Newick Parish Council is making excellent progress with its Neighbourhood Plan (NP).
The Localism Act 2011 introduced this new form of community-led planning and Newick is maximising the opportunities it affords for local people to shape and influence future development in their area to the year 2030.
The NP enables residents to decide where housing development will take place. It also allows them to plan for the types of houses, business facilities and green spaces they want to see in their community in order that Newick remains a vibrant and sustainable village.
Newick’s NP is being developed by a steering group of six parish councillors – with support from the former Parish Clerk and input from residents with particular expertise or interests – on behalf of Newick Parish Council and the parishioners that it serves.
Community engagement is essential in the successful production of a NP and the steering group has striven to take an inclusive approach to its work.
This is important as ultimately local people will be asked to support the NP through a referendum.
The steering group has been extremely successful in its ambition to engage the people of Newick in the NP process.
Two consultation days have been held, the most recent event attracting 300 people who gave their initial views on the 12 potential development sites and the council’s sustainability objectives.
These events, and other ways of publicising the NP and consulting people, have helped to shape a questionnaire, which was delivered to every household in Newick.
This yielded a response rate of 41 per cent and provided further rich and valuable data on people’s preferences for development sites and the types of housing that the parish is perceived to need.
Cllr John Lucas, who chairs both the Parish Council and the NP steering group, said: “I am extremely pleased with the way the NP has captured people’s interest and ensured that their views have been heard.
“Developing the NP has required much hard work and commitment from many people. There is much more to do within our NP project plan, including our sustainability analysis and the drafting of our policies, but we believe the final outcome will be a success.
“I would like to acknowledge the grant we received from the Department for Communities and Local Government towards our costs for developing the NP and for the invaluable support, advice, guidance and expertise we have enjoyed through the input of Lewes District Council’s planning officers.”