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Future of South Downs National Park under discussion

South Downs National Park Credit: ITV Meridian

The future of the South Downs National Park will be discussed by planners today.

Thousands of new homes are proposed. Staff say the priority is to conserve the landscape.

Affordable housing will make up 40% of the homes. The public will be invited to have their say at a consultation due to take place in the Autumn.

"National Parks aren't suitable places for unrestricted growth, and the first priority is to conserve the landscape. But, with a vibrant local economy and house prices in the South Downs well above national and regional averages, we need to deliver housing to meet the needs of local people and keep our communities and rural economy thriving - now and in the future. This includes both affordable and market housing. The final Local Plan will set out the areas and where possible the likely figures for new houses in the National Park up to 2032 giving people certainty about the future of their towns and villages. There shouldn't be many surprises as many of these figures have already been announced through the Joint Core Strategies we've developed in partnership with other local authorities. Our target is to keep at least 40 per cent of all new housing in the National Park affordable but our landscapes will always have the highest possible level of conservation and we will always put these landscapes first. People will be able to have their say on this as part of the consultation on the Draft Local Plan for the National Park in Autumn 2015."

– Tim Slaney, Director of Planning for the South Downs National Park Authority