensions including the public realm);
  • the Victoria Institute, a community centre in Arundel, requires major investment if it is to meet modern standards for arts’ activity;
  • overall, therefore, facilities in the district for performing arts are poor. This is a disadvantage because the surveys show that going to the theatre and to live music and comedy events are particularly popular activities;
  • support improvements to the public realm which supports leisure and cultural assets (e.g. Littlehampton public realm improvements and Arundel street scene);
  • similarly, with the Levelling Up fund, there are planned improvements to the area outside the Windmill in Littlehampton (the recent fire and destruction of the Harvester Public House impacting on this facility will need to be addressed and may be supported by the Local Plan update);
  • there is a need to ensure that visitors and users of Arun’s attractions and cultural offer are able to access facilities such as public toilets designed for all physical abilities.

What we are already doing

8.13 We are already doing the following:

  • Local Plan policy encourages the development of tourism and visitor attractions (which can include cultural, arts and entertainment uses) at scales and types of use in appropriate urban and rural locations provided that they are sustainable, respect the environment and are served by transport (Policy TOU SP1 Sustainable Tourism and the Visitor Economy and TOU DM1 Tourism and Related Development).

Direction of Travel policy options

8.14  Drawing on the above, we are suggesting the following options:

  • keep and update Arts and Culture policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • consider specific bespoke policies and a section of the Local Plan Update to promote and secure the arts, leisure and cultural offer of the district supported by robust evidence of the current cultural base of the district (e.g. update the council’s Cultural and Leisure Strategy);
  • formulate policy criteria to encourage the most to be made of Arun’s attractive features and cultural hubs (particularly on the coast within Littlehampton and Bognor Regis), to attract facilities of true excellence raising Arun’s profile as a centre for arts and entertainment which is sensitive to, and respectful of, the coastal environment;
  • scope to extend beach hut zoning facilities
  • consider policy criteria to foster community scale leisure and cultural facilities suitable for communities in rural areas or the coast where appropriate (e.g. Felpham beach).

Placemaking, heritage and culture questions

We have the following questions for you:

26. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
27. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
28. Do you disagree with any of the options?
29. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
30. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan for placemaking, heritage and culture within the district?

9. Infrastructure to support our needs

What we already know

9.1 The provision of new infrastructure is essential for the future quality of life of residents in Arun. Infrastructure can include provision for education and community facilities including health care, sport and recreation, green infrastructure, schools (both primary and secondary level, early years, disability and special needs and further education), transport improvements (including walking and cycling active travel, as well as public transport, and new roads A27 bypass, A259 and A29 improvements etc). New infrastructure is also essential to support Arun’s economy and to create sustainable new communities resilient to climate change and which achieve zero carbon.

9.2 The new Local Plan must ensure that the right infrastructure will be delivered not only in the right places, but at the right time. It should be deliverable and affordable (i.e. what can be viably delivered through development value and external funding sources) to cater for development as the need arises. This includes for placemaking as well as connecting Arun to the wider economies of West Sussex and the south east to boost employment and wealth creation and to reduce congestion and pollution. In particular, Arun will need a joined-up planning approach to the A27 improvements with neighbouring Chichester District and Worthing Borough Councils.

9.3 The Local Plan will need to address infrastructure capacity constraints and new provision to serve new or expanded communities, within the framework set by legislation and national planning policy. The location, form, scale, and phasing of future development and supporting infrastructure in the district is highly complex with long lead times (e.g. land assembly and following statutory procedures). Delivery poses considerable challenges in a constrained district with a sensitive environment, including the impact on the communities themselves. However, delivered in the right way and at the right time, infrastructure will achieve significant benefits and help to mitigate the impact of new development.

9.4 There is a particular need to upgrade the capacity of the ageing wastewater network to address existing and new demand from housing and new developments. This will be necessary to serve the development but also ensure that sensitive natural water ecosystems such as at Pagham Harbour Special Protection Area and the Arun Valley Special Area of Conservation, are safeguarded from the polluting effects of wastewater discharges as well as over abstraction in river and ground water catchments. New infrastructure must also meet the need of the communities alongside ensuring that it delivers environmental and climate change objectives.

