Neighbourhood Plan Update
Housing Needs Survey
A questionnaire was designed by researching other similar questionnaires for similar villages, and with reference to the PC’s NP consultant. It was designed to gather responses to specific questions and collect parishioners’ comments, particularly on the possibility of a new small housing development in the Parish.
A copy of the survey can be found here Housing Needs Survey Final
It was decided to maximise the response rate to the survey by delivering and picking up completed questionnaires from each household in the Parish. Also, the questionnaire envelope was very noticeable in its colouring, and attention was drawn to the questionnaire and its purpose in the Parish Magazine.
All questionnaires were delivered 20/21st July and collected 10/11th August or soon after. A big ‘thank you’ is deserved to the small team of volunteers doing the footwork of delivery and collection.
Summary of preliminary key findings
- The high response rate of 63.0 % adds to the viability of this survey.
- 50+ people want or need to move within Haversham or, having a local connection, want to set up home in Haversham.
- If a small housing development was of affordable housing and for local people, it would be supported by a majority of parishioners.
- Affordable and appropriate housing for younger people or for older parishioners, specifically, would satisfy a local need and be acceptable to parishioners.
- Parishioners are concerned that the development should remain small, be of small homes, have appropriate parking, and be sustainably near to local facilities.
It is worth adding that older people downsizing into a new development would release 2/3-bedroom properties into the local market.
Parishioners’ response rate
211 questionnaires were received from the 335 households in the Parish, this is a high response rate ensuring that the figures we observe, the inferences we derive, and the decisions that we make will be well- based.
The Steering Group of the Neighbourhood Plan will now consult on the survey’s findings, setting up criteria that can then form a basis for a ‘call to sites’
The Parish council has set up teams to discuss and develop the neighbourhood plan. The teams consists of:-
Housing & Transport
Environment & Design
Community Engagement and Communication
Each task group has met, below is a summary from the respective task groups.
The four task groups are liaising with each other to ensure knowledge and thinking is shared. Their findings will feed into the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan itself.
If you would like to make any comments to any of the Task Groups at this stage please email Thomas Walker, the Parish Clerk email@example.com . Please put the name of the relevant task group in the title field and Thomas will forward your email to the team. This won’t be your only chance to make comments but we would be interested in hearing from you.
On the 23rd January the Neighbourhood Planning Group had a brief update with our retained consultant, Mr. Neil Homer from ONeill Homer Consultancy, to consider and plan our next steps. We are following Neil’s protocol for this whole process. Firstly we as a community will develop reports under a number of specific headings that Neil will then mould into a standard format, using planning language and a style which is appropriate for the formal requirements of the report, which has to be submitted to MK Council.
MK Council will then appoint an inspector whose responsibility is to ensure that the process we used to develop the plan, and what we are actually proposing in the plan are both compliant with the national regulations that govern the whole Neighbourhood Planning process. After the inspector has satisfied him or herself of those things, the report will be put to the whole parish community who will vote, by referendum, on whether or not to adopt the plan. By the time the report is submitted to the parish for endorsement, there should be no surprises – everyone should know what is going on, and what is intended. By then we will have shared the findings and conclusions of the Planning Group with everyone, and there should be no surprises, and the plan should be adopted.
The timescale for doing this is quite long. The draft report should be complete by June. Then following any revisions will be submitted to MK Council in the autumn. The Council’s process and inspector’s evaluation follows, and the referendum will be held early in the New Year (that is, in 2020).
One of the reasons for the length of time taken is that part of the development of the plan involves the identification of candidate parcels of land in the parish that we as a community are prepared to consider as suitable for development. Equally there will be areas that we might want to formally state that we’d like to protect in some way under the Plan. An important part of all this is a process of notification and/or consultation with landowners, and other stakeholders in the community. All of this has to be done carefully, thoughtfully, and sensitively. We also will need to consider other key issues, such as amenities and facilities.
More Help Needed
Another reason for the time-consuming nature of the process is to do with the effort required. Haversham-cum-Little Linford is a very small community, and consequently we have a small Parish Council (there are only seven of us altogether). With the exception of a part time Parish Clerk everyone is a volunteer. Parish councillors have other demands on their time so we’re always short of the amount of resource needed to run this process. Ever since we got under way with the Neighbourhood Plan last Spring we have had the additional voluntary support of some members of the Parish, who have very generously given of their time. Without their help we would never have got this far. But this next stage is going to need more help from more volunteers from the community. If you have some time to offer, it would be a great help. Your efforts will help ensure that the plan we develop for our community will be well developed and thought through, and will be something that the community as a whole is happy with.
So what’s needed? What are we asking for? The next step in the process is to put together a number of task groups that will tackle the key issues that have been identified, and will form the basis of our submission to MK Council. Way back at the beginning of this we identified seven issues that we felt were critical to us. These were:
- Managing Traffic
- Protecting Sensitive Landscapes
- Avoiding Harm to Biodiversity
- Protecting Agriculture
- Protecting Characteristics of Current Settlements
- Preserving Heritage
- Preserving or Enhancing Community Facilities
These original themes formed the basis of the first community open meeting, and were used to shape the community questionnaire last summer.
After some discussion and following the guidance of Neil Homer at the meeting on the 21st January, these seven themes have been brought together under the two headings of Environment, and Community Facilities. In addition the theme of Housing has been identified as critical to the plan in its own right. The problem of traffic moving through the parish, which the community identified as a critical issue in its responses in the questionnaire, will be looked at as part of the Housing question.
Each of these three themes will be addressed by a task group. A fourth task group will tackle Communication and Community Engagement. So the first three task groups will be directing their efforts to developing our planning proposition; the fourth group will have the job of keeping the community informed.
How will this work? Each of these four task groups
- Community Facilities
- Communication and Community Engagement
needs to have a leader and a membership of between 2 and 4 people. Each group will be made up of Parish Councillors and current volunteers, but each will also will need to be augmented with additional volunteers.
Each group will need to meet and work together around about 6 times over the next three months or so, together with some independent working and fact finding between meetings. The outputs from the first three task groups will be a draft report that will be pulled together by Neil Homer and his team. The fourth group will need to work for longer to design and deliver a communication strategy, and work on designing the report. Crucially this last group will have the ongoing job of keeping the community up to date with what’s happening.
Willing to Help?
If you’re interested in helping, please email me at Nicholas.Watson10@outlook.com, indicating any preferences that you might have for the different tasks. If you don’t have a preference and don’t mind which one you work on, please say so in the email. I look forward to hearing from you.
The Neighbourhood Plan Development Team
(If you have any queries, please contact Thomas Walker, Parish Clerk, firstname.lastname@example.org)