Since our Annual General Meeting at the end of March we have received confirmation that we have been awarded another Government grant. While this is not as much as we had hoped for, it will help us to progress the Neighbourhood Plan through its final stages prior to a referendum. Everyone within the plan area will then have an opportunity to vote for or against the plan. Those who have followed its evolution will know it is not overly ambitious. It does not identify any potential development sites, nor does it propose any changes to the central commercial area. Rather, it sets out policies which focus on the protection of our green spaces and community facilities whilst requiring any new build to be of the highest possible design standards.
The plan, however, does recognise the existence of several issues which need to be addressed if the long-term vision of a safe and welcoming environment is to be achieved. No specific solutions to these issues are proposed, but our consultations with residents and businesses have demonstrated a strong desire for the development of a masterplan for Broadstone. As this is a complex process we recently applied for technical support to help us get started. We have just heard that our application has been successful and that a specialist consultant has been appointed to work with us over the next four months. This will kick start the process and, in doing so, will almost certainly involve public meetings and the opportunity to have your say.
The latest version of the plan, with all its supporting documentation was on display at the Annual General Meeting. A presentation outlined the changes that had been made in response to comments received during the Regulation 14 consultation. A straw poll taken at the end of the meeting indicated a very high level of support for the revised document. However, before the plan can progress to the next stage it must undergo a “Basic Conditions” test which checks that it complies with both the Borough of Poole’s Local Plan and the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. We have recently appointed an independent consultant to carry out this piece of work but for our own piece of mind we are subjecting the plan to a rigorous health check first. We are expecting this to be completed before the end of April. The Basic Conditions test is scheduled for the middle of May. In the meantime, we are meeting with our support officer at Poole to schedule the remaining steps which culminate in the referendum, hopefully towards the end of this year.
Our meetings, which usually take place on the third Tuesday of each month, will continue. They start at 7.00pm and are open to the public. They are currently held in Broadstone Youth Centre in Moor Road.
Chair, Broadstone Neighbourhood Forum.