The Neighbourhood Plan
Your chance to have a say on the future or the Parish
If you came to the Village Hall to hear about how the campaign to buy the Goddard Arms is progressing on Tuesday 20th August, you would also have heard mention of another local initiative that is also gathering steam, the Neighbourhood Plan.
As you may know, the Parish Council has established a sub-committee (the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee) comprising a number of parish councillors and representatives from the local community, to help research through public consultation, develop, write and ultimately propose for adoption by parish-wide vote, a Neighbourhood Plan. This document will, when adopted, reflect the aspirations and concerns of our parish in matters ranging from planning and development of new housing to road safety and protecting the environment.
If this sounds a little familiar, you might be thinking about the parish’s Community Plan which was completed in 2015 after a significant amount of consultation and hard work. Now you may ask yourself, if we already have a Community Plan, do we need a Neighbourhood Plan too? Whilst it is true that both plans will touch on similar themes and issues, adopting a Neighbourhood Plan that properly reflects the views of those who live or work in our parish is a really important step with potentially wide-reaching implications.
At present, planning law makes development of new homes in the parish almost impossible since the land here is considered by the planning authorities to be ‘open countryside’. There is a presumption that no development is permitted, and this is reflected in the county’s planning policy. A Neighbourhood Plan allows us, as a community, to have a say in what kind of development we would be willing to see or not see in our parish. When a planning application is submitted, the authorities must consider any adopted Neighbourhood Plan as part of their decision making process. This means that land you own could possibly be developed. It also means that land near or bordering your property could be developed. A Neighbourhood Plan has real legal force.
The Neighbourhood Plan is about much more than developing houses though, it’s our chance to set down our views on the issues that matter to us, be they road safety, footpaths, protecting local businesses, transport or measures to tackle climate change. Although it is advisory only, it becomes a record of our priorities and concerns. Communities with adopted Neighbourhood Plans can gain better access to Community Infrastructure Levy funding for local projects and the priorities in our plan will help us direct those funds to projects we care about.
This affects us all so its important we all have our say and, ultimately that the Neighbourhood Plan we adopt best reflects the views and aspirations of our community.
So what next? The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is keen to hear from you and to gather the views of as many people as possible. We need to make sure the consultation process is broad and robust as possible to allow everyone the chance to have their say. We are planning to hold a couple of drop in sessions in the Village Hall in early October. Look out for more details of these and other communications in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime you can contact the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group via the Parish Council – email@example.com