Article published in The Elmswell Newsletter - July 2014
The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is making good progress. Just to remind you - the purpose of the group is to produce a document which, when approved, is legally binding. It will set out the wishes of us, the residents of Elmswell, with regard to future development in our village. Over the coming months every household within the village will be receiving a questionnaire giving all residents a chance to say what they do and don’t want for Elmswell over the next 5, 10, 15 and even 20 years. The outcome of this questionnaire will be the Neighbourhood Plan. All future planning applications will be assessed based on the plan. So it’s important that you are involved!
The Group met on 11th June at The Blackbourne and discussed the Annual Parish Meeting which was held on 14th May. The input from this meeting reinforced the prominence of the forthcoming Bacon Factory development and the widely supported community aspiration for a relief road bridging the railway and avoiding the increasingly disruptive problems posed by the railway crossing gates. There was also broad discussion regarding the emerging Community Infrastructure Levy, the CIL, which can replace the existing system whereby developers are required to make financial contributions towards infrastructure required to support the growth that their schemes impose and to benefit the local community. It was noted that parishes would normally receive 15% of any such money but that, if a Neighbourhood Plan is in place than this increases to 25%.
The list of suggested issues which the Plan should address was reviewed in light of input from members since the last meeting, as was the analysis of the priority of ‘stakeholders’. This identifies the individuals, groups and organisations that can affect or be affected by the outcomes of the Plan and helps towards deciding how they might be engaged in the process and at what level. It was agreed that village clubs and organisations should be given a higher priority than the draft analysis had suggested.
Armed with this guidance, members were asked to look at draft questions which form part of the software provided by Community Action Suffolk to make the Plan information gathering process manageable. From this well-researched standard template will be created a questionnaire designed specifically for Elmswell.
Julie Cole and Peter Goodridge reported progress on the IT front towards establishing the plan website and Facebook page. It was agreed that THE Village Recorder’s help be sought towards sourcing maps to illustrate the growth of the village over the recent and medium term past and that Network Rail should be contacted towards establishing a dialogue regarding the important issues surrounding the railway crossing, including railway traffic flow statistics.
The aim of meeting fortnightly was agreed as essential at this stage and the next meeting was scheduled for 1st July.
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