Although progress with our Neighbourhood Plan has stalled somewhat over the past year , it is now moving forward again with only two steps to complete before it can go the final stage of referendum.
The first of these steps is a formal six week public consultation (Regulation 15) which will be organised by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. This will begin on the 11th January 2021. The consultation is open for anyone to make a comment on our plan. The comments received during the consultation, along with the plan documents, are then subject to a formal inspection.
Our plan will only move to referendum once it has passed this formal inspection. We hope the referendum will be held in mid-year as it has not been possible to hold referenda over the past year.
Even though the plan has not yet completed its journey, our policies have some weight and can be considered in planning applications. The Parish Council Planning Committee will now begin to review applications against the policies contained in the neighbourhood plan. This is documented in a summary document which describes how the Parish Council will use the plan and what we would expect from anyone submitting planning applications.
Do we still need a Neighbourhood Plan?
Tunbridge Wells receive thousands of planning applications each year. Our Neighbourhood Plan contains land use policies that are specifically designed to manage development in our Parish. This means planning applications are assessed against community rather than generic needs and objectives and local knowledge can be used to ensure development delivers a positive contribution for our Parish.
What should I do?
If you are a resident then our plan represents the rules that will govern development in our Parish. If you are planning a development then the policies in the plan will give guidance that should help facilitate your application.
We urge as many of you as possible to read the document and make comments as part of the TWBC consultation. The document is quite large so If you are unable to read it in full then the summary document and a companion planning guidance will help you understand the scope and objectives of our Neighbourhood Plan.
Owing to the ‘Covid restrictions’ imposed upon us , we and TWBC are unable to make hard copies of the documents available, nor advertise widely and so have to rely on online access only. We would be grateful if you could pass the word around that this exercise is taking place and encourage the minority in our Parish who are not IT savvy to seek help from friends and family.
Neighbourhood Plan documents:
Tunbridge Wells Consultation portal: