The NP team are currently working with the governments design consultants, AECOM on strategic environmental assessments (SEA’s). These are mandatory for plans or programmes for future development consent of projects, including NP’s.
As you know the Parish Council are working hard to put together our Neighbourhood Plan as mentioned in the Pump’s last issue. We would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on those comments in order that residents have a better understanding of what needs to be done to make the NP happen. Be assured it is not an easy task!
We have had to secure the services of planning specialists to ensure that we meet all the necessary criteria required by government bodies and their inspectors.
The information needed to meet this criteria does sometimes change. In particular with regards to details received from AVDC. In part this is because AVDC have not had their own Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan approved as yet by the Planning Inspector. These are some of the ‘moving goalposts’ we are having to deal with.
With regard to housing, we are required to focus on development sites that could be brought forward over a long period of time (possibly as long as 30 years) to cover future demands made for development within our village boundary.
There are three main stages to selecting these sites.
- Firstly sites need to assessed. The process starts with those sites already in the HELLA (housing and economic land availability assessment) produced by AVDC, as well as other sites promoted or which have planning applications. This is about 30 sites. However, they can be whittled down fairly easily using the government criteria, such as, in a flood plain, must be adjacent to existing settlements, road access, or already allocated land. This may get us to around 10 sites.
- Secondly the remaining sites will be reduced again by the use of the SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) screening process.
- Thirdly, the final few site options that have passed all the required criteria will be put to the village for them to rate in order of preference.
It is important to note that for a Neighbourhood Plan to have any authority and be passed by a planning inspector, it must offer a minimum of two new development sites that would supply space for the housing needs of the next 30 years approximately. This is irrespective of the number of houses currently required.
We should also bear in mind that external strategic plans such as the Oxford- Milton Keynes-Cambridge expressway, East/West rail link and the new AVDC/Unitary Authority situation could have a substantial effect on this village. Currently we can only speculate on what that might be. Also we still have the Salden Chase proposed development along with traffic access issues for this site. This proposal is intrinsically linked with VALP and will greatly affect how our NP progresses and what we finally see in our finished Neighbourhood Plan.
Of course there are many other issues that a NP has to incorporate and the councillors will be working on those as well in order to deliver a comprehensive and sustainable plan that takes our village forward.
As and when the stages referred to previously are reached, we will confer with residents on our progress. When completed there will be a village referendum for the plan to be approved and then submitted to the new Unitary Authority which comes into being on 1st April 2020.
We are arranging a village consultation event about the VALP modifications within the next few weeks that date, when agreed will be advertised in advance.
As mentioned earlier, this is a complicated and involved process and we will do our very best (with the help of our SOV friends) to keep everyone informed of the progress we make.
Newton Longville Parish Council