9.5 The critical and essential infrastructure to support the current Local Plan in Arun is set out in the supporting Infrastructure Capacity Delivery Plan (ICDP 2016 and updated in 2017). This sets out the key types of infrastructure by time period and Strategic Development. The ICDP also identifies the funding source (e.g. planning obligations set out in S.106 agreements or funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy). This helps to identify the funding gap across the district and is used to publish an annual Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS) showing what infrastructure has been delivered and funding achieved. The IFS was updated in 2021/22 and is an important way of demonstrating how the council’s housing target and new development is being delivered with supporting infrastructure.

9.6  Notable funding and improvements include:

  • in 2021/22, the council collected £359k from CIL liable development that could be spent on infrastructure to support new development within the district, including contributions towards Parish and Town Councils to fund infrastructure in their areas (Strategic Developments are funded by s106 contributions);
  • Arun’s Infrastructure Investment Plan 2022-2024 was approved at Full Council in March 2022 setting out a shortlist of priority projects and baseline long list of infrastructure projects for funding from CIL (net of any S.106 contributions) across the district;
  • in 2021/22, the council received a total of £1.311m from S.106 planning obligations with a total of £693k spent or transferred towards infrastructure projects;
  • the Arun Growth Deal was signed in 2018 as a joint 5-year commitment between Arun District Council and WSCC, working together to pool resources to deliver sustainable economic growth and opportunities for new homes, infrastructure, and employment;
  • a successful Levelling-Up Fund (LUF) bid in October 2021, which awarded £19.4m to improve public realm (public spaces, pedestrianised areas, and pavements) and infrastructure in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton including the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis, the seafront and riverside area in Littlehampton, to encourage visitors and investment into the area;
  • a new Littlehampton to Chichester bus route (July 2023) as part of the West Sussex Bus Improvement Plan (includes public transport route in Barnham and Yapton);
  • Arun Active Travel Study identified 15 active travel routes (walking and cycling) and 5 priority routes to access shops, leisure, and places of work, as well as new communities within Strategic Allocations which will reduce car use and carbon emissions while benefitting health and wellbeing;
  • more people work from home following the Covid-19 pandemic. However, commuting by rail is still important for many (e.g. Greater London and other commercial and office centres) while tourism and leisure passenger levels have more than recovered on Southern Rail services (Network Rail. West Sussex Connectivity Modular Study. Spring 2020.);
  • new rail infrastructure (i.e. new stations) requires economies of scale to be viable (e.g. circa 10,000 dwellings) and future upgrades of rolling stock may need to operate at 12 car lengths for efficiency and to free up capacity;
  • A259 improvement with additional lanes and the installation of wider, shared-use foot/cycle paths between East Preston and Littlehampton (a bridge will join with the second phase of road works at Lyminster Bypass removing the need to cross the Wick level crossing and it will link with the existing A284. It is due to be complete by August 2024 benefitting Lyminster Road);
  • planned realignment of the A29 with the Strategic Allocation and Barnham, Eastergate, Westergate (BEW).

