Protecting Ashdown Forest
From the 1st January 2015, if you are planning to build houses within 7km of Ashdown Forest, you are required to make two separate financial contributions for each property that you build.
A completed Planning Obligation Instruction Form will need to be included alongside your planning application.
These contributions ensure that the effects of any increase in visitors to Ashdown Forest, as a result of these extra dwellings, is mitigated by:
- Contributing to a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) - this area has been identified as East Court & Ashplats Wood in East Grinstead
- Contributing to ongoing visitor management projects and monitoring on Ashdown Forest - Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM).
On larger sites, a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace could either be provided on the development site itself or through a financial contribution as above.
Mitigation strategies and tariffs
The area of the district affected
Permitted development within the 7km zone around Ashdown Forest and applications to discharge the SANG planning condition
The Government has recently extended the permitted development rights for the change of use of certain buildings to flats and dwelling houses.
However, for development sites within 7km of the Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area (SPA), the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (external link) also apply.
The permitted development rights must not be begun until a written notification of approval has been received.
Any developer or person wishing to build within this 7km zone must apply to the District Council for a discharge of the Habitats Regulations condition on the discharge of conditions form and submit the relevant fee of £30.
The application should be accompanied by a covering letter (headed 'Regulation 75 Applications under the Habitats Regulations 2010') and a site plan.
The letter should set out the nature of the use or development.
In addition please complete the SANG planning obligation instruction form which should also be submitted with an application to discharge the SPA planning condition which is attached to relevant planning permissions
Interim approach to assessing planning applications for potential impact on the Ashdown Forest SAC
Following a High Court judgment earlier this year in relation to Ashdown Forest, Mid Sussex District Council needs to assess each planning application for its potential traffic impacts on Ashdown Forest.
This is an interim approach until further guidance is issued to the District Council. The assessment under the Habitats Regulations will vary depending on the type of development proposed:
- If your application is for the following types of development, you do not need to do anything further as generally these types of development will not be likely to lead to an increase in traffic. You can continue to submit your application in the usual way, and the District Council will advise if further work is required.
- Advert consent
- Discharge of condition
- Listed building consent
- Minor householder, e.g. porch, conservatory, extension, fencing, walls
- Permitted development except where it is for the change of use of a building to flats and dwelling houses
- Tree works
- If your application is for residential or commercial use (whether it is new development, change of use, intensification of use), you will need to contact the District Council prior to submitting a planning application or at the pre-application stage to discuss if any further work to support the application is necessary.
If further work is necessary, this is likely to mean you will need to provide evidence to indicate the level of impact that the proposed development will have on Ashdown Forest.
Further advice will be issued to applicants in this situation.
Further information is contained within the Ashdown Forest Briefing Note and within the District Plan Examination Library under the section "Habitats Regulations Assessment, Guidance and Interpretation".
Please note that advice is given to support compliance with the Habitats Regulations; applicants should always satisfy themselves that they have fully met the requirements of the Habitats Regulations.
Should you have any questions about the approach or how your application will be assessed, then please contact Development Management on 01444-477566 or email@example.com.
Ashdown Forest Code of Conduct for Dog Walkers