Introduction and Background
A Neighbourhood Plan is a mechanism for helping communities, including residents and businesses, to influence the planning of the area in which they live and work.
All Parishes within the HDC area come under the Horsham District Planning Framework and 23 of them are already involved in the process giving 80% coverage. Parishes that do not have a robust Neighbourhood Plan may have their plans challenged and could have houses allocated to their area.
Areas that can be covered include:
- Developing a shared vision for the Parish
- Proposing where homes, shops, offices and other developments should be built.
- Influencing the location, type, design and density of new buildings.
- Aligning any developments with the local Infrastructure, such as Schools and Medical services.
- Road layout and traffic, proposing Pavements, footpaths and cycleways
- Protection and Enhancement of green spaces and amenities.
- Environmental aspects such as air quality, noise and cleanliness
- Employment and the local economic structure.
The Neighbourhood Plan will be based on the feedback from residents so that it reflects the needs of the Community and balances those with the needs of the District and County Councils.
Our policies cannot require external bodies, such as the County or District Councils, to carry out our aspirations for matters that fall under statutory operation (i.e. road calming). In such cases we can include Aims in the Plan which set out the Parish Council’s support for local initiatives.
When will the plan be in place?
The whole process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan typically takes two years. The Plan is built upon feedback from the community to ensure that it reflects the views, as far as possible, of those affected by it.
The Plan has to be in conformity with national planning guidance and the strategic policies of Horsham District Council. An independent Examiner, in due course, will examine the Plan to check it has fully met these requirements before recommending whether the Plan can proceed to Referendum.
Does this mean more development?
A new standard approach to calculating housing need has been proposed by Government. If implemented, this approach will set out housing requirements for Local Authorities and in turn those preparing Neighbourhood Plans. This could have implications for the number of houses that need to be planned for within the emerging Cowfold Neighbourhood Plan.
What has happened so far
Surveys were conducted at the Cowfold Village Fairs held in July 2016 and 2017. The results are summarised here.
These were used to design a more detailed questionnaire and to provide the basis for our draft Vision and Objectives. This combined document was distributed to every dwelling in the Parish in late October and early November 2017. The results are presented on this website here.
The results of the October 2017 questionnaire indicated that about 70% of respondents were in agreement with the draft Vision and Objectives. Where appropriate, the feedback received was used to update and finalise the Vision and the Objectives, which now form part of the Neighbourhood Plan. These are presented here.
The next step is to take the views expressed in the completed questionnaires and expressed in our Vision and Objectives to formulate our Policy Aspirations. After scrutiny and careful drafting these will form the basis of the Plan Policies.
Call for Sites
The Cowfold Neighbourhood Plan Working Group published its Call for Sites in the County Times in November 2017 and on the website here.The closing date for replies was 5 January 2018.
The Next Steps
We have been made aware of 11 sites which could accommodate development. We will now follow the agreed Site Appraisal Process to assess these. This will allow us to ascertain which sites are the most suitable to meet the defined need of the Parish.
There will be a public exhibition of this information, detailing each one of the sites put forward by Landowners or their Agents. This will take place on Friday March 23rd in the Village Hall between 12:00 and 20:00 so as to, hopefully, give everyone the chance to come and see the information and give us their feedback.
Cowfold is a vibrant Community with a great sense of identity. it is very important that we do our utmost to protect this Community Spirit as we strive to meet the needs of the majority of residents within the framework of legislation.
Do come along at any time on Friday March 23rd between Noon and 8pm and have your say.
The feedback from the questionnaire conducted in October 2018 indicated that many believed that there is an issue with car parking in the village and we are carrying out more in-depth research on this topic. We would be grateful for your help by completing the car questionnaire here. (please submit your responses by 31 March 2018.)
If you have any comments, either on the overall process or on the results of the latest questionnaire, please complete complete the comments form here.