The work to produce the Charfield Neighbourhood Plan (CNP) has been progressing well and the Steering Group were confident that we would be able to keep to our planned timetable to produce the first draft.
However, the SGC Local Plan known as ‘the Core Strategy’ (adopted in 2013) has now been declared out of date and is being replaced by the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and the new South Gloucestershire Local Plan (SGLP). These are in the very early stages of preparation. As it is a fundamental requirement that neighbourhood plans have to reflect higher level planning documents including Local Plans, we met earlier this week with senior planners at South Gloucestershire Council to review the impact that their changes have on the formation of the CNP.
It was concluded that this absence of higher level documents means that we have to extend our timetable of delivery to reflect theirs. However we see this as an opportunity to develop our policies based on the latest plans that South Gloucestershire has for Charfield rather than address outdated policies. It enables us to continue with our community engagement and to build on the body of evidence in support of our own policies. The resulting CNP would be relevant, robust and with a long period of validity.
The Neighbourhood Plan process has value at all stages of its formulation. The CNP steering group has already used your responses particularly those obtained from the recent parish wide survey to comment on consultations and planning applications in the area, and we will continue to offer such insights into the community aspirations and concerns as appropriate. Some of these findings will be used in detailed evidenced narratives on the CNP web site.
In the next few months, the CNP steering group will be undertaking further fact finding and community engagement. We will establish focus groups to address particular areas of policy development – for example – housing density, heritage assets, traffic management and the re-opening of the railway station. We will keep you updated as to when these meetings will happen and they will be open to all interested Charfield residents. In the meantime, a number of residents who have already volunteered through the survey to join the project will be contacted. If you too would like to add your voice you can contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org