Background & Information about the Neighbourhood Plan
The concept of a Neighbourhood Plan, which was introduced through the Localism Act, is to enable local communities to become more involved in planning for their community. It is different to a Community or Parish Plan (which cover much broader issues) as it is primarily about land use – the idea is to guide development and, importantly ensure that it is right for an area. Policies might include protecting important green spaces, specifying the development and design of new housing (such as starter homes, retirement housing, business properties), dealing with transport issues, development of schools, places of worship, health & leisure facilities and youth centres and the promotion of renewable energy products and solar energy.
Once adopted the Plan has legal status and plays an important part in the local planning process. It must be prepared in accordance with procedures laid down in the guidance documentation (which are extensive) and must conform to the National Planning Policy Framework (the NPPF) and West Dorset District Council’s Local Plan. The Parish Council will act only as a facilitator, the intention being that the community itself produce and have ownership of the final plan.
To enable the community to better understand what is needed and what is involved we have held three successful “Drop In” sessions explaining what a Plan is, what is proposed and how people can help. Each of these sessions had a series of display boards outlining the pros and cons of a Neighbourhood Plan and the development process involved. Additionally there was an ongoing presentation given by a member of the initial NP steering group and residents were encouraged to engage with other members of the steering group who were on hand. Maps were available and there was a lively discussion around these as to potential areas etc.
From these discussions, and from the feedback forms that were completed, it was evident that it was felt that we should proceed individually but under an overall “strategy” umbrella involving our adjoining parishes to enable a sharing of ideas and resources.
We have approached all those who indicated that they wish to be kept informed of progress, or wanted to be involved with the production of a Neighbourhood Plan, and they have concurred with this approach. We have also, through the Wriggle Valley Magazine and the Parish Website, indicated to the wider community that it was also evident that, when considering the issues likely to be covered by the Neighbourhood Plan, it would be sensible to designate the current parish boundary as a Neighbourhood Area.
The NP Working Group has now formed a Steering Group which has successfully applied to WDDC for designation of the parish as the Neighbourhood Plan Development Area. Following this formal approval we have been exploring how the project will be taken forward by the volunteers and how we will communicate with the community.
There are many opportunities and ways for everyone to have an input into the Plan and it is important to remember that without the community’s involvement the project will not succeed! After all it is your community and what happens in its’ area will directly affect you! If you have not already volunteered and would like to help please contact the working group at email@example.com or by using the contact form on the right.
Please look out for information here on the Parish website and Village Notice Board and also in the Wriggle Valley Magazine.
YOU CAN CONTACT US AT: firstname.lastname@example.org