The purpose of a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is to give people a say in planning issues such as the provision of housing, promoting shops and local businesses, giving opportunities for employment and protecting green space. It also gives communities a say on what any new buildings should look like and what facilities should be provided to support development.
The Steering Group, a group of volunteers including two Parish Councillors, will be consulting widely over the next eighteen months to gather the views of the community. Our Neighbourhood Plan will, if we’re successful, become part of the planning process. It is therefore vital that everyone contributes their views on how they want our parish to develop in the future.
Neighbourhood Plans are a new government initiative under the Localism Act 2011. They can be produced by town or parish councils in consultation with their communities, but must be consistent with legislation and national and local planning policies. Once the Plan has been written, the whole community will have the opportunity to comment. The Plan then goes to the local authority and, when finally agreed, it will go for Examination. Once the Inspector approves the Plan, the whole of Westbourne parish will vote on it in a public referendum. Only after this will the local authority adopt the Plan.
The Plan will eventually become, alongside Chichester District Council’s Local Plan, the starting point for deciding where development should take place and the type and quality of that development. In other words, it will be a statutory document that cannot be ignored!