MP asks for Petworth housing decision to be ‘called in’

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has today (14 January) written to the Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, asking him to ‘call in’ a decision by the South Downs National Park Authority to allow new housing in Petworth.

190114 Land at Rotherlea map.JPG

Mr Herbert echoed Petworth Town Council’s ‘call in’ request by asking the Secretary of State to review the decision because “the application contravenes a number of the policies in Petworth’s Neighbourhood Plan”.

The land at Rotherlea is owned by West Sussex County Council.  The Council initially applied to build houses on the greenfield site in 2015.  Since then the application has been revised to accommodate 34 houses on the plot.

Petworth’s Neighbourhood Plan, which was adopted last August, allocates just 23 houses on the site.

However the SDNPA’s Planning Committee approved the County Council’s application in November.  This decision has meant that many of Petworth’s Neighbourhood Plan policies have been disregarded, including car parking and road access.

In his letter to the Secretary of State, Mr Herbert says: “While the South Downs National Park Authority stated that “the scheme … is considered broadly to be in accordance with the Policies and aspirations of the Petworth Neighbourhood Plan”, this is emphatically not the view of Petworth Town Council.  They feel very strongly that their Neighbourhood Plan should be adhered to, and I agree.”

The MP said: “Drawing up neighbourhood plans entails a herculean voluntary effort, and the plans are endorsed in a local referendum, as was the case in Petworth.  Too many development proposals are being permitted in breach of neighbourhood plans, a practice which is undermining local support for the entire policy.  I therefore hope that you will call in this decision, and that it will be overturned.”

Mr Herbert has been a longstanding champion of neighbourhood planning, and has consistently taken the view that these plans should be respected.




1.     To read Nick’s letter to the Secretary of State in full see

2.     To read Nick’s news ‘MP support Parliamentary Bill to strengthen neighbourhood plans’ see

3.     To read Nick’s intervention on the Secretary of State’s statement to the House on the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2018) see