You may have heard on the news, or seen articles in the press, about the Government giving more power to local people through the Localism Act.  This Act has introduced new permissive rights for local communities to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.

A Neighbourhood Plan can establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a defined neighbourhood area. The plan might specify, for example, where new homes and offices should be built, and what they should look like. The plan could also set a vision for the future, and can be detailed or general depending on what local people want.  The plan must still meet the needs of the wider area as set out by the Local Planning Authority – in our case this would be the Bedford Borough Council’s  Local Plan.

So what does all this mean for you and me?

Well, your Parish Council is taking the first step in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for the Parish of Great Barford. Through a Neighbourhood Plan our community would be able to influence the planning for our village.  The process will take around 18 months and will follow a number of steps through to a final referendum.

What is happening now?

The Committee formed by residents are currently preparing the Neighbourhood Plan.  The Committee will identify the issues to address in the Plan, develop a vision and objectives, and carry out consultations in our community.

AECOM Report 

A key element in Neighbourhood Planning is the use of land, and how best to satisfy the wishes of the local residents. This report looks at the designation of potential development sites within the Parish of Great Barford which are suitable for inclusion in the Great Barford Neighbourhood Development Plan. 

Great Barford Parish Council is in the process of producing a draft Neighbourhood Development Plan and is looking to ensure that key aspects of its proposals will be robust and defensible. 

The Great Barford Neighbourhood Development Plan, which will cover the whole of Great Barford Parish, is being prepared in the context of the emerging Bedford Borough Local Plan, which was submitted for Examination at the end of 2018. It is the intention of Great Barford Parish Council to allocate sites for development in the Neighbourhood Development Plan. The Local Plan states a housing requirement of 500 homes for Great Barford over the Local Plan period, but delegates the decision on the location of these homes to the Great Barford Neighbourhood Development Plan. 

Bedford Borough Council, through the work being undertaken to prepare the emerging Local Plan, has undertaken a comprehensive site appraisal of all sites (25 in total) that came forward as a result of previous “calls for sites” consultations. This work identified 15 suitable, available and achievable sites for development. Great Barford Parish Council has asked AECOM to take this work further by refining the Bedford Borough Council assessment to identify the best options for meeting the housing requirement in line with a set of local criteria to create a shortlist of options that would meet the Neighbourhood Development Plan objectives. 

This report revisits the Bedford Borough Council assessments, including the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment and Site Assessments and Potential Options for Allocation (2017), and looks again at all the sites that have been assessed as suitable, available and achievable. This report also assesses these sites against specific criteria that are important to Great Barford Parish Council, in order to narrow down the best options for meeting the housing need and the Neighbourhood Development Plan criteria and objectives. 

Site selection and allocation is one of the most contentious aspects of planning, raising strong feelings amongst local people, landowners, developers and businesses. It is important that any selection process carried out is transparent, fair, robust and defensible and that the same criteria and process is applied to each potential site. Equally important is the way in which the work is recorded and communicated to interested parties so the approach is transparent and defensible. 

The report presents a number of options for consideration in deciding which sites to allocate to meet the housing requirement.  Please open the Site Assessment report using the link below.  

Great Barford Neighbourhood Plan Site Assessment

Want to help? 

Contact:- Parish Clerk: clerk@greatbarford.org.uk  01234 870245

Committee Chair: Graham Pendrey graham.pendrey@greatbarford.org.uk  01234 870139

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