Our key issues and challenges

9.7 The key issues and challenges are the following:

  • to prioritise modal shift first, in assessing where development should go and how sites are to be developed, through reducing high levels of car dependency, while making public transport more attractive, competitive and accessible, before considering traffic mitigation (in line with national policy);
  • making efficient use of existing infrastructure and ensuring that new infrastructure assesses and addresses its carbon impact in terms of construction and use;
  • identifying what are the infrastructure priorities for your local area or organisation, including public transport and active travel opportunities;
  • ensuring that public transport and active travel networks are provided where they are needed to serve local communities;
  • east-west transport connectivity is congested and needs to improve capacity to tap into surrounding growth markets (e.g. via A27 and A259 and Southern Rail) and there is also a need for better north-south connectivity (A29 improvements) to access east-west links from the key settlements of Littlehampton and Bognor Regis;
  • the road networks in the district, particularly the A259 corridor and other major routes (A27 Crossbush Junction) require improvements to increase capacity and reduce congestion;
  • challenges delivering the A27 Arundel Bypass (in March 2023, the Transport Secretary announced that the A27 Arundel bypass faced a range of delays pushing back delivery which may affect how and when new development can proceed as well as scheme costs and development viability);
  • the delivery of strategic highway improvements is dependent on the ability to secure substantial external funding requiring work with Government; the Highway Authority and other providers;
  • achieving quality rail and station improvements (e.g. at Barnham and Ford) and resolving congestion at rail crossing points (e.g. proposed overbridge at Ford) including improving connectivity to the Arun Valley Line (e.g. Arundel Chord);
  • education capacity needs significant improvement and coordination of new primary school provision within the Strategic Allocations to be delivered at the right time and in the right location as needs and opportunities change;
  • existing secondary school accommodation is soon to be unable to provide additional capacity requiring the delivery of a new secondary school to enable the larger housing sites to come forward;
  • the need to secure the preferred location to accommodate a new 6 Form Entry Secondary School (with further expansion of an additional 4 Forms and a new 6th Form College) and purchase of the land at an acceptable price from a willing landowner and WSCC as the education authority;
  • the need for additional primary and secondary school capacity to serve the additional growth to be set out in the Local Plan update and delivered via land allocations and appropriate developer mitigation;
  • provision of healthcare (e.g. GP surgeries, health clinics and dental practices) to meet identified need in a form, (e.g. health service hubs combining such provision to assist the elderly population) at a location and at a scale which efficiently uses existing available buildings (e.g. within town and service centres) before new build and which maximises accessibility to new residents (particularly in the BEW area);
  • land for new infrastructure e.g. Cemetery provision;
  • the limited ability of the planning system to tackle existing problems and only mitigate the impact of the new growth proposed;
  • the National grid network boundary runs down the east side of Arun Valley and potentially influences operators with regard to ability to deliver improvements (e.g. substations) near the boundary. There may be a need to consider an electricity grid capacity study;
  • Southern Water have indicated that there is little spare capacity in the foul water network and pumping stations to the Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) serving the district at Ford, Lidsey and Pagham. Upgrading the network will therefore be required to ensure it can work with increased demand. This is a major piece of key infrastructure and therefore the council need to be proactive in working with infrastructure providers and other associated statutory bodies to deliver enhancements in the network;
  • ensuring that community infrastructure meets current and future need (e.g. open spaces, built facilities for recreation, leisure, sport, arts, and cultural activities) is important to support community health and wellbeing in the district;
  • retaining these community facilities is particularly important in rural settlements where only a single community facility may exist nearby (e.g. pub, post office, library, local shop, or community hall);
  • increased cost of infrastructure resulting in challenges for the viability of housing sites (e.g. The Arun Transport Apportionment Model updated in 2022 illustrated a significant increase in road scheme costs required for Strategic Sites to mitigate the A27 junctions and the A259 improvements);
  • ensuring that the scale of development can be supported and deliver necessary infrastructure planned at the start of development e.g. implementing new GP surgery provision demands a minimum threshold of approximately 1,000 dwellings;
  • ensuring that developments are viable and can deliver affordable housing targets with competing demand on infrastructure funding (e.g. zero carbon and inflation);
  • future ways in which developer contributions and CIL may be raised (e.g. the Government’s Levelling Up & Regeneration Act 2023) for delivering infrastructure.

