Views from residents, and other interested parties, are now being sought on the formal Neighbourhood Plan that has been prepared by Ringmer Parish Council.
The plan is for the period up to 2030 and covers all aspects of local life that earlier consultations have shown are important to Ringmer people.
These include the number of new houses and the size, location and design of new housing and commercial developments. Also addressed are concerns about the strain development will place on key village infrastructure, especially the village roads, primary school and drainage system.
Crucially the plan also defines three countryside areas of the parish where new development will be restricted. One is an area of northern Ringmer, including the Plashett Wood SSSI, that is protected on the grounds of its exceptional biodiversity. The second is the east bank of the River Ouse, where it is hoped to provide the missing link in a long distance riverside path. The third is the ‘strategic Green Gap’ between Ringmer village and the Broyleside that consultations have confirmed is widely seen as vital to retaining Ringmer’s ‘village’ feel.
The consultation runs from today (Friday) until October 18, and the full Neighbourhood Plan can be seen on the parish council website, www.ringmerparishcouncil.org.uk. Paper copies are available at the parish council office and Ringmer library. Comments can be made in writing to the Clerk of the council at Ringmer Village Hall, BN8 5QH, or by email to email@example.com
Council chairman John Kay said: “Ringmer was pleased to be chosen as one of only 17 councils nationwide to trial this new approach to local planning. Difficult choices have had to be made. Parts of the draft plan may disappoint some people, but our aim has been to achieve what best meets the long-term needs of the whole community.”
He hoped that everyone would comment on which aspects they supported and what changes they wanted the council to consider.
Once all the consultation stages are completed the plan will be formally examined by an appointed examiner.
If it passes that examination it will be put to a referendum in May 2014 in which Ringmer residents will simply be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the plan.
A ‘no’ vote would mean all planning policies, including development sites, being decided by Lewes District Council.