‘Positive support’ for neighbourhood area
PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 September 2015
Congresbury parish has been designated as a neighbourhood area by North Somerset Council, in a move which could help protect the village from future housing developments.
The designation will enable villagers to set up a neighbourhood plan in coming years and although it cannot override planning policy, a neighbourhood plan has legal weight and can influence decisions on housing, transport and the local economy.
Crucially for Congresbury, where planning applications have been submitted for two large developments, the plan will give villagers a say in where housing is built.
The council said: “The designation of the neighbourhood area is a pre-requisite to producing a neighbourhood plan and undertaking any other neighbourhood planning in the parish. The whole of the parish is a logical area to designate.”
Congresbury Parish Council said the community response to the idea has been ‘very positive’, but stressed the designation would not effect on the village’s settlement boundary.
Chairman Di Hassan said: “We were pleased to receive such positive support, especially from neighbouring parish councils. We want to learn from their experiences and be as efficient as possible.
“The exercise has thrown up some concerns and one is that the plan may imply a re–drawing of the settlement boundary. This is not the case and, as of this moment, the village’s settlement boundary has not changed.
“The neighbourhood plan is designed to examine what our village needs between now and 2038 to ensure it develops sustainably.”
The next neighbourhood development group meeting is at 7.30pm on October 28 in the Old School Rooms in Station Road.
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