By the time you read this article the statutory 6 week consultation will have ended and we will have the task of collating all the comments. If appropriate, we will then modify the policies. An initial look at the comments so far received suggests a general support for all the key policies which are designed to protect and enhance the best features of Broadstone, especially the open spaces and residential character. The concept of a masterplan is also being welcomed though it is necessary to re-iterate the message that at this point in time a masterplan does not exist and that the suggestions being put forward are all open to debate. There are no proposals, at this point in time, to remove the toast-rack, pedestrianise the Broadway or build a multi-storey car park. The development of a masterplan involves detailed discussions with a wide variety of interested parties and it could take at least a year before there are any firm proposals. In the meantime the draft plan still has a number of hurdles to clear before it becomes a statutory planning document (see last month’s update for details).
The display in Broadstone Library attracted quite a lot of attention. It highlighted the key features of the draft plan, namely the vision statement and objectives, policies relating to each of the 5 themes and an introduction to the concept of a masterplan. In addition, copies of the draft plan itself were available, together with a number of background documents. These all have to be submitted to the Government Inspector prior to the examination in public as they provide the evidence that we have met the necessary conditions which underpin the neighbourhood planning process. Members of the Forum spent time over the 6 week consultation period guiding residents through the display, answering questions and listening to comments, the vast majority of which were very supportive. We also had a street stall on most Saturdays throughout April and May.
In addition to any modifications we may have to make as a result of this consultation, Forum members have three documents to finish before the end of June when it is hoped the draft plan can be submitted to Council. The first of these is the Consultation Statement which details the various consultation processes that have been undertaken by the Forum whilst developing the plan. The second document is the Evidence Base which provides an account and explanation of all the evidence that has been used. The third, and perhaps the most important, document is the detailed characterisation of Broadstone. This involves area by area and road by road descriptions of the built landscape, the identification of key design features and opportunities for development and environmental enhancement. It will become the reference document for anyone submitting a planning application and will help to ensure the plan’s policies will be followed.
It is anticipated all work will be completed by the end of June. Exactly when the Council will commence its 5 week consultation is not known, nor are the dates for the examination in public and the referendum. We are hoping that the plan will have overcome these hurdles and have been adopted by the end of this year.