What we are already doing

9.8 We are already doing the following:

  • strategic infrastructure is set out to support the current Local Plan and how it should be delivered (Policy INF SP1 Infrastructure Provision and Implementation);
  • the current Local Plan sets out the policy for location and delivery of a secondary school to serve the development of Arun in the centre of the district (Policy INF SP2 New Secondary School);
  • infrastructure to serve new developments and placemaking within Strategic Allocations (Policy H SP2 Strategic Site Allocations);
  • an Affordable housing target is set out in the current Local Plan (Policy AH SP2 Affordable Housing);
  • transport improvements and sustainable travel is set out in the Local Plan (Policy T SP1 Transport and Development and Policy T DM1 Sustainable Travel and Public Rights of Way).

Direction of Travel policy options

9.9 With regard to infrastructure, we are suggesting the following options:

  • keep and update infrastructure policies and parts of the adopted Arun Local Plan that work or are still effective and add new policies;
  • prepare an entirely new plan with supporting policies and development options;
  • establishing a level of growth and scales of development sizes and mix of uses than can afford to pay for infrastructure delivery in a timely manner;
  • setting out supporting policies which require strategic and local scale infrastructure to support the scale of new growth and creation of new or expanded sustainable communities (evidenced by viability studies to ensure infrastructure is deliverable and development remains viable);
  • set out what are the infrastructure priorities for your local area or organisation;
  • coordinating with Neighbourhood Plans to complement the strategic policies of the Local Plan Update in delivering needed local infrastructure;
  • delivering affordable housing requirements that are viable and meet priority needs (e.g. key workers, agricultural workers and people on housing waiting lists);
  • commissioning evidence to establish what the infrastructure requirement will be for new sites coming forward;
  • working with other key infrastructure providers (e.g. house builders, National Highways etc) and agencies (e.g. Environment agency, Homes England) to identify what infrastructure is needed in the district;
  • policies to coordinate the phasing of development and infrastructure in a timely manner to meet the needs of new development;
  • providing infrastructure policies which give priority to walking, cycling and public transport over cars and deliver 20-minute communities through active travel and improved accessibility to transport nodes (e.g. bus and rail stations) including protecting Public Rights of Way networks;
  • policies that ensure a coherent parking strategy and that provision is made in the right locations (e.g. expansion of station car parks, public and commercial parking) and meet the needs of all users including those wishing to charge electric vehicles and those who have disabilities;
  • scope for Park & Ride serving stations (e.g. at Ford and Barnham etc.);
  • policies which safeguard land for future strategic infrastructure and protect the strategic and local road network (including in rural areas);
  • introducing infrastructure policies that improve east-west connectivity to neighbouring areas of employment and services via the A27 and A259 and north-south connectivity via to Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (e.g. via the A29 improvements) including Ford Crossing over the railway line;
  • key station improvements at Barnham, Ford, Bognor Regis, and Littlehampton will also be needed to address sustainable travel and modal shifts, including linking up communities with services via active travel and green infrastructure networks and ensuring that the first and last mile is improved to encourage people to walk and cycle for their needs;
  • policies that may restrict levels of planned growth and phasing of development until essential infrastructure is provided (e.g. Wastewater treatment and foul sewer drainage, education provision, highway improvements/capacity and health care) because some levels of development may not be able to be delivered until essential upgrades are provided.
  • ensuring that policies prevent foul water misconnection to surface water drainage.

Infrastructure to support our needs questions

We want to know what you think about the following questions: 

31. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
32. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
33. Do you disagree with any of the options?
34. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
35. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can support the delivery of infrastructure within Arun?

10. Conclusion

10.1 The previous chapters have set out some challenging issues and circumstances faced by the Arun District over the next 20 years, and beyond, in trying to plan for sustainable communities that are carbon neutral, resilient and safe in the face of the impact of climate change but also empowering, and enabling, through ensuring economic growth and prosperity for all sections of the community including access to a decent home.

10.2 The key themes covered (under the council’s 3 broad Vision and Objectives topics) include:

  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Life Support Network
  • Homes in the Right Places
  • Economy, Health & Wellbeing and Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure
  • Placemaking, Heritage and Culture
  • Infrastructure to Support Our Needs

10.3The Local Plan can only set out the policy framework for shaping new development and decision-making to ensure that new development is sustainable. The Local Plan update will only succeed in addressing these challenges if the actions of all stakeholders, including infrastructure providers, agencies, landowners and developers, as well as the public, are coordinated and complementary to deliver the policies and aspirations set out in the Local Plan update and that it is supported by robust evidence on what can be achieved.

