Following a great deal of hard work from the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and a number of other residents over the past eighteen months, the Arlesey Neighbourhood Plan is nearing the stage at which it can be submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC).
The draft version which was publish in July has been amended following feedback from residents, statutory consultees and other interested parties, and at the meeting of Arlesey Town Council on Tuesday 15th November, the Council will be asked to approve the final version for submission.
Following this submission, CBC will review the plan for conformity and it will then be subject to another six-week consultation period before being subject to an examination by an independent examiner who will check that it is legal and has been correctly prepared.
After all those steps have been successfully negotiated, the residents will get to have their say once again when the Neighbourhood Plan will be put to a referendum in Arlesey. We expect this to be at some point in the spring.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A neighbourhood plan is a new sort of planning document that communities can put together to set out how they would like their town, parish or village to develop over the next 15 to 20 years or so. It will set out policies relating to how land is used and developed, rather like the Central Bedfordshire Council’s (CBC) Core Strategy but at a much more local level.
It will ultimately set the criteria against which any new planning applications will be judged, hence it has to undergo a number of formal processes to ensure it is robust and well-evidenced. This includes an independent examination and a public referendum.
If successful, the plan will be adopted by CBC as part of its Local Plan and Arlesey will have set out its detailed policies for future development in the parish.
Is this the same as the Arlesey Cross Masterplan?
No. The Arlesey Cross Masterplan was developed by Central Bedfordshire Council a few years ago—it was subject to public consultation in 2013 and was formally adopted by CBC in 2014. The Neighbourhood Plan is led being by Arlesey Town Council but in order to be successful, it has to be in line with existing planning policy, including the Masterplan. The Neighbourhood Plan cannot stop the development proposed by the Masterplan, but it can shape it to ensure that Arlesey gets the best possible outcome from the development.