Update on Progress – November 2018

We are pleased to confirm that we have been successful in obtaining further grant funding following our application to Groundwork, the agents for Locality the fund provider. This amounts to £7,400 inc VAT and, as we reported in June, a further application for funding will be made in 2019 in the new financial year.

The Steering Group is continuing to work on the plan and is now beginning to produce the various appendices and supporting documents that are needed. An area that we are to revisit is whether we need to develop a strategy and policy for sustainable energy. Several Neighbourhood Plans have these, and one plan has successfully had accepted a raised standard of insulation, above that currently required, for their new build properties.
A small working group has spent some time in analysing a number Neighbourhood Plans that have been both approved and rejected by the Independent Examiner (these are employed by West Dorset District Council to review submitted plans prior to the referendum process which enables the community to decide if a plan should be adopted or not), the intention being to come up with a check list with which to mark our developing plan against. This will, hopefully, prevent later problems at the final submission stage!
Our Draft Consultation Statement has also now been produced. This document is required by the legislation and provides evidence that the Community are both being kept informed about, and involved with, the production of the Neighbourhood Plan. Work on this will be ongoing as it will be updated as the NP progresses to completion.

We have now written to all the landowners offering them the chance to explain their proposals to the Steering Group and we have now met all those who wanted to do this. We are now able to complete our assessments of the various sites and to select which should be included. We have a meeting at the beginning on the New Year to finalise this.

Under the regulations, the Parish Council must arrange a consultation on the draft of the Neighbourhood Plan – the pre-submission document – once the outstanding work has been completed. This enables the community and the District Council to comment on the proposals (the statutory time period for this consultation is 6 weeks) and for these to be considered in producing the final submission document – it is hoped to be able to be ready to undertake this consultation exercise by February or early March.

As, hopefully you are aware from our reports in the Wriggle Valley Magazine, David Torrance has stood down from the role of Chairman to become the NP Group’s Secretary, but he continues to represent the Parish Council on the Steering Group (and to contribute to the work of this), to report progress to the Council and for the administration of the grant. John Greenwood is the new Chairman and in November he met the Council members and gave a presentation to them. In this he outlined the broader view of the Plan which had considered the work done for the Parish Plan, the feedback from the various meetings and consultations that had been undertaken together with a number of private conversations between the interested parties. He confirmed that the intention was to endeavour to balance the various interests in order to produce a consensus of support for what was being proposed.

In stating this he had accepted that the process of pulling together conflicting issues, the needs of the legislation and ongoing planning changes had, and continued to, occupy a disproportionate amount of time.

We recently met with a member the Leigh Neighbourhood Plan group as part of our ongoing engagement with them. They have had some difficulties in developing their initial strategies and they are hoping to revitalise their initiative following a call for volunteers – this “sharing” is seen as an important element of the process and we are keen to encourage it.

Our Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report (SEA) has now been sent out to the relevant consultative bodies for them to “formally” respond and a number of responses have now been received. As part of this process we have appointed Dorset Environmental Records Centre to undertake Environmental Reviews of the selected sites and are now in discussion with them as to how this will be done.

We continue to use the Wriggle Valley Magazine to keep the community informed of progress. Additionally, as well as the NP pages on the Parish Website, we also have our own standalone website and our Neighbourhood Plan Facebook page now has 75 ‘friends’ and provides an opportunity for people to engage directly with the Steering Group members. Anne King continues to help us with this for which we are grateful.

David Torrance
Y&RI Neighbourhood Plan (Secretary)