10.4  The council welcomes input from all stakeholders at the earliest stage to help shape what the Local Plan update should include. You may have other issues and matters that are important to you (e.g. general concerns about future development in your area) that the Local Plan should consider that do not fall within the above themes. Question 38 in the box below is a prompt to help you if you want to make broader points. Chapter 1 sets out how you can make your voice heard – please tell us what we should include in the Local Plan.

Conclusion questions

What do you think about the following questions

36. Are there any other issues or challenges that we have missed from this document?
37. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
38. Do you have any other comments in relation to what should be in the Arun Local Plan update?





Description of meaning:

Ageing population

This occurs when the median age of a region rises and a rise in the proportion of the population that is elderly. This happens because of rising life expectancy and/or declining birth rates and migration patterns such as the out-migration of younger people and families and the in-migration of elderly people to an area.


Barnham, Eastergate, Westergate

Built-up Area Boundary

The boundary is important in setting a distinction between the built form of a main settlement and the surrounding countryside. It is not simply a means of showing the limits of existing development, as some developed areas lie outside it and some undeveloped areas lie within it.


Community Infrastructure Levy

Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Coast to Capital is one of 39 local enterprise partnerships established across the UK by government to determine regional economic priorities, while making investments and delivering activities to drive growth and job creation.

Conservation Area

An area of special architectural or historical significance, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

Designated heritage asset

A World Heritage Site, Scheduled Monument, Listed Building, Protected Wreck Site, Registered Park and Garden, Registered Battlefield or Conservation Area designated under the relevant legislation.

Gross Value Added (GVA)

Gross value added (GVA) measures the contribution made to an economy by one individual producer, industry, sector or region. The difference between the value of goods/services produced and sold and the cost of raw materials and other inputs which are used up in production.

Heritage asset

A building, monument, site, place, area, or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest. It includes designated heritage assets and assets identified by the local planning authority (including local listing).

Locally Listed Area of Character (Non-designated Heritage Asset)

Areas within the Arun District that are considered to be of distinctive character or quality and, therefore worthy of protection through rigorous control of new development, yet do not quite comply with the criteria for designation as Conservation Areas.


Locally Listed Building of Character (Non-designated Heritage Asset)

A building or structure of character is one which, whilst not of the quality to be statutorily listed, are of good quality design and appearance that are important features in their own right. They contribute to the character and appearance of the area. In addition, they illustrate and are reminders of the historical development of an area and are worthy of recognition.


Listed Buildings

A Listed Building has been identified by the Secretary of State as being of "special architectural or historic interest". As such it is worthy of special protection. The listing process is not restricted to buildings, and it can include any structure of interest, for example, bridges, walls, telephone kiosks and even gravestones.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out government's planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

Non-designated heritage asset

Buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes identified by plan-making bodies as having a degree of heritage significance meriting consideration in planning decisions but which do not meet the criteria for designated heritage assets.

Permitted Development

Those categories of development defined by the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1997 as not requiring the submission of a planning application.

Public Health England

Was an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care. It has since been replaced by the UK Health Security Agency and Office for Health Improvement and Disparities since 1October 2021.

Scheduled Monuments

Monuments, structures or below ground archaeological sites that are identified as being of national significance are placed on a list or Schedule. They are known as Scheduled Monuments and can range from earthworks and ruins to buried remains and buildings.

Setting of a heritage asset

The surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced. Its extent is not fixed and may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve. Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset, may affect the ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral.

Significance (for heritage policy)

The value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. The interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. Significance derives not only from a heritage asset’s physical presence, but also from its setting. For World Heritage Sites, the cultural value described within each site’s Statement of Outstanding Universal Value forms part of its significance.

