Our Neighbourhood Plan Bethersden-Neighbourhood-Plan
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led document for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. A neighbourhood plan is about the use and development of land and may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, or allocation of key sites for specific kinds of development. It may deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport).
Why do a Plan?
The Neighbourhood Plan will be part of the statutory Ashford Borough Council Local Plan from 2015 to 2030. This statutory status gives Neighbourhood Plans far more weight than some other local documents, such as community plans, and even the existing Bethersden Parish Plan and Village Design Statement.
Visit our Neighbourhood Plan Facebook page to find up to date information on progress with the Plan.
What has been achieved so far?
The Parish Council outlined a proposal for a Neighbourhood Plan at the Church Fête in August 2013. Based on the support received, a Survey was carried out in January 2014. The results were presented at a public meeting on the 15th February 2014, and volunteers came forward to help develop the Plan, forming working Groups centered on issues relating to housing, the environment, plus business and infrastructure. The Parish Council provided back up to the working groups, and also liaised with Ashford Borough Council and other bodies. We were assisted by two Consultants approved and funded under the government “Localism” initiative. The draft Plan follows on from the 2003 Parish Plan (including the Village Design Statement) ) and its review in 2008.
Progress to date:
1. Production of the draft Plan – following national guidelines. Public data displays and consultations were held in August and September 2014 and January 2015.
2. August and September 2015. Six week local Public Consultation on the draft Plan – with local publicity and copies of the Plan available for viewing on the website, local shops etc.
The displays at the Church Fete (August) and in the Village Hall (September) included graphic displays of how the Plan was being developed and also copies of the draft plan booklet. The Consultation resulted in support for the Plan, but also generated many useful comments which will be used to fine tune the Plan before submission to Ashford BC.
3. Pre-submission Consultation with Ashford Borough Council.
4. Submit Plan to Ashford BC – who check that it meets the government guidelines and legal factors.
5. Independent Examination by an Independent Expert.
6. Ashford Borough Council arrange a Referendum in Bethersden – approval needs more than a 50% “YES” from those voting.