What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
When David Cameron stood
up just after the last election and introduced his Big Society idea most people
in Horsted Keynes probably thought “this is what we already do?” However, once the Localism Bill was
drafted and people became aware that using the provisions of this bill, they could have a greater say in
the development of their local environment over the next 20 years, there was a little more interest and
the concept of a Neighbourhood Plan was formed.
The Localism Bill was
passed in November 2011 and now the hard work at Parish level begins. There
is significant work to be done so I would like to take this opportunity to provide some background information
and introduce the timescales that the Parish Council is aiming to meet and the activities that will be taking
place to compile the Horsted Keynes Neighbourhood Plan.
The Neighbourhood Plan will underpin the new District Plan prepared by Mid Sussex District Council
which includes overall development targets for the entire District. Ideally the development identified in
individual Neighbourhood Plans will, once aggregated, allow district planners to meet the government targets
for housing over the next 20 years.
For Horsted Keynes it is
therefore essential that we produce a Neighbourhood Plan that identifies any
housing development that the Parish needs – our contribution to the overall District development targets –
but more importantly allows the Parish to decide what, where and when any development should take
place. Without a Neighbourhood plan, the Parish could be at risk of having development enforced upon it
either by speculative planning applications which we will be unable to defend or to meet the overall
District development targets.
Many of you were directly
involved with developing the excellent Village Plan in 2008, indeed some of the
smaller things identified in that Plan are either in place or are being worked on. The Neighbourhood Plan will
build on the existing Village Plan and I would recommend that anyone with a keen interest in the future of Horsted Keynes refreshes themselves by reading this document a copy of which can be found on the Parish Council website (http://www.horstedkeynesparishcouncil.com/).
So what is the process being followed by the Parish Council?
We have decided to
approach the Plan in 3 separate phases in the expectation that answers from one
will potentially identify questions to be raised in the next survey. The Working Party is also investigating ways
to issue surveys electronically to reduce costs but paper versions will also be made available.
Once all the data is collated and analysed we hope to have the information needed to produce the Plan and hopefully the answers to the following questions:
1. Does the Parish need additional infrastructure in place to better support what already exists?
2. Can the Parish afford additional infrastructure without raising the annual precept (Council Tax)?
3. Have we identified any development requirements (housing and business)and acceptable sites for development that meet with the agreement of the majority of resident within the Parish?
Once the plan has been
drawn up and consulted upon in final form, it will then be put to a referendum of
all registered voters within the Parish (this will be held to coincide with existing
local elections, probably
between April and September 2013).
The referendum will be worded simply, i.e. “do the residents of the Parish accept the Horsted Keynes Neighbourhood Plan”
If 50% +1 of the turnout at
the referendum vote in favour of accepting the Plan, the Neighbourhood Plan
be accepted and its provisions will detail the extent of any development within the Parish over the next
20 years with reviews in the interim years if necessary to ensure that it still meets the needs of the Parish.
If the majority vote
against adoption of the Plan the Parish will be expected to accept the
decisions of MSDC
on development within the Parish (i.e. take what we are given), as effectively, there will be no Neighbourhood
Plan for the Parish of Horsted Keynes.
This is the best
opportunity we have been given to identify what we like about the environment
that we live in
and through positive and active management of that environment we can ensure that it is not swayed one
way or the other particularly when it is not in the interest of what the Parish has identified as being of
More information on Neighbourhood Planning is available on the MSDC website (http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/8467.htm).
Thank you in advance from the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party to everyone who will passionately input objective views and collate data to make the Neighbourhood Plan for Horsted Keynes a reality.This page is updated regularly - so please revisit.