Chigwell residents are being offered the opportunity to shape the future of their area. Chigwell Parish Council has taken the first steps towards preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan covering the whole parish by submitting an application to Epping Forest District Council.
Any Parish or Town Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. The Plans give communities an opportunity to shape the way in which their local area develops over the coming years. Neighbourhood Plans must take account of the District Council’s Local Plan and can be used to develop a shared vision for the local area by:
• Suggesting where new homes, community facilities and other forms of development should be built;
• Identifying and helping protect important local green spaces; and
• Influencing what new buildings should look like.
Epping Forest District Council has a duty to publicise the proposal for at least six weeks but the consultation period has been extended to eight weeks to allow for Christmas. A copy of the application, along with further information on neighbourhood planning, can be viewed here.
Councillor Richard Bassett, Planning Portfolio Holder for the District Council said: “Neighbourhood Plans can be a very useful tool in planning future development and I hope as many Chigwell residents will comment on the proposals as possible. This is a consultation on the identification of the potential plan area, not a formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan itself, which will come later. The consultation commenced on 16 December 2013 and, in order to allow for the Christmas period, will run for 8 weeks until 5.00pm on 10 February 2014.”
Comments can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Forward Planning, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ.
Councillor Bassett added: “Please be aware that all comments received will be publicly available and may be included on our website. Personal details such as the respondents address, telephone number and signature will not be published.”
Images of Chigwell
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by Government through the Localism Act in 2011.
Once they have successfully completed the preparation process, Neighbourhood Plans will legally have policy status and will be used to help decide planning applications. Within the parameters set by the district-wide local plan, a neighbourhood plan must be used to positively encourage sustainable development.
Following the end of the eight week period, the District Council must decide whether to designate the proposed neighbourhood area. If agreed, the Parish Council may commence work on preparing the Neighbourhood Plan. A draft Plan must be subject to a formal 6 week public consultation before being submitted to the District Council for examination by an independent Examiner. If the Plan is approved, a referendum is held within the Parish to decide whether the Plan should be used by the District Council to decide upon planning applications within the neighbourhood area.
Within Epping Forest District, Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Parish Council are already working on a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.