Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A Neighbourhood Plan for St Enoder Parish


In my time as a local councillor, I have been involved with a large number of planning matters, both large and small.

Sometimes it can be a positive experience, supporting proposals of benefit to the local community. But it can often be so frustrating, especially when developments are consented, which have been strongly opposed by local communities and their elected representatives.

I have campaigned for many years for all aspects of planning to be devolved to Cornwall but, at the present time, it is still largely driven by the UK Government which first launched its National Planning Policy Framework in 2012.

That was certainly the case when Cornwall’s unitary authority was preparing its Local Plan, and many of the debates focussed not on what was appropriate for Cornwall but on what central government and it’s inspectors would allow.

Many will remember how a government inspector dictated that the overall housing target had to be increased.

But one aspect of the present planning system, which has my full support, are Neighbourhood Plans. These can be produced by parish councils / community groups and can set out planning policies for their local areas.

The UK Government claims that “neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area … they are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided …”

It remains my view that this statement somewhat over-eggs what Neighbourhood Plans have the power to do, as they have to be in compliance with other “higher level” documents such as the National Planning Policy Framework and the Cornwall Local Plan.

But that said, Neighbourhood Plans can do a lot to safeguard what is important to local communities and that is why I have been involved with the team pulling together a Plan for my home parish.

I am pleased to be able report that St Enoder Parish Council has completed a “pre-submission” draft and it has just been published for a six-week consultation, which will last until Monday 18th February.

For those interested in what we have produced, the Plan can be viewed on the Council’s website at: www.saintenoderparishcouncil.org.uk, and anyone who would like a hard-copy can request one from our Clerk at St Enoder Parish Council, Foxleigh, Treviglas Lane, Probus, Truro, TR2 4LH.

This is my article in today’s Cornish Guardian.

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