Crowborough Town Council has set aside up to £30,000 to develop a Neighbourhood Plan.
A Neighbourhood Plan gives communities more power to set the priorities for local development. The measure was introduced by the Government as part of the Localism Act 2011. Communities with Plans are able to have greater say about the number of new homes, where they should be built, and what they should look like.
Community Infrastructure Levy:
Councils which have Neighbourhood Plans gain financially as they receive a greater proportion of the money collected from developers to pay for infrastructure and facilities. Communities with a Plan receive 25% of the money raised, as opposed to 15% elsewhere in the district.
The first stage of the process is to formally apply to define the boundary, and residents now have until 28th April to comment. Straightforwardly the Town Council are proposing this should encompass the whole parish and match the parish boundary.
Once a Plan has been developed it most be checked by an independent examiner to ensure it doesn’t conflict with national planning policy and policy developed by Wealden District Council, as the planning authority. The people of Crowborough will then vote in a Referendum to show the majority support the Plan.
Future Growth in Crowborough:
Three main areas have been identified in the Wealden Local Plan for new development in Crowborough up to 2027. 140 new homes can be built in the town at Pine Grove and Jarvis Brook (see map below). Most of these houses in the town would go on site adjacent to the new Community Site (currently occupied by Beaconwood and the car park to the south). At Jarvis Brook the old council depot off Forest Dene will be redeveloped. It also allows for 160 new homes to be built in an extension to the south east of the town, on land south of Walshes Road.
For more detail see the leaflet describing the core strategy for growth in Crowborough.
Wealden has now submitted its Strategic Sites to the Planning Inspectorate. These show the actual sites identified for future development, and are backed-up with a raft of documents indicating the studies and assessments undertaken by the Council to justify the strategy.
As Wealden District Council’s Local Plan is quite advanced, a Neighbourhood Plan will not be able to affect the 300 homes but it does have the potential to influence land use and development in the future.
Nearly 5 years ago, the Town Council, working with partners, produce Top of the Weald 2010-2030.
The Town Council felt it was time to review the Vision document; to look again at its aims and objectives to see if they remain relevant and appropriate. The review of the document is an opportunity to investigate whether this is best through another Vision document that carries limited weight in assessing planning applications, or to produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan that will form an important background to assessment of applications. At present, the Town Council is looking to ensure that the document can be adopted as a Neighbourhood Development Plan, with the advantages that brings.
The Town have just appointed Tony Fullwood Associates in Benenden to act as the consultants, to assist with the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Whilst there is a cost to the Town Council in preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan, grants from the government can be obtained to contribute toward that cost. The Council say the benefits to the town in terms of its impact on development proposals and provision of local infrastructure and facilities should outweigh any cost.
Wealden District Council are currently consulting on the boundaries of Crowborough and Uckfield’s Plan. Comments should be submitted to them by 28 April, more information and details of how to respond is available on their website.