Neighbourhood Planning News

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING NEWS

At the October meeting of the Parish Council, the decision was taken that work on the Neighbourhood Plan should be suspended.

When the council initiated the neighbourhood planning process nearly two years ago, a major driver was that it would enable to us to preserve the rural character of the parish, safeguard against large-scale development and protect the green belt. Evidence from the ‘Have Your Say’ survey reinforced the importance of these issues to our community. Whilst it had been made very clear that Wiltshire Council would expect us to contribute to its housing requirement, we believed that through a Neighbourhood Plan we would be able to direct this development to locations chosen by the community.

The ability to allocate sites within Winsley’s Settlement Boundary is severely limited and all land outside of the settlement boundary lies within the green belt. Working with Wiltshire Council, we therefore began to identify a shortlist of potential sites that lie within the green belt but adjacent to the boundary in order to assess their relative suitability. Having completed this exercise we received the following statement from Wiltshire Council

“Our advice is that because of the Green Belt designation you will not be able to allocate sites for housing outside of the settlement boundary in the Neighbourhood Plan at this time”.

Wiltshire Council have now recognised that unless there is a national green belt review, for which there is no plan at the current time, Winsley is unable to make any significant contribution to the 2026 housing requirement as no development will be permitted in the green belt.

Without the current need to produce a Neighbourhood Plan to prevent inappropriate development, the council were unanimous in their decision that the considerable effort and cost of producing the plan at this stage could not be justified.  Much valuable information has been gathered throughout this process about how residents would like to see the parish develop over the next ten to fifteen years. Issues relating to services, amenities, transport and economy have been identified and documented. It was agreed that these issues can, at least initially, be dealt with by the Parish Council which is a democratically elected body to do just that and has a system for public involvement in decision making. In the event of any change to national policies relating to the green belt, the council will review its position on proceeding with a Neighbourhood Plan and update the community.

Helen Harrison

Chair of the Neighbourhood Planning Steering Committee
11th October 2014