Neighbourhood Plan Open Meeting

Posted by Nobody on 14 September 2015

The Trust organised the open meeting to focus on the imminent Referendum on the Devizes Neighbourhood Plan and following the Trust's policy this was open to members and non-members alike.  The session was well attended filling the hall with around sixty people.

The session was opened by a presentation by Rick Rowland that explained the process over the last three years to get to the point where the community have to demonstrate their support…or not.  The synopsis explained the importance of dovetailing with the needs of the County Strategic Plan and the thought process behind the assessment of the various sites available for housing development.  This emphasised both the practical integration of additional housing to not stress the infrastructures currently available and the opinions of the community members within Devizes.

Opening the floor to questions, there was some bristling debate of the use and meaning of the word “sustainability” and how it is interpreted depending on the viewpoint of the user.  The dictionary definition being “the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed” demonstrates that it can have any number of interpretations!

Questions concerning the protection of the nature and architecture of building were satisfied by the highlighting of the statement within the Neighbourhood Plan and the security of the Planning Guide lines that are established within the County planning procedures.

The issue of what is within the “landbank” was explained that just because it is declared as “available” is no guarantee or obligation to use it for housing.  This means that actual planning applications can only be assessed by the need at the time of application.  The town plan is in the fortunate position of already get the required number of housing units required within the Strategic plan to 2026.

The issues of parking allocation for new housing recognises that there are many two car households and none with 1.5 cars!

Discussion on the ability to influence the full gamut of infrastructure issues was explained and the limitations of the Neighbourhood Plan terms of reference and that the ‘Plan is the best current tool to ensure that the development that will happen come what may, is controlled to the best outcome for the Town.  The aging demographic of the Town is recognised by the plan and many small first time buyer units are coming forward within the town environs reducing local traffic using the towns facilities.

Overall the meeting was positive and the attendees commented on the additional understanding the meeting had given them

The Trust and Neighbourhood Planning team encouraged the audience to embrace and vote in favour of the plan and several volunteers stepped forward to assist with the communication of the referendum.

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