What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan (NP) sets out policies in relation to the development and use of land in the area. The Wickham Market Neighbourhood Plan will be a very important document which the government will consider in all planning decisions in the parish. The NP must be drafted by local people who are recognised as representatives of the community, and if it is approved by a referendum in the parish, it is expected to shape planning decisions - along with the SCDC Local Plan. The Wickham Market Neighbourhood Plan provides an opportunity for local people to have a say in what to protect and where to build in their parish over the long term. Local people are very enthusiastic about the project and the Parish Council agreed to go ahead with creating an NP for Wickham Market in March 2015.
Although it is not intended to be overly restrictive, a Neighbourhood Plan is a very comprehensive document. It contains a full survey of community assets and needs - from affordable housing to protecting the natural environment - and sets out the policies and projects that will define how the parish changes in the coming years. This vision will be very important for the community, Suffolk Coastal District Council and developers, among many other interested parties.
Why does Wickham Market need one?
Although there is no immediate requirement for Wickham Market to cater for housing, SCDC is being required to deliver more houses than their 7,900 target and Wickham Market is likely be allocated more housing in the future.
Consequently Wickham Market Parish Council decided on 13 Apr 15 that we should write a Neighbourhood Plan so that the village residents can decide how the village should develop over the next couple of decades. Moreover, this is a great opportunity for local people to suggest improvements that can be made in the parish under the umbrella of the NP.
How will the NP affect planning in Wickham Market?
The Neighbourhood Plan is a key planning document for the village. It will stand alongside the SCDC Site Allocations and Area Specific Policies Local Plan Document and take precedence for planning decisions within the parish.
Who is responsible for the NP?
The NP is being led by a Project Team consisting of a Steering Committee and a number of Workings Groups. The Project Team is composed of local people and elected parish councillors. More information about the Project Team can be seen here.
Who pays for the NP?
Given the importance of the Neighbourhood Plan, Wickham Market Parish Council has budgeted £15,000 to fund its creation, of which £8000 is to come from the Government's Locality budget with the remainder funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
A proportion of the budget will go towards Consultants Costs to assist the committee in creating the NP. Other costs will be required to fund community consultations, maps, technical documents and general communications and publicity. Importantly we will depend on volunteers for the successful delivery of the NP.