CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – Neighbourhood Plan
Following a productive meeting with Michael Wellock, our consultant, things have started to move towards the next stage. Stage 2 has lasted a long time, but we were told at the outset that that would be the case. Fortunately, we have a strong core of Steering Group members who are working hard to produce the evidence for policies that will form the basis of the Draft Plan.
We have been gathering evidence on the housing types in each village, describing and taking photographs of each style. Work has also been done to plot biodiversity and we are anticipating an archaeology report very soon. The intention is to meet a timeline laid down by our consultant, the first stage of which is to furnish him with our work so that he can use it to produce the next Draft by mid-May.
Hopefully then, by the end of May, this Draft Plan will go forward for informal consultation for a period of three weeks. The purpose of this is to get feedback from all appropriate organisations, following which – by the end of June – the Plan will be revised. Then, in July/August, the Plan will submitted for formal Regulation 14 consultation, which will take a minimum of six weeks. Finally, the Plan will be submitted to SNC and the (public) referendum will take place.
That is, of course, if everything goes to plan! The steering group is meeting again on April 26th to review our work and to start feeding it through to our consultant. At the Draft Plan stage, the public will be able to see the draft and to comment on it. Regarding the allocation of sites, we present them with maps, the rationale and a summary of the pros and cons of each one, enabling the public to make informed comments. How we do this has yet to be arranged. (We trust that it will NOT resemble the Brexit process in any way! Though the final referendum will be a straight yes or no to the Plan, with 51% required for it to be ‘Made’)
Generally, the threat to any Plan comes from contentious housing proposals. Whatever we decide will be in keeping with the views expressed at our public event last June and the evidence of our external, advisory assessments; they will provide the rationale which we will present to the public.
Housing, though potentially – but not necessarily – contentious, is just one part of the final Plan. We hope to demonstrate to the community what a great parish they live in, one they can be proud of and continue to enjoy beyond the duration of the Plan.