The council had planned to submit its local plan review for examination by July this year. However, the local authority wrote to communities secretary Robert Jenrick last year, requesting "more time to review the plan" as it approached five years since the document was adopted.
In October, the council’s leader and chief executive met with local government minister Luke Hall to discuss challenges including the need to develop a nutrient-neutral policy for the Chichester Harbour catchment area; the need for improvements and funding for an A27 bypass; and the increased need to take account of growing environmental issues.
At the time, the council said it was told there was "no mechanism within national planning guidance to extend the [five-year] deadline for an individual authority". Now the authority has confirmed it will be delaying submission of its local plan review until after July.
Announcing the decision, council leader Eileen Lintill said: "While we were told that we could not be treated as an exception, the support we have received from government officials has been immensely helpful. By taking more time now and making sure that we work with our residents, businesses and partners to identify the best options, we should be able to access a quicker examination process."
According to a preferred approach document published for consultation in December 2018, the local plan review will propose a 50 per cent increase in the council’s annual housing target, from 435 to 650 dwellings per year.
The local authority said it had received assurances from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that work is underway to identify a solution to improving water quality in Chichester Harbour and the wider Solent region.
Several councils in the Solent area have announced a moratorium on planning permissions for new homes in recent months as they grapple with the implications of advice from Natural England that developments should only be permitted if they are nitrate-neutral.
LOCAL PLAN UPDATES
Derbyshire: Bolsover District Council adopted its local plan on 4 March.
Devon: Dartmoor National Park Authority submitted its draft local plan for examination on 6 March.
Cherwell District Council submitted main modifications to the partial review of its local plan for examination on 25 February.
Worcestershire: Wyre Forest District Council submitted its draft local plan for examination on 20 February.