What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework that can guide and shape the future development and growth of a town or local area. Developed with full engagement and consultation with all local residents, the Neighbourhood Plan should set the vision for the future development of an area, identify key policies to inform planning decisions, set out proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, and help protect and maintain key community assets that are important to the local area.
It must be stressed that while the Town Council has a role to play in helping support this work and will need to agree the plan when developed, this is not a Town Council led piece of work; it is led by the community.
The other key aspect to stress, is that the plan must be seen to reflect the views of as much of the community as possible. That is why it is so important that as many residents as possible let us know what they think, primarily by way of the various surveys and consultation events.
What can a Neighbourhood Plan do?
The Neighbourhood Plan is a direct way that local communities can influence the planning of the area in which they live and work. Once agreed, the vision, policies and proposals within the Plan must be taken into account when the Local Planning Authority (in our case, Cotswold District Council) are making decisions on planning permissions.
The Plan can set into policy:
where we choose to have new homes, shops and offices to be built
what those new buildings should look like
what infrastructure should be provided
protect important local green spaces or other community assets
set key criteria that developers must consider when they want to build on a site (i.e. parking provision, affordable housing, design requirements, etc.)
As well as policies, the plan can also identify projects that would benefit the town. These are positive things we can do. It does not guarantee they will be implemented, particularly as no funds are attached to this, but it provides a very strong indication of what the community would like to see happen.
What can’t a Neighbourhood Plan do?
It is important to realise that a Neighbourhood Plan cannot stop development, and cannot propose anything that is contrary to the Cotswold District Local Plan (which sets out the overall levels of housing and employment growth, and identifies the key large sites where this development will happen). So, for example, the Moreton-in-Marsh Neighbourhood Plan could not stop the housing and employment sites that have been set out in the draft Local Plan (See Fig 2). The Plan can, however, guide and direct where any further future growth should happen in the longer term, but it must be open to the fact that appropriate future housing and employment growth will have to happen.
What are the boundaries of the Neighbourhood Plan
The neighbourhood plan for Moreton-in-Marsh follows the parish boundary as shown in Fig 1.
How far ahead does the plan look to
The plan is valid from when it is approved until 2031.
Figure 1: The Neighbourhood Plan covers the land within the Moreton-in-Marsh parish boundary
Figure 2: the Cotswold District Plan for Moreton-in-Marsh showing the allocated land use upto 2031