Jennifer Ryan Senior Planning Officer
Jennifer is a Senior Planning Officer at Adur & Worthing Councils. She's been with the Planning Policy team since 2017 and works on a range of projects including preparation of the Worthing Local Plan which, when adopted, will guide future development in the borough.
Jennifer is excited to be blogging about her work and is keen to talk about how it links up with wider projects taking place within the Councils.
Before she joined the Planning Policy team, Jennifer worked in Planning Policy at Test Valley Borough Council for six years. Prior to that, she was a Teacher Associate at Oxford Brookes University.
Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys travelling and has a passion for architecture and design - London and Liverpool are her favourite cities. She also loves seeking inspiration from Instagram for her travels, particularly keeping an eye out for trendy cafes and restaurants to visit.
You can read Jennifer's blogs on the page below:
See also: Planning Policy
Hello, my name is David Attmore and I am the Councils' Community Infrastructure Officer.
There are so many brilliant community and voluntary sector organisations operating in Worthing. However, they need funding to continue operating the valuable projects and services which they offer to our residents.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge paid by developers in Worthing for liable developments (like new houses) towards the cost of infrastructure. The Worthing CIL Neighbourhood Fund (15% of the total CIL funds received) is a chance for organisations like community groups, charities, and 'friends of' parks groups to apply for funding to help address the “demand that development places on an area.”
The scope of this fund has been expanded to cover a wider range of potential projects. Alongside the brilliant work by our comms team and Community Works (who the Council partners with to work with the voluntary sector), we saw a total of 57 applications to the fund during the six-week application period in May-June this year.
A wide range of applications were received from across the four 'CIL Areas' (groupings of wards), which had varying amounts of funding available. The applications requested between £1,966 and £30,000, with a number securing additional funding from other sources.
All of the applications were assessed by the relevant CIL Area assessment panel, which consisted of ward Councillors, community sector representatives and previously successful applicants to the CIL fund. This process was designed to delegate the decision-making down to a more local level.
The panel recommendations have now been through our internal decision-making process and signed off in a cabinet member report. A total of 45 groups were successful in their application to the fund and have been awarded a total of over £577,000!
These groups will now be able to access funding to allow them to continue their brilliant work to deliver projects which will help local residents, improve our open spaces, tackle climate change, and provide support to those most in need in Worthing.
More information on the successful applicants can be found on the Council's website.
Photo: Art on the Pier - previously awarded CIL Neighbourhood Funds (Credit: Creative Waves)
Following on from my previous blog on Biodiversity Net Gain, I would like to shine the spotlight on 'Local Nature Recovery Strategies' which is another important requirement under the Environment Act 2021.
“England is widely considered to be one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world following historic and ongoing declines. Government has made legally-binding commitments to end these declines and for nature to recover. This is important for nature's own sake and for all the things that we rely on nature for, like clean water and food production. For nature to recover, targeted, co-ordinated and collaborative action will be required.”
Imagine 'England' as a jigsaw puzzle with exactly 48 pieces. Each jigsaw piece represents a 'strategy area' which when all pieced together will cover the whole of England with no gaps or overlaps. The intention is that each strategy area will produce a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) which will identify locations to improve nature and set out priorities and map proposals for specific actions to drive nature's recovery and provide wider environmental benefits. All 48 LNRS will contribute to the creation of a nature recovery network of joined up nature-rich sites, thus improving and connecting places for wildlife across our cities, towns, countryside and coast.
Government announced the formal launch of LNRS processes country-wide in July 2023 and has delegated responsibility to designated 'Responsible Authorities' for the preparation of LNRS. In Sussex, the responsible authorities are East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council and they will consult with the Districts and Borough Councils including Adur & Worthing Councils throughout the LNRS preparation process.
In addition, Sussex Local Nature Partnership (a voluntary organisation representing over 30 organisations covering Sussex) and other local interest groups such as landowners, environmental charities will be involved to make sure that the local nature recovery strategy reflects local priorities and benefits from local knowledge.
It is anticipated that most responsible authorities will take 12 to 18 months to prepare and publish their LNRS. By March 2025 Local Nature Recovery Strategies should be in place across the whole of England.
LNRS will be a useful tool to guide delivery of biodiversity net gain and other nature recovery measures by helping developers and planning authorities avoid the most valuable existing habitat and focus habitat creation or improvement where it will achieve the best outcomes.
For further information see:
A healthy and biodiverse world is essential for maintaining the Earth's life support systems (clean air, food, water, soil etc). Scientists are stating that we are living in a 6th Mass Extinction with studies showing that between 1970 and 2014, species populations have declined by 60%.
The Environment Act became law in 2021 and this sets out the UK's framework of environmental protection. It is considered that the Act will deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth. It has been designed to halt the decline of species by 2030, clean up our air and protect the health of our rivers, reform the way in which we deal with waste and tackle deforestation overseas. The Act includes a new legally binding target on species abundance for 2030, which will help to reverse declines of iconic British species like the hedgehog, red squirrel and water vole.
One of the themes being pursued through the Act is ‘Nature and Biodiversity.' The Act includes provisions to introduce mandatory requirements for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) in the planning system which is to come into effect in November 2023 for development, unless exempt.
BNG is an approach to development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before. Where a development has an impact on biodiversity it encourages developers to provide an increase in appropriate natural habitat and ecological features over and above that being affected in such a way it is hoped that the current loss of biodiversity through development will be halted, and that ecological networks can be restored.
The mandate for net gain in biodiversity through the planning system is a minimum 10% increase in biodiversity after development, compared to the level of biodiversity prior to the development taking place, as measured by a metric set out by the Department for Environment & Rural Affairs. However, Local Planning Authorities can set a higher percentage increase through Local Plans.
