The Neighbourhood Plan – Ever More Urgent
You may have heard that Havant Borough Council has decided, in spite of considerable local opposition, to proceed with revising its Local Plan including the new housing development sites identified in their Housing Statement. You will recall that this involves a minimum of 2,000 new homes in North Emsworth.
The Forum Management Committee discussed at length at our January meeting whether and how the Forum should engage with this process. It was unanimously agreed that we should work with the Council on their revision of the Local Plan and their consultation on the 1,600 home strategic site between Denvilles and Emsworth. Doing this would enable us to have some influence over the Local Plan and the strategic site masterplan and to do our best to mitigate the many concerns that we have about the proposals. (See the details below about how you can get involved).
It was agreed that the need for an Emsworth Neighbourhood Plan is now even more urgent and important for the future of Emsworth and that we should aim to complete the Neighbourhood Plan on the same timescale as the new Local Plan.
Just to remind you, an Emsworth Neighbourhood Development Plan will become part of the Local Plan for Havant borough, which means that the policies and proposals contained within it will be used in the determination of planning applications, including appeals. The policies produced cannot block development that is part of the Local Plan but they can shape and influence where that development will go and what it will look like. A Neighbourhood Plan has the same legal status as the Local Plan once it has been agreed at a referendum and is brought into legal force by the local planning authority. It is also our intention that the Plan will include an updated version of the Emsworth Design Statement – thereby giving the EDS more weight in planning decisions.
The government has announced it is introducing a new Housing Bill that will add to the pressure on local planning authorities to identify sites for housing development in order to meet the national housing targets. This too adds to the urgency and importance of us completing the Emsworth Neighbourhood Plan as soon as possible so that development can be managed sensitively.