Neighbourhood plans edge closer to adoption

The launch of the Wellesbourne Neighbourhood Plan

A vision of how Wellesbourne will evolve over the next 15 years is edging closer to becoming a reality after the village’s draft neighbourhood plan was put out for public consultation.

Created by the Walton and Wellesbourne Way, the neighbourhood plan has been painstakingly developed for more than two years.

The volunteer group has actively engaged with residents during the process, taking into account 40,000 comments from visitors, before completing its draft plan.

Residents now have until 6th August to give their final views on the plan, before it will be submitted to the inspector at Stratford District Council, and potentially adopted following a referendum in the first quarter of 2017.

When formally adopted, the local authority will have to consider the plan when making local planning decisions up to 2031.

Since 2011, Wellesbourne has had to accept more than 800 new homes, but if its neighbourhood plan is adopted it will carry significant weight in influencing the design and mix of housing types along with preferences on where they should be located.

The eight week consultation was launched during an exhibition at Wellesbourne Street Fayre on 11th June.

John Hargis, WWW chairman, said:  “The whole process has been much bigger than any of us anticipated at the outset, but it has proved to be a long but interesting journey which has highlighted and reinforced the villagers’ passion for protecting the future of Wellesbourne and Walton.

“Whilst it’s been hard work, we are confident that our team’s time has been invested wisely. As we enter the final stages of its development, we hope that we have created a blueprint that will future proof Wellesbourne and Walton for the next generation.”

Among the plan’s main objectives are increasing accessibility to allotments, local woodlands and maintaining and extending the views across the parish, while distinctive features of the village, such as its listed buildings and monuments must be conserved and enhanced.

It details how no housing should be permitted within the River Dene and Newbold Brook flood plain and how new housing developments should include a minimum of 35% affordable homes.

All new developments should be located in designated areas that help preserve the balance of housing around the traditional centre of Wellesbourne and maintaining the separate identity of Wellesbourne and Walton villages is highlighted.

Wellesbourne MP Jeremy Wright added: “Neighbourhood Plans have become an invaluable tool in local planning as they provide communities with greater control of development and regeneration in their area. I am particularly impressed with the work undertaken by Walton and Wellesbourne, together with the surrounding villages, to produce such a comprehensive and detailed Pre-Submission Report.

“I congratulate the team of volunteers for their dedication and diligence and I wish them every success with the consultation stage.”

A string of special drop in sessions have been organised for visitors to view and have their say on the report at The Coffee Stop Café.

The sessions will take place on Tuesday 5th July 10-11.30am, Wednesday 20th July 2-3.30pm and on Thursday 4th August 10-11.30am.

It’s not just in Wellesbourne where progress is being made in shaping the area’s future, Kineton’s Neighbourhood Development Plan is at an even more advanced stage and was approved to go out for referendum on Monday.

The aims outlined in Kineton’s plan include protecting and improving health facilities in the village with a health centre, pharmacy and rapid response team.

It says future housing developments should be small and in keeping with the character of Kineton, while efforts should be made to resolve local traffic and parking issues.

Supporting current and future retailers in the village and retaining Kineton’s significant number of historic buildings are also identified as key priorities.

So far the only local plan in the district to be formally adopted is in Long Compton, with 92.2% of residents voting in favour of adopting the plan in March.

A number of other local plans including in Salford Priors, Alderminster and Ilmington are also in development.