Photo: Buttercups and cow parsley
So, what does this mean for Adur and Worthing? Well, Worthing Borough Council has adopted a new Local Plan (2023) which includes a policy on Biodiversity. In recognition of the Environment Act, we have stipulated a requirement that new developments (excluding change of use and householder) should provide a minimum 10% net gain for biodiversity and where possible this should be onsite. Where it is achievable, a 20% onsite net gain is encouraged and is required for development on previously developed sites.
We are currently reviewing the adopted Adur Local Plan (2017) and we will be incorporating BNG policy in the next iteration of the Adur Local Plan.
Photo: Looking up through the tree canopy to the sky
The natural environment is essential for life on Earth - it provides us with the components for everyday living, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat.
It is fundamental for our health and wellbeing, it provides the foundation of a successful economy and facilitates thriving neighbourhoods with access to high quality green spaces.
However, we are living in a climate and ecological emergency, with the UK being one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
The landmark State of Nature report (2019) provides a stark statistic that there has been a 13% decline in the average abundance of wildlife in the UK since the 1970s. Human impacts are driving sweeping changes in wildlife in the UK.
In response to this, the Government has published its Environmental Improvement Plan which provides a delivery action plan, setting out what the UK will do to improve the environment, within a generation.
The overarching vision is to improve nature. This includes the target to protect 30% of our land and sea for nature through the Nature Recovery Network by 2030 and restoring or creating more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitats outside protected sites by 2042.
It also seeks to halt the decline in species abundance by the end of 2030 increasing it above 2022 levels by 2042.
The Environment Act 2021 introduced a number of new duties for Councils which are of relevance to nature recovery and biodiversity including:
- all planning permissions granted in England (with a few exemptions) will have to deliver at least 10% Biodiversity Net Gain from November 2023
- enhanced duty for Councils to conserve and enhance biodiversity and report on their actions
- councils will need to comply with the above duty and have regard to the Local Nature Recovery Strategy in local planning policy and decisions
- responsible authorities (County Councils) appointed by the Secretary of State to lead the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS), working with a broad range of stakeholders
To prevent information overload, my next couple of blogs will delve into further detail on 'Biodiversity Net Gain' and 'Local Nature Recovery Strategies'.
Stay tuned and follow my blogs for further information on how we can work towards improving the state of nature for future generations.
I am still pinching myself ... it is with great joy that I can announce that the Worthing Local Plan was successfully adopted by the Council on 28th March 2023. After many years of blood, sweat and tears of taking the plan through multiple consultation stages and an examination by a Planning Inspector, it's finally crossed the finishing line! This heralds a monumental achievement for the Planning Policy Team and is really the pinnacle of our careers to reach this major milestone!
So, what does adoption mean? Well, it means that the Worthing Local Plan has come into force and it provides the vision and long-term spatial strategy to manage development, respond to climate change, promote regeneration, protect the environment, deliver infrastructure and support vibrant healthy communities and deliver sustainable local economic growth. It is a significant document that will guide the future of Worthing up until 2036.
The Plan is split into three overarching themes, social, environmental and economic which are universally recognised as the three pillars that contribute to sustainable development.
The Plan has taken a bold step in the face of climate change by incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals which have been designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
It's an eye-catching and visually appealing document to read, helped by the use of illustrations of key Worthing landmarks drawn and designed by one of our local artists Emma Bennett. The artwork is complemented by graphic design produced by Danny McBride. The Plan is also available in an interactive format for those who relish technology!
I am very proud of the Plan but also to work alongside a supportive and innovative team - it has been a long journey for us all. Now ... it is time for a quick breather before plan making all starts again!
Please view the Plan and we hope you enjoy reading it!
I was astounded to read in an article that the United Nations predicts population growth will reach 8 billion for the first time on 15th November 2022, which is just eight days away. It is quite a momentous occasion and clearly heralds advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates.
However, the rise in population growth is moving at pace with projections forecasting that 9.7 billion will be reached in 28 years (2050) compared to 4 billion people in the world in 1974.
Data is now emerging from Census 2021 which indicates that the populations of Adur and Worthing have grown in size since the last Census in 2011. Between 2011 and 2021, the population of Adur increased by more than 5% to 64,500. In Worthing, the population increased by 6.5% to 111,400, giving us a total of nearly 176,000 residents across Adur and Worthing.
These population increases, particularly in Worthing, are similar to the increases we have seen in England and Wales as a whole in the last ten years, at 6.3%, and slightly lower than the South East, which has grown by 7.5% in the last decade.
There are advantages and disadvantages of a growing population. More people in an area bring life, boost the local economy and can bring new skills and expertise. The fact that more people are moving to our area is also a sign of their popularity and appeal. However, an increased population brings increased demands on resources and infrastructure, such as housing, health, transport and the environment especially with regard to climate change.
These demands need to be addressed through the preparation of Local Plans which is why it is a legal requirement for adopted Local Plans to be reviewed every five years to ensure that they are still fit for purpose/respond to changes in evidence.
The Local Plan plays a key role in facilitating opportunities to help address the needs of the growing population that can be met through the provision of housing, employment, open space and leisure facilities and ensuring the delivery of associated infrastructure, whilst retaining the important character and features of Adur and Worthing which our residents, businesses and visitors all value.
The Worthing Local Plan is progressing towards adoption with Members of the Joint Strategic Sub-Committee (on 8th November 2022) considering a report relating to the Local Plan Inspector's findings. The report will recommend that Full Council (on 13th December 2022) adopt the Worthing Local Plan (including modifications) and Policies Map.
With regard to the Adur Local Plan (which was adopted in 2017), the Planning Policy team has commenced a review of the Plan.
For further information about the Census 2021 for Adur & Worthing, see:
Page last updated: 25 September 2023