Neighbourhood Plan Review
The current plan was approved in 2016, you can download a copy here. 96% voted Yes at the Referendum, there were 446 YES votes and 17 NO votes, with a turn out of 43.76%. On 29th March 2016 Cheshire East Council decided to ‘make’ the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan under 38A(4)(a) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. This means that the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan forms part of the Development Plan for Cheshire East Council.
Since 2016 there have been a significant number of changes to planning legislation, including national planning policy, a change of emphasis towards climate change and the publication of the Draft Sites Allocation Development Policies Document (SADPD) by Cheshire East Council together with a number of Supplementary Planning Documents relating to such matters as Housing and Biodiversity. The Government has also increased the number of houses it wants built in England to 300,000 per annum, a target that has never been previously achieved, and it is also placing greater emphasis on design in the planning process and so we need to revisit the design policies in our existing plan. At the same time there has been change and development in the village.
Against this background the Parish Council decided to review the existing neighbourhood plan, to bring it in line with all the changes that have taken place since 2016 and ensure that it still serves the community in the way that was originally intended. The Council formed a Neighbourhood Plan Review Working Group, the members of which are drawn from the Council and the wider community, to carry out the detail of the review.
Following a great deal of work by the Working Group, a consultation took place from the 14th of March to the 25th of April 2023, following distribution of the Draft Plan to every household in the village. During the consultation period there were four events to help the public explore the draft and ask any questions, including presentations and drop-in sessions.
There are a number of significant further steps in the process of getting the modified plan ‘made’ (the formal term for it being approved by all the relevant parties) including a referendum of the village.
Why Have a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood planning enables communities to play a much stronger role in shaping the areas in which they live and work and in supporting new development proposals. This is because a neighbourhood plan forms part of the development plan and sits alongside the Local Plan prepared by Cheshire East Council. Decisions on planning applications will be made using both the Local Plan and the neighbourhood plan, together with any other material considerations.
Neighbourhood planning provides the opportunity for communities to set out a positive vision for how they want their community to develop in ways that meet identified local need and make sense for local people. They can put in place planning policies that will help deliver that vision or grant planning permission for the development they want to see.
The Key Benefits of a Neighbourhood Plan are that it:
– can include policies to influence new building design, or alterations to existing buildings.
– can protect or propose the creation of open spaces (Green Gaps, Nature reserves / wildlife corridors, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and important historic assets)
– enables the local community to retain more of the money collected from development, to spend on local projects.
– gives us, the residents the of Bunbury, more say and control over our community
– enables us to ensure we protect the things we value the most
– enables us to manage change effectively and ensure that they benefit our community.
– allows us to encourage developers to build what we believe our community needs and wants. (such as greater numbers of affordable houses, developments more suited to elderly residents)
– can say where and what type of development should happen (new housing, or for business).