Background and Process
When David Cameron stood up just after the last election and introduced his Big Society idea most people in Horsted Keynes probably thought “this is what we already do?” However, once the Localism Bill was drafted and people became aware that using the provisions of this bill, they could have a greater say in the development of their local environment over the next 20 years, there was a little more interest and the concept of a neighbourhood Plan was formed.
The Localism Bill was passed in November 2011 and the hard work at Parish level began.
The Neighbourhood Plan will underpin the new District Plan prepared by Mid Sussex District Council which includes overall development targets for the entire District. Ideally the development identified in individual Neighbourhood Plans will, once aggregated, allow district planners to meet the government targets for housing over the next 20 years.
For Horsted Keynes it is therefore essential that we produce a Neighbourhood Plan that identifies any housing development that the Parish needs – our contribution to the overall District development targets – but more importantly allows the Parish to decide what, where and when any development should take place. Without a Neighbourhood plan, the Parish could be at risk of having development enforced upon it either by speculative planning applications which we will be unable to defend or to meet the overall District development targets.
Many of you were directly involved with developing the excellent Village Plan in 2008 and it is intended that the Neighbourhood Plan will build on this.
So what is the process being followed by the Parish Council?
- A working party was created consisting of 4 Councillors
- A sum of money was set aside from the Parish Council’s reserves to meet the costs of producing the Plan.
- A P&P item was issued to introduce the Neighbourhood Plan to the Parish
- A launch presentation was made as part of the Annual Parish Meeting on 10th April 2012 at 8.00 p.m. in the Village Hall
- Local area representatives were identified and an Area Coordinator group set up to ensure inclusion of all views (as per the Village plan process).
- Local “Groups” (formal and informal) are to be identified and representatives will be sought from those groups to participate in preparation of the Plan going forward.
- Additional skills needed to complete the Plan will need to be identified and residents of the Parish with those skills will be invited to participate / contribute to the process.
- Surveys have been carried out:
- Identifying the business requirements of the Parish including home working and reviewing the travel and infrastructure required to meet those needs.
- Identifying and validating future needs based on demographics including school occupancy, future family housing requirements, association housing and housing type requirements for those with Parish connections.
- Identifying social and other infrastructure requirements that need to be maintained or will be required in the future including social activity.
Once the plan has been drawn up and consulted upon in final form, it will then be put to a referendum of all registered voters within the Parish (this will be held to coincide with existing local elections)
The referendum will be worded simply, i.e. “do the residents of the Parish accept the Horsted Keynes Neighbourhood Plan”
If 50% +1 of the turnout at the referendum vote in favour of accepting the Plan, the Neighbourhood Plan will be accepted and its provisions will detail the extent of any development within the Parish over the next 20 years with reviews in the interim years if necessary to ensure that it still meets the needs of the Parish.
If the majority vote against adoption of the Plan the Parish will be expected to accept the decisions of MSDC on development within the Parish (i.e. take what we are given), as effectively, there will be no Neighbourhood Plan for the Parish of Horsted Keynes.
This is the best opportunity we have been given to identify what we like about the environment that we live in and through positive and active management of that environment we can ensure that it is not swayed one way or the other particularly when it is not in the interest of what the Parish has identified as being of greatest value.
More information on Neighbourhood Planning is available on the MSDC website http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/8467.htm
Thank you in advance from the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party to everyone who will passionately input objective views and collate data to make the Neighbourhood Plan for Horsted Keynes a reality.
Link to P&P item – July 2012 – Progress update and process reminder
Link to P&P item – June 2012
Link to P&P item – May 2012
Link to Annual Parish Meeting (10/04/12) – Neighbourhood Plan Presentation