Posts Tagged ‘Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan’
As part of the Inspector’s Examination of the Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) Plan, Shropshire Council committed to an early partial review of its Local Plan, extending the plan period from 2026 to 2036. Strategic options include:
- Housing Requirement
- Strategic distribution of future growth
- Strategies for employment growth
- Delivering development in rural settlements
Much Wenlock, of course, has a Neighbourhood Development Plan which was adopted in July 2014. It covers the period from 2013 to 2026 and clearly the roll forward to 2036 raises a number of important issues. I am keen to ensure that the consultation process recognises the Neighbourhood Plan’s importance and the local tensions around housing numbers. I therefore spoke at Shropshire Council’s Cabinet meeting today (18th January). You can hear what I said at about 22:40 and Portfolio Holder Cllr Mal Price’s response at around 28:10.
Planning – formal proposals for new development – is sometimes viewed with some unjustified suspicion. On the contrary, it is an open process and one where you can express your views.
There is a consultation period during which you may make comments to Shropshire Council. This is normally three weeks but, in practice, the Council will accept comments up until a day or two before the application is decided.
Only a minority (less than 5%) of applications go to planning committee. Most will be decided by officers, so it is best to get comments in promptly. If the application is amended, or if a further issue comes to mind after you have made your initial comments, you may submit a further comment.
Objections will generally only carry weight with the planning officer or committee if they are made on “material planning considerations”. These include issues such as loss of sunlight or privacy, highway issues, noise and smells, and the effect on listed buildings and conservation areas. Read the rest of this entry »
The adopted Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan seeks to encourage home ownership at an affordable level which suits the needs of an ageing population, first- time buyers and young families. It cites small schemes comprising up to ten dwellings to remain as affordable housing for people with a local connection, in perpetuity.
Marches CLT Services, a consultancy provided by Shropshire Housing Group with expertise in community-led housing, has been working with a small group of local people to explore this ambition. The Town Council will consider how it will work with this community-led housing initiative at its next meeting on 3rd September 2015. The meeting will, as usual, be held in public. Further information about the scheme may be found on the website: www.shropshirehousinggroup.co.uk/muchwenlockcommunity
At a public meeting that I called this month, Shropshire Council planning officers explained how the Neighbourhood Plan might work in practise. There were a number of questions from the attendees about affordable housing – one of the key elements of the Plan.
A dialogue with a housing association was proposed. This community-led approach, pioneered right here in Shropshire, could work in parallel with a Community Land Trust, as proposed by Much Wenlock Town Council.
This could provide real choice and control, for instance ensuring that the houses are occupied by local people. If you are willing to help or are interested in learning more about being part of a working group, becoming a trustee or being on a design panel, please contact me.
If you are a landowner who would like to discuss the potential of this initiative with Shropshire Council’s Housing Enablement Team, please call 01743 252428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An indication of the community’s opinions has emerged from the popular survey which Philip Dunne MP and I conducted in March and April. An encouraging 17% of all electors in Much Wenlock Division responded and indicated that 81% are in favour of the principle of a locally prepared Neighbourhood Plan to determine where and how much development should take place in the area.
The answers also showed that 61% disapproved, or disapproved strongly, of the siting of large (over 40m high) wind turbines in our neighbourhood. Only 23% approved of them. The prospect of smaller turbines was also unpopular with the majority expressing an opinion.
Just under 50% experienced slow broadband speed – hopefully this will be much improved for many after the superfast broadband rollout in Much Wenlock in the second half of this year.
67% of mobile phone users who responded could get no more than two bars of reception in the Much Wenlock area. The Government has set aside £150 million to help boost rural mobile signal availability and we will be pressing the needs of Much Wenlock residents to Arqiva, who are responsible for delivering the Mobile Infrastructure Project.
Finally, there is strong consensus (85%) in favour of the Shropshire Council Tax freeze and Shropshire Council spending cuts focused on reducing administration costs (77%).
As you may have read here and in the local press, the Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan referendum returned an 85% “Yes” vote. This is a very firm endorsement of the first such plan in the West Midlands to reach this stage. The turnout was 42%, one of the highest of the seventeen plans put to referendum in England so far.
What happens now? I have arranged a meeting on 22nd July where Shropshire Council officers will explain how the Neighbourhood Plan will work in practice when a planning application for a new development is submitted. They will also touch on other topics including the Much Wenlock Place Plan and the Community Infrastructure Levy.
All are welcome and there will be a question and answer session – the Priory Hall doors open at 7:30pm.
The Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan referendum took place yesterday. The referendum is one of three that took place on 22nd May. The fourteen that had already taken place across England have all received a “Yes” vote with the levels of approval varying between 74% and 96%. Much Wenlock delivered a very clear 85% “yes” vote.
This is a clear and positive outcome in Much Wenlock, which will help to preserve its unique character and allow an appropriate and well-managed level of growth to ensure its on-going sustainability as a vibrant and attractive market town.
The ground-breaking Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan is described in his report by the independent examiner, Andrew Ashcroft, thus: “The Plan has been prepared in a very professional way. Its design, policies and approach are informative and easy to understand, and it is clear that there has been a high degree of community support and interest. Much of this is captured in a well-presented web-site www.wenlockplan.org.”
He goes on to say “The Plan is very comprehensive and sets out 40 policies underpinning nine objectives. This is a huge challenge in itself for a neighbourhood planning group.” He continues “This professional and thorough approach is to be commended to others embarking on this process and the Steering Group has had several visits from other such groups preparing neighbourhood plans.” Mr Ashcroft concludes his 38-page report as follows: “I trust that the preparation and implementation of this neighbourhood plan will help Much Wenlock to preserve its unique character and to allow an appropriate and well-managed level of growth to ensure its on-going sustainability as a vibrant and attractive market town.” The report can be found here
.Subject to confirmation of the date, the referendum will be held locally on 22nd May when the question will be “Do you want Shropshire Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Much Wenlock to help it decide planning applications in the Neighbourhood area?”.
The independent examiner is seeking clarification from the Town Council on a series of issues in the Plan that were not considered at the October hearing. Until this is resolved the examiner cannot complete his report. This means that the referendum on the Plan will be delayed until the New Year.
The independent examiner held a hearing into the Neighbourhood Plan at Priory Hall on 17th October. He asked questions of representatives of the Town Council, Shropshire Council and Wenlock Estates/Persimmon Homes. An audience of up to forty residents listened intently and the general opinion was that the hearing was conducted in a very even-handed manner. The examiner’s report will be sent to Shropshire Council in early November, when we will learn the outcome.