From Jonathan Timbers
Saturday, 23 August 2014
You may have noticed that the news section of this website refers to a 'neighbourhood plan application' by Hebden Royd Town Council and the hilltop parishes (i.e. Blackshawhead, Erringden, Heptonstall and Wadsworth). I want to start a discussion about it and incorporate constructive suggestions into the plan as it develops.
One of the better things the coalition government has done is to give town and parish councils the power to develop their own planning rules. These rules will set out what developers can and can't do in a 'neighbourhood plan', which will cover an area defined by the plan. I am delighted to see that our neighbourhood plan will be developed by an equal partnership between Hebden Royd Town council and the hilltop parishes. As a result, it will cover a sizeable area and will be able to tackle issues such as flooding and the protection of the Green Belt.
To understand the opportunities that a neighbourhood plan gives to us, you have to grasp what can and can't be specified through planning rules. A neighbourhood plan must align itself with both the government's 'National Planning Policy Framework' ('NPPF') and the local authority's 'local plan'. Whilst this sounds restrictive (especially since the NPPF leaves a lot to be desired), there is scope for both vision and radicalism.
You can see a good example of a neighbourhood plan here.
DEFRA has also conducted some very helpful research on neighbourhood plan pilot projects, which give you an idea of what can be done. My personal favourites are all to do with affordable housing. The first gives farmers the right to (self) build homes on their properties for workers or their own families. This allows people to stay on the land and work it in areas where house prices have been inflated by relatively wealthy people coming into the area and buying up property. The other one restricts second home buyers from building properties in the area. There is no exact read-across from one neighbourhood plan to another (indeed, it might arguably defeat the object if there were) but I hope these examples show you the potential of a Neighbourhood Plan.
Please feel free to use this thread to make suggestions and ask me questions. If I don't get back to you immediately, please forgive me. I have mayoral engagements in Warstein and St Pol over the next few weeks, and I will be working in Geneva for a while in September because of my day job. I also have a six year old who demands, and deserves, both entertainment and love. Hopefully, one of the other wonderful local town or parish councillors involved in the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, or the ever ready Anthony Rae, who we have co-opted onto the group, will pitch in, if I am silent.
From Bob Deacon
Monday, 1 September 2014
The Mayor's note on the aspiration of the local hill top parishes and Hebden Royd Town Council to develop a Neighbourhood Plan is welcomed by the Hebden Bridge Partnership.
We look forward to making inputs into this plan as it unfolds. The HB Partnership, responsible in the past for the Bridge Gate pedestrianisation and other improvements, is now working on 9 priorities. These include:
- improved access to buildings and improved footpaths for people with disabilities;
- better public transport as well as an extended car park at the station;
- increasing affordable housing on brown field sites and other locations in the area that used to be housing;
- improvements to the Calder Holmes Park;
- along with other priorities such as developing the Valley Road Site much more creatively than building a Sainsbury unit there.
The opportunity that this local planning process gives for wresting back a little of the planning process from Calderdale is to be welcomed. It is hoped that some members of the public might attend the series of meetings to get this process going starting with the first tonight (1st Sept 7.30 pm) in the Greenwood Room at the Town Hall.
Hebden residents are call also welcome to the AGM of the Partnership on October 25th at 7.30 in the Town Hall as well as to its next open management Board meeting on September 8th also in the Town Hall.
Learn what we are trying to do to further improve the town for all as a place to live, work and visit. New activists welcome.
Bob Deacon, Chair HBP. (2014).