THE NEED FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING

There has been a lot of debate in the media recently about proposals by the Government to streamline and simplify the Planning system and also against a backdrop of the need for more housing. The big debate is whether or not the new proposals will be helpful and also are the numbers of new houses that need to be built, and where, correct.

Questions being asked include will housing be allowed on greenfields, greenbelt, previously developed land (brownfield), and/or land designated by the Council for housing development? Is there anything local residents can do to ensure that they are involved in deciding and are consulted on decisions being made in their area?

In terms of the former Leeds City Council will be issuing their new Plan to replace the Unitary Development Plan in the next few months for consultation and at this point residents will have a chance for their voice to be heard.

In terms of the second question I would suggest that local neighbourhoods consider developing NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANS, this could be done by upgrading your local design statement or you could consider developing a plan from scratch to reflect the changed circumstances we are currently living in (using any existing Design Statement as an essential foundation stone). The first step is setting up a Neighbourhood Forum (a Parish Council can act in this capacity if one exists and it wishes to) which is basically a group of individuals agreeing to get together for the greater good of the community to develop a local neighbourhood plan. Hence I have been advised today that a consultation on the draft neighbourhood planning regulations says that the government does not intend to set a time limit for the period a local planning authority has to decide whether to designate a neighbourhood planning forum.

See http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/1985878.pdf

‘An introduction to neighbourhood planning’ is available at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/introductionneighbourplanning

Sites in Adel (next to the fields beside Holt Avenue and Church Lane, opposite Adel St. John’s Church), Mosley Wood Bottom in Cookridge, areas in and around Bramhope and Pool are all potential sites.

If you are interested in developing a plan in your area let me know and I will try and get like minded residents to meet to move this forward.