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I’m John Evans, I am a Parish Councillor for Nettleham in the Lincolnshire District of West-Lindsey. Our village has about 3,500 residents and a vibrant shopping area a medical centre and about 50 small businesses. We are only about 2 miles from the City of Lincoln and fortunately have good bus service. It is a pretty village and a desirable place to live. Thats why local land owners are keen to build large housing estates here, which would clearly change the character of the village.
The Parish Council decided to start the Neighbourhood Plan process in 2012 so we could decide where new housing should go and what was the appropriate scale of housing numbers per site. I was asked to lead/chair that committee, following from my leadership of the group that produced our 2007 Parish Plan and 2008 Village Design Statement.
The journey has not been easy as planning is so full of contradictions and opinions. Our Plan is now at Referendum stage with voting on the 28th January and hopefully adoption at the March District Council meeting. When adopted we will have the first NDP in the District so there has been a lot of learning for everyone, including the LPA, through this process.
Our District Council now has approximately 20 plans at various stages of the process in the District.
We also have an out of date Local Plan and uncertainty over a 5 year housing supply (sound familiar?).
We find that Planning Officers and Planning Committee Members are often very poorly informed about the significance of NDPs and the appropriate weight which they should be afforded and it seems to me there is an urgent case here for and Planning education programme on the subject for our Planning Professionals.
I look forward to sharing experiences with others