Oldbury on Severn : The Future of our Parish!!
South Gloucestershire Council along with the other local unitary authorities are preparing a West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP).The JSP will be a statutory Development Plan Document that will provide the strategic overarching development framework for the area until 2036. Additionally the South Gloucestershire Local Plan is being reviewed this will on completion reflect many of the decisions made in the JSP and also cover the period until 2036.
There are potentially serious implications in these processes which could impact on our Parish and of which we should be aware . It is of some importance that we understand this and put in place a plan which reflects what the community wish to see to ensure the Parish remains sustainable but retains its character and ethos in the years to come .
In October 2016 Oldbury on Severn Parish Council(OPC) resolved to produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) to address this). An application for the Parish to be designated as a Neighbourhood Area was made and accepted.
What is Neighbourhood Planning?
The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 came into force on the 6th April 2012 and have subsequently been updated. These regulations provide for local communities to be able to produce Neighbourhood Plans (NDP) for their local area, putting in place planning policies for the future development and growth of the neighbourhood. These policies have material weight when planning decisions are being made, they can help to resist unwanted development and to promote the type of development the community wishes to see.
Once a NDP has passed independent examination to ensure it conforms with National Policy and does not contradict policies in the Local Plan a community referendum will be organised. If more than 50% of the votes are in favour of adopting the NDP it will become part of the Local Plan for planning related matters and will have the same legal status.
Progress to date
OPC have set up a Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group comprising councillors and members of the community to develop the plan.
An application to be granted Government funds to undertake the planning work was successful and a draft project plan was drawn up. The grant funding was provided to cover the compilation , distribution and analysis of a community questionnaire and to part fund the Flood Risk Assessment .
The community questionnaire element was responded to by 30 % of the community which is a good return for the type of survey being undertaken. This information is in the process of being analysed .
This is phase one of a longer term plan. At the time is was envisaged that subject to the availability of a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment it should be possible to submit a viable plan for independent examination towards the end of 2017.
Regrettably the Assessment was not available as early as anticipated but has now been published in draft form. Some questions arise from its content which have been raised with the consultants undertaking the work and the final report should be available before the end of July
There is much work to do, the 2012 Parish Plan provides a good foundation on which to build an up to date NDP. Initial analysis of the latest questionnaire responses indicates the thoughts and aspirations of the community have not significantly changed.
The Next Step!!
We are now waiting to consult with SGC Officers to understand the implications the Joint Strategic Plan and subsequent updated Local Plan which will take us through to 2036. Each step in the Planning Process requires certain conventions to be observed .The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (all volunteers) are keen to avoid unnecessary work and wish to have a clear understanding of what SGC will expect when the plan is submitted to them prior to independent examination.
When the requirements are clear a community consultation will be arranged to present the findings of both the survey and the Flood Risk Assessment. This is not likely to be possible until late August at the earliest.
Your responses and feedback will be analysed and will help form an up-to-date picture on what the community feel about sustainable and modest development particularly within the current development boundary but also adjacent to it. This information will be used in conjunction with the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment to draft a Plan Proposal which will be the subject of further community consultation.
Following this the proposals will be reviewed, amended as seen appropriate to take into account community views and submitted to the Local Planning Authority for inspection prior to being submitted for Independent Examination. If the Plan passes examination a local referendum will be held and if the majority agree the plan will become ‘made’ and have legal and material weight when planning decisions are being made.
Thanks to all who responded to the questionnaire.
YOUR VIEWS COUNT, we are planning the future development of our community for the next 10-20 years!
If you want to know more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org