Billingshurst council to make plan for the community

Billingshurst Parish Council has agreed it will make a plan to help shape local development but not for at least six months.
HOR 221007 Billingshurst High Street. MBHOR 221007 Billingshurst High Street. MB
HOR 221007 Billingshurst High Street. MB

Councillors debated whether they needed to create a Neighbourhood Plan during a council meeting on Wednesday (February 12).

A Neighbourhood Plan is a set of policies created by a community which helps shape the way development is allocated and designed in the local area.

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Members of Horsham District Council (HDC) and Action in Rural Sussex spoke to councillors about what the plan creation process would involve.

They were told the plan would cost £15,000 to £20,000 and would take up to two years to create.

HDC and members of the public had to be involved in the creation of the plan and the plan would not go through without a thorough consultation and a positive response.

Councillors were initially sceptical as to whether the plan would have any weight when it came to influencing proposed developments.

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Alan Grant said they had just completed the community plan consultation

He said: “Communities do get consultation tired esespecially if you are asking the same questions again and again.”

Ken Longhurst said he did not think the parish council should have to take on the role of planning authorities.

He said: “I expect the authorities to have planning experts to do this for me. I don’t expect the village and councils to do this.”

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Chairman Paul Berry responded: “It’s our function to listen to the community. The biggest plus is if it’s gone through with the community pushing it through.”

Councillor Barry Barnes agreed they should try to influence areas such as employment opportunities and drainage.

Mr Berry said they needed to look at HDC’s planning framework first so they did not waste time writing up policies which were not consistent with HDC’s policies. The proposed submission of the framework will be on view in April this year and is expected to be finalised in Spring 2015 .