Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 4
The end of the 5th hurdle (out of 8) is in sight. If you have a look at the diagram below, we’re at about stage 5 ½, with the Plan drafted and with our consultants for a final check on Ts crossed and Is dotted.
Stage 6 is where it goes out to formal consultation – to all the statutory bodies such as neighbouring Parish Councils, Highways, Anglia Water, Archaeology, etc, etc – and also to all residents of the parish. The latter is causing me some problems – we had intended to have paper copies available for people to read in the pub, shop, and Village Hall, as well as an online version; but having a hard copy that may have been touched by many people suddenly seems like a really bad idea. We are thinking about laminating a couple of copies, so they can be cleaned between readers, and perhaps having one at the shop and one available to view at the (closed) pub; if you will be unable to see a copy either by this means or electronically, and would like your own paper copy, please let me know via the email below.
The diagram doesn’t give you a clear idea of timescales involved. Getting all the external reports completed, and gathering the evidence base, has been by far the longest part of the process, but that’s done now and hopefully the last steps will be quicker!
Stage 6 lasts a minimum of 6 weeks. During that time, and not before, we can also ask for an assessment as to whether or not we need an environmental survey; if we do, then that’ll likely take another 6 months, so let’s hope that we don’t!
Stage 6 ½ is where we make any adjustments to the Plan as a result of the consultation process.
Stage 7 depends on the workload of the judge. They may have other things on their mind…
As may all of us. We have a great community in Bentley. Keeping it safe, whether by taking an interest in the Plan or making sure your neighbours are supported in this difficult time, is essential, in my view. Instead of shaking hands at the moment, I’ve taken to doing the Star Trek Vulcan salute – and so I wish you all, Live Long and Prosper.
Chair, Bentley Community Plan team
Bentley Neighbourhood Plan Update 3
Well, there's light at the end of the tunnel at last. Since our last report, we've been very busy working with our various consultants to review and finalise the reports that, alongside the Village Questionnaire responses, form the evidence base that support our Policies.
It's the Policies that make up the legal framework of the Neighbourhood Plan, and it's essential that we get them right. Our policy consultant is happy that we're going along the right lines; we have a short-ish to-do list from him to complete the Neighbourhood Plan, then we'll have a consultation exercise open to everyone in the parish, where we'll invite you to read the draft Plan and comment on it. We'll then produce a final document that will go to Babergh so the district planning team can make sure it's fit for planning purposes; then it goes for a final legal check, has a parish-wide Yes/No referendum, and only then becomes law. Phew!!
It's still difficult to gauge when we'll finally get all the steps finished, as each of them may hit unexpected hitches; but touch wood, early next year looks good!
Incidentally, we have raised a number of issues against the draft Joint Local Plan, querying amongst other things the housing allocation against Bentley (which we think is unfair), and the new area enclosed by the Built Up Area boundary (which has got a bump or two we don't think should be there). We'll pass on news of what's happening here as we find out ourselves.
We haven't decided how to run the consultation exercise yet - so please keep an eye out for the invitation; we really need your input here!
Bentley Neighbourhood Plan team. December 2019
Bentley Neighbourhood Plan Update 2
Posters from the village meeting in April 2019 showing results of the Neighbourhood Plan Village Questionnaire
Vision Statement drawn from the questionnaire results
Bentley Neighbourhood Plan Update 1
NOW IS YOUR CHANCE to say how Bentley will be developed over the next 20 years. There is a legal document called a Neighbourhood Development Plan that will take your views into account; it becomes law for planning decisions. A village meeting on 12th June voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with one. Now we need your input!
What does it involve?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a big undertaking. It’ll probably take 18 months to 2 years to write. There are 4 main things that need to happen:
Describe Bentley as it is today – how many people live here, what types of houses there are, something about the history of the village, the amenities, etc., etc. That’s a large part of what the team is doing right now.
Consult with all parishioners about what’s important to them about living here – what needs to be preserved, what development is appropriate, where it should take place. See below!
Write the legal document that forms the Neighbourhood Plan – once we have got all the data in and are certain we understand what the village wants.
Turn the document into law. You will have a chance to approve the plan in a referendum. If a majority approve the plan, it will go forward for inspection.
What happens next?
The team is preparing a survey to gather the data we need. It’ll be ready soon after the schools go back in September, and we’ll deliver two copies to every house in the parish; we’d like every adult to fill one in. Extra copies will be available at the shop and the pub, or you can contact us via the website and ask for more copies to be dropped off. (We’re also working with the Primary School and East Bergholt High School, so youngsters get a say too. After all, they have to live with our decisions! If you have a youngster who doesn’t school locally but wants to contribute, please let us know.)
Surveys need to be completed and returned by the end of September. The same people who delivered your copies will come and pick them up, or they can be dropped off at the shop or pub. Responses are anonymous, but we would like to collect postcode data to make sure we have a representative sample.
After the survey results are in and the numbers crunched, we’ll share them with the whole village at a consultation event.
There’s more detail on what a Neighbourhood Plan is, and some examples of other villages’ ones, on the website. https://bentleyneighbourhoodplan.wordpress.com/
We can be contacted via the website, and we’ll have a stand at the Village Fun Day. The Parish Council, pub, and the shop notice boards will also have contact details.
Bentley Parish Now Designated As Neighbourhood Plan Area