It should be clear that amongst other things, Neighbourhood Planning supports a ‘growth’ agenda, and by ‘growth’ we mean both housing and employment. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the community can’t have a say in how the area grows. Firstly, it’s important to recognise that growth doesn’t necessarily follow village or parish boundaries, however the look and feel of an area or village are both very important aspects when considering growth.
It’s the job of the Local Planning Authority (in our case Epping Forest District Council – EFDC) to determine what growth is needed, and this is set out in the ‘Local Plan’, which on 9th February 2023 was found ‘Sound’, meaning the development sites and housing numbers included within it have been agreed, which for our Parish includes the following:
TOTAL – At least 2,272 New Homes for North Weald Bassett (Thornwood, Hastingwood and North Weald)
(for full details of the EFDC Local Plan, or for further details, go to www.efdclocalplan.org)
Many of you will also know that other developers are looking to add additional sites for development (Quinn Estates North Weald Park, and Peer Groups land to the east of North Weald Village), neither of which are included in the Local Plan. However Neighbourhood Plan could go down the path of allocating such sites for development if, after consultation, this is what the community wants, but these would be in addition to any that the Local Plan allocates.
Is Growth a bad thing?
This depends on your point of view! Many people accept the need for smaller, more affordable homes for our children, as well as well designed homes for our ever increasing ageing population. But most people agree that if growth is necessary, it must be the right growth, in the right location, with the right infrastructure, at the right time!
How can the Neighbourhood Plan help?
What a Neighbourhood Plan can’t do is stop any development agreed in the Local Plan….BUT IT CAN HELP SHAPE IT.
A Neighbourhood Plan can:
- Say what new homes should look and feel like
- Protect and shape open spaces for our children and recreation
- Say where community facilities should be located
- Address certain highway issues
- Address employment issues
- Agree a vision for the area
- Influence the type, design, location and mix of new development
- Protect the Landscape, character and heritage of our area
- Car Parking
- Cycling and walking provision
Cringleford Neighbourhood Plan has a policy which states that the ‘Layouts for new development should be designed to the highest possible standard and make sensitive use of local topography, make generous provision for open green spaces which are linked to the wider natural environment and accessible to the public, provide streets characterised by sections comprising road, tree-lined verges (with provision for parking), footpaths, ’soft’ boundary treatments and which allow for well-managed front and rear gardens, provide well-designed groups of houses, located in attractive, inclusive and secure spaces, maintain a ‘human scale’ with regard to building heights, road widths, sight lines, coherent layout, low noise levels and appropriate lighting in houses and on streets, provide for sustainable waste management, principally by having adequate storage space for refuse bins and incorporate Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) principles to minimise flood risk.’
Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan has a policy which states that ‘Where appropriate, new developments are to include play facilities for young people as an integrated provision of play facilities in the village, provided the facilities will not have a detrimental effect on the amenities of local residents, but maintain natural surveillance. Play facilities are to be established with appropriate long-term arrangements for their management to ensure that they remain high quality, safe, and relevant to children in the village. This will include financial contributions or other means to support initial costs and ongoing maintenance and/or the transfer of the land to an appropriate body by agreement with the planning authority.’
Bishops Stortford Neighbourhood Plan has a policy which states that ‘Proposals that result in the loss of use, buildings or land for public or community use will not be supported unless
an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown that the facility is no longer needed in its current form or the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by enhanced provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or the development is for an alternative community facility, the need for which clearly outweighs the loss. Proposals that retain or enhance the provision, quality and accessibility of existing uses, buildings or land for public or community use will be supported, where they do not conflict with other policies within this Plan. Proposals for new uses, buildings or land for public or community use Should be in suitable locations, served by a choice of sustainable travel options, and should be of an appropriate scale and flexible design to enable multiple uses throughout the day.’
Tattenhall Neighbourhood Plan has a policy which states that ‘Development should Identify the realistic level of traffic it is likely to generate. It must assess the potential impact of this traffic on pedestrians, cyclists, road safety, parking and congestion within the parish and include measures to mitigate any impacts. Development that would give rise to unacceptable highway dangers will not be permitted.’
Great Dunmow Neighbourhood Plan has a policy which states that ‘The development of land and premises to provide employment opportunities will be supported and encouraged subject to employment land being easily accessible and well connected to the Town Development Area and not being detrimental to the visual and/or environmental character and amenity of the area (i.e. noise, fumes and smell, litter, traffic, general disturbance). ‘
Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan’s vision for the area is that ‘By 2031, Morpeth will be recognised as a historic market town, based in a rural setting with a vibrant town centre. It will have harnessed its growth potential, whilst retaining its strong local identity and distinctiveness. Pegswood will be a more sustainable settlement with a strong sense of identity. The four settlements, Hebron, Hepscott, Mitford and Pegswood will continue to look to Morpeth as a local service centre but retain their distinct characters and separateness from the town.’
Yokall neighbourhood Plan has a policy which states that ‘New development must deliver good quality design. In order to achieve this all new development must respond to the existing pattern of development in terms of enclosure and definition of streets and spaces; be well integrated with its surroundings by reinforcing existing connections and taking any opportunities for creating new ones; provide convenient access to community services and facilities; have good access to public transport or otherwise help reduce car dependency; provide a mix of housing types and tenures that suit local housing needs, including housing suitable for older persons as appropriate; create a place with a locally inspired or distinctive character; take advantage of the local topography, landscape and water features, trees and plants, wildlife habitats, existing buildings, site orientation and microclimate; provide buildings, landscaping and planting to create well defined streets and spaces; take advantage of views into and out of the site in order to make the development easy to access and to navigate through; provide streets which encourage low vehicle speeds and which can function as safe, social spaces; integrate car parking within landscaping so that it does not dominate the street…’
Branston Neighbourhood Plan has a policy which states that ‘Proposals requiring consent which affect Local Heritage Assets must demonstrate how they protect or enhance the heritage asset. Development which affects a Local Heritage Asset should take account of its individual significance and seek to promote the conservation and enhancement of the Asset and its setting. The renovation or alteration of buildings or structures on the Local Heritage List should be designed sensitively, and with careful regard to the heritage asset’s historical and architectural interest and setting.’
Outwood’s Neighbourhood Plan has a policy that states that ‘Adequate and suitable off-street parking should be provided on all new developments in order to minimise obstruction of the highway in the interests of the safety of all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Parking areas should be designed to minimise the visual impact of the private car park on the street scene and on the amenity of residents.’ The policy goes on to list principals by which the development will be expected to accord.
Thame Neighborhood Plan has a policy that states that ‘Proposals for the development of allocated residential sites should deliver good pedestrian and cycle connections as part of a comprehensive approach to movement that aims to encourage walking and cycling and reduce reliance on vehicles.’
These examples show how communities are getting involved in Neighbourhood Planning, and ensuring their mark is placed on the future development of their area. Why don’t you do the same!