What is the Neighbourhood Plan all about?
It is the community’s opportunity to have a greater say on the planning decisions made in our area over the next 10-15 years, which includes shaping and guiding how it will look and feel in terms of:
- choosing what new homes will be delivered, where they will be located and what they will look like
- the kind of new retail and business development we should have
- issues we care about such as green spaces and the environment
- strengthening the community by improving transport infrastructure, community services, and leisure and recreational facilities.
It is up to each neighbourhood to decide on what its plan will be about. In our area, we have chosen to focus on 4 main “Topic Group” Subjects:
- Housing and the Environment
- The Economy
- Transport and Infrastructure
Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will form part of the Borough Council’s Development Plan – making it a key part of deciding on planning applications.
The opportunity to produce our Neighbourhood Plan arises from the devolution of powers to Councils and communities in the Government’s recent Localism Act.
It is important to note that there are some limitations to Neighbourhood Plans, in that:
- They must not conflict with national government policy
- They must be compatible with the Borough Council’s emerging Borough Local Plan
- They must promote sustainable growth
- They must be lawful, realistic and robust.
“We can effect change or be affected by change… the choice is ours”.
The Government has made it clear that growth must be delivered – just retaining what we have is not an option. There will also be a presumption in favour of development that is “sustainable”. Producing a Neighbourhood Plan will help to make sure that decisions on development and growth will be based on local views – on what we want. That is why it is so important for us to get involved.
The plan, when developed, will be tested in an examination and must be based on evidence gathered through research and consultation; and it will need to display a suitable level of community involvement to be successful.