I should have learned by now not to make predictions. In last month’s up-date I stated that we would have received the Basic Conditions report by the beginning of June, and that we would be moving the plan forward through the next stages. Unfortunately, as has been the case on previous occasions, another issue has arisen which has delayed us yet again.
For the last four years Poole Planning department has been consulting on and reviewing its local plan. This was first approved in 2009 which means it needs to be brought up to date. Coincidentally, it is at the same development stage as our Neighbourhood plan, and hence the issue we are currently wrestling with. A Neighbourhood plan must be in general conformity with the Local plan. For the last four years, as Broadstone’s Neighbourhood Plan has taken shape we have ensured the content, including the policies, has not only been aligned with those in the Borough of Poole’s 2009 Local plan (Core Strategy) but also with the ever-changing National Planning Policy Framework. We now find that we are having to rewrite large sections of the plan to ensure it conforms to the emerging Local plan which may just be in place before ours is adopted. Even if the Broadstone Neighbourhood plan is approved first it would still have to be aligned with Poole’s new Local plan. The consequence of this is a further delay. We have re-arranged for the Basic Needs Assessment to be carried out later in July. In addition, a date has been set (September 19th) for presentation to the Borough of Poole’s Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee, following which, with Cabinet approval, the plan will go out to final consultation.
Since the Annual General meeting at the end of March the number of policies has been reduced to nine, and the wording for each has been agreed. All relate very closely to the three key strands of sustainable development: environment; social, including housing, and economy. Two policies address environmental issues important to Broadstone, namely protecting green spaces and enhancing biodiversity. Four policies relate to housing, especially meeting the need and balancing the overall stock. One policy encourages new businesses and the vitality of the Broadway whilst another protects the rich variety of community facilities and sports provision. Running through most of these policies is a common thread – achieving high quality sustainable design and this is embodied in the remaining policy.
Several of the other documents that support the Neighbourhood Plan are also having to be modified and cross-checked to ensure all references are up-to -date, that new and updated evidence has been included, and that the correct policies are referred to. Once the Basic Conditions Report has been received, and assuming no further amendments are required, all the documents will be published on line as part of the final consultation process.