What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
The Localism Act gave communities a right to have more input into their local community and how it evolves, specifically covering aspects such as planning and development. This has led to communities all over the country working within their communities to put together their Neighbourhood Plans.
These Neighbourhood Plans are governed by law and once adopted they have a legal status, which means that any development or policies that are not in the plan or are contrary to the plan cannot take place. The Plan is led by the community, not by the Local Authority and enables the local community to shape their futures and promote growth-even if it a small amount of growth.
The Stogursey Parish Neighbourhood Plan, when adopted will become part of the plan making framework for the Parish. It will mean that any development will need to be in keeping with the Plan and as an example will make it easier to decide on whether or not planning permission should be granted. The Local Authority will not be able to control where we can and cannot have any development.
There are 5 steps to the adoption of a Neighbourhood Plan, the first two steps are actions for the local community and the last three steps are the Local Authority’s responsibility:
- Designate an area to which the Plan will relate.
- Design a Plan that will be presented to Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT)
- Independent check on the Plan to ensure that it does not contradict the National Planning Policy Framework or the SWT Core Strategy
- Referendum for the local community
- Adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan
The first step is complete – the designated area is the whole of the Parish of Stogursey.
Members of the Working Group have started the process of evidence gathering before proceeding to the second step. They are researching the type of information (images and plans) that may form the content of the Neighbourhood Plan. The Group will consult with residents as the plan evolves, however as you can imagine, this will take a bit of doing during the current pandemic. However there will be lots of opportunities for residents and business owners to have their say. The Plan belongs to the community and we do need people who live, work and spend time in the Parish to engage and tell us how they see our neighbourhood evolving over the next 15 years.