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Neighbourhood Plans - what are they?

 

The Localism Act (2011) introduced a new tier to the planning system, giving local communities greater control over the development of their areas. Communities can use a Neighbourhood Plan to create a vision for their area, establishing general planning policies for the development and use of land. This could involve where new homes should be built and what types of materials should be used, or where public open space should be located and how it will be maintained. Neighbourhood plans must conform to the local planning authority's Local Plan, and as such cannot be used to reduce the amount or type of development for which current planning exists.

Wells City Neighbourhood Plan - your city, your say

 

The Initial Stages

A Neighbourhood Plan thus gives the Wells community more say in the future of the City. The plan will promote community wishes and provide guidance for Mendip District Council and developers on where and what type of development should happen in the neighbourhood, as well provision of features such as walking and cycling paths, protection of green spaces, employment opportunities within the City and more. The plan will form a part of the Local Plan drawn up for the whole of the Mendip area by Mendip District Council and has legal weight, unlike previous attempts at visions for framing the future of the City. Such plans cannot, however, contradict policies that Mendip District Council has placed in the Local Plan, nor contradict national planning policies. It can’t be used to stop development included in the Local Plan.

How is it happening?

 

The Neighbourhood plan process was launched on 5th July, 2014, and was proceeding as a partnership between the City Council and the Civic Society. Input was taken from the local community, organisations and authorities in order to shape the Plan. The views were collated by a Steering Group of eight residents drawn from Wells City Council and Wells Civic Society.

The Pre-submission draft was produced by 2016.  At the end of that year, the City Council disbanded the Steering Group and no further work was carried out on the Plan.  However, in October 2019, the City Council resolved to revive the draft Plan and complete the process.  

So far:

 

Feedback received from the initial consultations has been varied and included issues such as:

 

  • control housing development

  • protect green spaces

  • improve play areas/recreation facilities

  • more long term car parking

  • park & ride/walk

  • promote the visitor economy/improve tourism facilities

  • pedestrianise the high street

  • prepare a ‘design guide’

  • preserve /enhance local services and facilities

  • more cycle & walking tracks

  • encourage more businesses

  • superfast broadband

  • improve bus services.

These issues are covered by the Pre-submission draft.

If you are interested in supporting the process of completing the Neighbourhood Plan, please contact the Town Clerk at townclerk@wells.gov.uk or Cllr Adrian I'Anson at  a.ianson@wcc.wells.gov.uk.  If you wish to make comment on any aspect of the Pre-submission draft, then please use the form below, or email .