The FBC Draft Local Plan is about to be made public. The plan sets out how the Council plans to tackle the growing need for new homes in the Borough over the next 20 years. The press release announcing the release is worth reading and is here. People will be able to have their say on the proposals in writing and at a series of Community Action Team (CAT) meetings and exhibitions.
The Titchfield exhibition is on 13th November between 2pm and 6pm and the CAT meeting is between 7pm and 8.30p, both in St Peter’s Church.
How does the FBC Local Plan affect the Titchfield Neighbourhood Plan?
Importantly, FBC has not identified any sites for development within the NP Plan area.
However, this does not mean that developers will go away – they will continue to look for suitable sites on which to build. Nor does it mean that there will be no new houses built in Titchfield in the coming years. Some dwellings could be built on sites as yet unidentified (windfall sites). The Forum’s own survey showed that the preference is for affordable (to rent or to buy) 2/3 bedroom dwellings. And the Forum sub-group looking into housing has identified some sites where dwellings might go. The important point is that the Neighbourhood Plan, which has statutory status, will contain policies that will ensure that any houses built in the NP area over the next twenty years will be in accordance with the residents wishes – not the wishes of developers.
Recent government papers show that local neighbourhood plans are carrying increasing weight. Currently there are 2,200 groups like ourselves working on them. The Borough and the Forum are working together to avoid any serious difficulties. Already other places in the Borough are thinking of working on neighbourhood plans. We are lucky that ours is running alongside the FBC Local Plan.
Throughout the last year and a half, members of the Forum have met regularly with FBC planning officers to discuss housing and related issues. On Oct 10th we met with FBC lead planning officers and a representative of AECOM. We were updated on the most recent statements coming from the government and we can now look at the effects of the latest government initiative on the number of houses required, both nationwide and in this area.
On 15th November the Forum will meet with FBC again to go through elements of the Local Plan evidence base, including the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and Settlement Boundary Review as well as the screening process for Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Titchfield Neighbourhood Plan.
It is worth noting that the process being followed by FBC and by the Forum is exactly the same i.e. do the research, draft a proposal, consult, re-draft the proposal, publish.