What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
The Government’s Localism Act of 2011 empowered communities like Pool-in-Wharfedale to be able to shape their future through Neighbourhood Plans, which will become enshrined in the Local Council’s statutory Development Plan – the Leeds Local Plan in the case of Pool. The Neighbourhood Plan will be informed by local opinions on a variety of planning matters, such as the design of new buildings, protection and improvement of green spaces, built heritage assets, community facilities and local transport. Neighbourhood Plans are essentially planning-based documents. The plan will run until 2028 in line with the time horizon of the Leeds Local Plan adopted Core Strategy.
Where are we in the preparation process?
In 2013, Pool-in-Wharfedale Parish Council took the decision to undertake the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. The decision was based on concerns regarding the threat of new housing development, without any associated infrastructure, and historical and ongoing concerns regarding traffic pressures. There was also a desire to take forward the content of the stalled Village Design Statement project.
In 2014, a Steering Group of parish councillors, residents and a local ward councillor was set up to oversee work on the plan, following the undertaking of a preliminary questionnaire survey. During 2015 and 2016, more detailed topic-based community surveys on business/employment, spaces, living and transport were conducted, together with a primary school project.
It is on the basis of the findings of these surveys that this current ‘Policy Intentions Document’ has been produced. This sets out the proposed planning policy intentions, together with a series of non-planning actions and projects, which Pool-in-Wharfedale Parish Council is minded to include in its final draft plan, to be published for formal consultation in the first half of 2018. This current document enables the community to take the opportunity to comment and suggest improvements which can be incorporated in the final draft plan.
Following this current consultation, a draft plan will be prepared, taking on board comments from the community and a wide range of stakeholders and consultees. It will then be published for a formal statutory six week public consultation. After further modification, the final plan will then be submitted to Leeds City Council (LCC) for further scrutiny and independent examination to ensure it complies with legal obligations. It will finally be put to a community referendum of the people of Pool-in-Wharfedale, and hopefully come into force some time in mid to late 2019.