HOUSING & PLANNING
Housing & Planning is a major factor of the Neighbourhood Plan, it will allow us to outline and influence all future building development within the neighbourhood. Surrounded by countryside and butting up against a stunning beach and vast coastline, Mawgan-in-Pydar has a diverse demographic and aesthetic; housing and planning should always be considered and thoughtful.
What do Neighbourhood Plans do?
Neighbourhood Plans have replaced Parish Plans. They can put in place planning policy to guide future development and change in an area, like our parish. A neighbourhood plan is about the ways in which land is used and developed, or not changed, within the neighbourhood area. It can also suggest ideas for improving the area and providing new facilities.
All Neighbourhood Plans need to follow the National Planning Policy Framework and in Cornwall they also need to follow the planning policies in the Cornwall Local Plan. So we can’t just write anything we like, but having a Neighbourhood Plan means that we can add some details to shape planning and development within our local area.
What is the Neighbourhood Plan process?
A Neighbourhood Plan has to be based on information about the place and the wishes of the local community. This information is referred to as the evidence base. It includes information about the population, housing, transport, natural environment, community facilities, history and heritage. We are fortunate in having a well-written Parish Plan, because we can use a lot of the information from that to provide background for the Neighbourhood Plan.
We need to add to the information in the Parish Plan though, to make sure that the Neighbourhood Plan reflects the situation within our area now. There has to be community involvement at every stage of developing a Neighbourhood Plan, so things like drop-in information sessions, tables at local events and questionnaires are used to gather all the local users; and residents’ views and add to the evidence base.
The evidence base is used to prepare the draft Neighbourhood Plan. The draft plan will include the vision and aims for the future of our area as well as the policies for the plan. The Neighbourhood Plan policies will provide the local detail to add to the policies in the Cornwall Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework. When the plan is assessed it will be looked at to see that it meets these basic requirements.
The draft plan then has to be put out for consultation lasting 6 weeks, so that everyone can see what is being proposed and give their views. It also has to be sent to the Local Authority – Cornwall Council - and to other statutory bodies, such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England. Depending on the feedback received from the consultation the
draft plan may need to be amended before it is formally submitted to the Local Authority – Cornwall Council.
Once the plan is formally submitted to Cornwall Council then they will publicise the plan and arrange for the independent examination. This will consider whether the neighbourhood plan meets the basic conditions and other legal requirements. If successful at the examination stage, then the local authority will arrange for a neighbourhood plan referendum. So all the residents in the neighbourhood plan will be able to vote on whether they are happy with the plan. If there is a majority YES vote, then the neighbourhood plan is made. It then becomes part of the statutory development plan for the area, setting out planning and development policies for the local area.
Links below for the NPPF and CLP:
So where are we now with the Neighbourhood Plan?
The first step in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan is to get the local area recognised by the local authority. We have done this and our Neighbourhood Plan area was officially designated by Cornwall Council back in August 2019. Things had to go on hold for a while during Covid, but once we were able to meet again we got back to moving the plan forwards by building the evidence base.
We started that process with public consultation events at different locations around the parish area during Spring 2022. People who came to those events each filled in a little ‘postcard’ about their thoughts on living in and using our parish council area.
The postcards asked for responses to three questions: ‘What do you like about Mawgan-in-Pydar?’, ‘What would you change about Mawgan-in-Pydar?’ and ‘What would you like to see in Mawgan-in-Pydar?’. One hundred and eighty-seven postcards were completed at the consultation events, providing lots of information about what people think about our local area and these form part of the evidence base for our Neighbourhood Plan.
Those postcards, along with the information in the old Parish Plan, were used to write the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire that was hand-delivered to every dwelling in the parish and was also available for completion online from December 2022 to February 2023 . You will remember that our questionnaire asked for your views about a range of things in our parish council area, such as housing and development, the environment, tourism and employment. Two hundred and thirty-three questionnaires were completed and the responses have been analysed to give detailed information about people’s views on aspects of our area. The questionnaire responses also form part of the evidence base which is being used to write the plan.
We have also worked with Cornwall Council’s Affordable Housing team, as well, to run a Housing Needs Survey during March 2023, so that we have up-to-date information on housing needs within the parish. This gives us more useful information to add to our evidence base. So now we have built up an evidence base, the next step is to start to draft the plan.
The Neighbourhood Plan group is a small group of volunteers – we welcome new recruits to help with the plan! Although we have a range of skills within the group we are seeking the help of a professional to advise and guide us with writing the draft plan. In August 2023 we put in an application for funding to cover the costs of employing a Neighbourhood Plan consultant and that application has been successful so that we can move forward with the draft plan, aiming to submit it in October 2024.