This week will go down in the annals of the Neighbourhood Forum as being truly momentous! During the week, the Forum reached and passed one of its most critical milestones. This was the week that saw the deed done!
And in case you haven’t yet figured out what the hyperbole is all about: the Steering Group met last week and signed off our revised Neighbourhood Plan. It was then submitted to the Council on Thursday 18th when we asked them to take it through the remaining 3 stages to adoption.
It has taken us a little over 3 years, since we were designated, to reach this stage. To put some context around this: we were the 9th (out of 10) organisations to be designated by the Council to produce a Plan. Yet we are only the 3rd group (following Nuthall and Awsworth) to actually reach this point and submit a Plan. Furthermore we produced it and delivered it to the Council in less time than it took the other two – despite the complexity and scale of development facing our Area, which stretches far beyond the scope of any of the other groups. So, the Steering Group is feeling both mightily pleased and mightily relieved that the deed has finally been done since producing the Plan is the core raison d’etre of the Forum.
Anyway, you are no doubt impatient for me cut the waffle and get to the details: the 4 key documents that made up our submission.
1. The Neighbourhood Plan
- Here is the link to the Plan – the prime document. It contains a total of 43 policies spread over 6 core themes: environment, infrastructure, housing & sustainability, urban design, leisure & heritage, and employment & business.
- It is a large document at 86 pages + a further 30 pages of appendices. It needs to be this sort of length in order to provide the compelling reasons (backed by evidence) that justifies our policies.
- These policies are designed to deliver our core objectives and vision for the Area. Some policies have changed as a result of the consultation we carried out last summer. However, the changes have helped strengthen and ensure they are credible and robust.
- The main change to the Plan is that we have significantly amended the section that was dedicated to Chetwynd Barracks. As reported previously, this section caused some confusion to stakeholders who felt it was full of additional policies. Whereas it was designed to provide details of guidelines (and aspirations) for the masterplanners when they produced their ideas for the Barracks.
- So, in response we have broadened the scope of our guidelines and aspirations to cover the whole Area and we relabelled the section to make crystal clear its purpose.
2. The Consultation Statement
- Here is the link to this Statement. This document demonstrates the depth of engagement we have undertaken with you and everyone who lives and works in our Area. The independent examiner needs to be assured that the Plan truly reflects the ambitions and aspirations of the community.
- The document is 30 pages, which sounds a lot, but in fact around half the document comprises images of:
- posters and flyers we used to advertise consultation events
- attendees at events
- adverts in local free papers and
- extracts from these digests
- The Statement starts from the very first consultations we held and it’s worth a read, even though I say so myself. Overall, it provides a lovely potted history of our activities over the last 3 and a bit years.
3. The Basic Conditions Statement
- Here is the link to this Statement. This document is, quite frankly, as dull as the dullest document can be. It comprises 25 pages, mostly in two large repetitive tables, and not a single photo or image to relieve the tedium. I only recommend it is read by the most severe sufferers of insomnia. It is an expanded version of Appendix III in the Plan and even that, at 6 pages, feels overlong!
- However, this Statement is a mandatory requirement (no “ifs”; no “buts”) and demonstrates that the policies in our Plan align to the policies contained in:
- the National Planning Policy Framework
- the Aligned Core Strategy (the high-level strategic planning document that covers several boroughs in Nottinghamshire, including Broxtowe)
- the Local Plan Part 2 of Broxtowe Borough Council.
- This document will be scrutinised by the examiner to make sure our Plan adheres to these national and local planning documents.
- It will also be closely scrutinised developers who will search for and exploit any weakness they can find. Which is why we have spent more time than we care to admit in checking and rechecking to make sure this document is tight and fireproof.
4. The Plan Modifications
- Here is the link to the Modifications document. This is another hefty document at almost 60 pages. Again, it mostly comprises 2 tables (duplicated several times) with no photos or images. This document lists the feedback (from last summer’s consultation) we have taken to either:
- modify the Plan, where the comments helped improve/strengthen the document; or
- where we noted the comments as useful and valid, but where we decided no changes were needed.
- The document demonstrates to you, our residents, the examiner and developers that we have listened to the feedback from last summer and modified our Plan accordingly.
- It’s not particularly ‘readable’ as you really need to have both the old and new versions of the Plan available to see the context of the changes made. I imagine the examiner will take a selection of changes documented here to check they have been implemented in the revised Plan.
- The document, however, clearly shows the scale of the modifications we made to the Plan over the last 6 months or so. It is listed in the Consultation Statement’s Appendix, where you will find links to a number of other documents you may find interesting – not least a full list of all comments made by all responders to the consultation. All responses have been anonymised (first name or initials only) to protect personal data.
This edition is probably the longest one ever, but I’m sure you understand these are important documents and that – as a package – they represent the culmination of over 3 years’ work by the Steering Group. It has been a long haul and taken a lot of effort but the Steering Group knows it has all been worthwhile and, as a result, we have a robust Plan that reflects the determination of the community to ensure it has a strong voice in shaping the future of Toton and Chilwell.
And since this is such a long read, I shall quickly sto…..
Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll also find details of the scheme