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‘Flexible’ boundaries survive into the new strategic plan ....

Thursday, 03 November 2011 0 Comments by Claire

A controversial policy set out in the Local Development Framework last year, has avoided the axe, despite many villages condemning the proposal as the road to urban sprawl.

P46 of the 11 October agenda papers for the Local Development Framework Panel states:

“Beyond built up area boundaries some forms of development will be permitted.  For example at villages, including those without boundaries, but where they have a range of facilities, mixed use development of market and affordable housing will be permissable.

“The development management policies of the Local Plan will provide more details of this and other development types relating to employment, recreation and other uses that can be acceptable in certain types of locations/under specified circumstances.”

This is an incredibly loose description of what development will be permitted outside village boundaries - and of course developers with their deep pockets - will be able to justify a wide range of schemes to be built,based on this loose wording.

At the LDF Panel on 25 October, there was a proposal that this development should be provided under a Neighbourhood Plan, which means the community gets to decide.  This is all very well and good, except for three flaws.  Firstly, the Government has plans afoot for businesses to create their own Neighbourhood Plans, which could override village wishes, if created first. 

The second flaw is that a Neighbourhood Plan cannot limit or prevent development so it will not stop a developer from submitting a planning application, which could be approved by the Local Authority if the case to build is accepted.

The third flaw is that the majority of parishes are unlikely to have the time or funding to create a Neighbourhood Plan, which can cost around £30,000 per community, to create - these costs must be borne by town and parish councils, as well as EDDC, which is unlikely to be very keen on funding these plans. 

And in a dubious move, the Government has decreed that landowners and developers MUST be on the Neighbourhood Planning team. 

Ok so this is four flaws.  Why have officers retained this damaging proposal - and why did the majority of the panel vote it through - when so many communities have stated categorically that it should be scrapped?

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