Supplementary Planning Document(s) (SPD)

Documents that add further detail to the policies in the Local Plan. They can be used to provide further guidance for development on specific sites, or on particular issues, such as design. Supplementary planning documents are capable of being a material consideration in planning decisions but are not part of the development plan.

West Sussex County Council (WSCC)

West Sussex County Council has published its Economy Plan 2020-2024 which sets out our priorities for supporting the recovery of the West Sussex economy post Covid-19.


Waste Water Treatment Works

Appendix 1

List of consultation questions

Vision & Objections questions

1. Do you broadly support the proposed Vision?
2. Do you agree with the proposed Objectives?
3. Are the V&O sufficiently SMART? (Specific Achievable, Measurable, Relevant and Timebound)
4. Will the V&O guide the Local Plan to deliver the desired local outcomes?
5. Is there anything critical that is missing? If you think there is, then please provide details of your suggestions.

Climate Change questions

6. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
7. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
8. Do you disagree with any of the options?
9. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
10. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan to combat climate change?

Our Environmental Life Support Network questions

11. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
12. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
13. Do you disagree with any of the options?
14. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
15. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan for our environment?

Homes in the Right Places questions

16. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
17. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
18. Do you disagree with any of the options?
19. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
20. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan to deliver homes?

Economy, Health, Wellbeing and Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure questions

21. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
22. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
23. Do you disagree with any of the options?
24. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
25. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan for the Economy? Health and wellbeing? Telecommunications and digital infrastructure?

Placemaking, Heritage & Culture questions

26. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
27. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
28. Do you disagree with any of the options?
29. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
30. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can plan for placemaking, heritage and culture within the district?

Infrastructure to support our needs questions

31. Are there any issues or challenges that we have missed?
32. Do you agree with the proposed policy options?
33. Do you disagree with any of the options?
34. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
35. Do you have any other comments in relation to how we can support the delivery of infrastructure within Arun?

Conclusion questions

36. Are there any other issues or challenges that we have missed from this document?
37. Are there any other policy options we should be considering?
38. Do you have any other comments in relation to what should be in the Arun Local Plan update?

Appendix 2

Vision and Objectives – Consistency Checklist:The following schedule shows the United Nations Sustainability Goals which reflect our Corporate Vision & Objectives and are consistent with the proposed Local Plan Update Vision & Objectives.

United nations sustainability goals and how it lines up with our vision







Alternative text:

United Nations Sustainability Goals:

LP Group Heading: Greenspace & Environment
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
2. Zero hunger
3. Good health and wellbeing
6. Clean water and sanitation
7. Affordable and clean energy
11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
13. Climate action
14. Life below water
15. Life on land

LP Group Heading: Arts, Culture & Heritage
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
11. Sustainable cities and communities

LP Group Heading: Economy
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
1. No poverty
2. Zero hunger
8. Decent work and economic growth
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
13. Climate action
15. Life on land

LP Group Heading: Health & Wellbeing
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
1.No poverty
2. Zero hunger
3. Good health and wellbeing
5. Gender equality
6. Clean water and sanitation
7. Affordable and clean energy
10. Reduced inequalities
11. Sustainable cities and communities

LP Group Heading: Living & Housing
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
3. Good health and wellbeing
6. Clean water and sanitation
7. Affordable and clean energy
11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
13. Climate action
15. Life on land

LP Group Heading: Getting Around
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
11. Sustainable cities and communities

LP Group Heading: Education & Learning
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
1. No poverty
4. Quality education
8. Decent work and economic growth
11. Sustainable cities and communities

LP Group Heading: Infrastructure
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
6. Clean water and sanitation
7. Affordable and clean energy
8. Decent work and economic growth
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
11. Sustainable cities and communities
13. Climate action
14. Life below water
15. Life on land

LP Group Heading: Community
UN Sustainability Goal/s: 
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
17. Partnership for the goals