Under the Localism Act 2011 the Parish Council commissioned the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for the people of Whittington and Fisherwick to have a meaningful say in the growth and shape of their communities. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, through its consultation process understands that a measure of development and change is inevitable and desirable to ensure that the Parish does not stagnate.
The Steering Group also understands that the plan needs to be managed to ensure it is in the communities’ interest that the existing qualities that contribute to the unique character and clear identity of the parish are preserved and enhanced.
The 2013 Parish Plan, which was adopted by the Parish Council, whilst not a Neighbourhood Plan, was an important first step in identifying how the local community can seek to influence how new development is accommodated in the future. The Neighbourhood Plan builds on this by introducing a statutory framework the contents of which will become material considerations that have to be taken into account by Lichfield District Council (The Local Planning Authority or the LPA) when determining planning applications. The compliance of the Neighbourhood Plan with national and local policy is explained in the separate Basic Conditions Statement.
The Neighbourhood Plan sets out a vision, of the future of Whittington and Fisherwick with Strategic Aims and Objectives for future development. The Vision has been formulated from consultation with numerous members of the community and, after considering all the views, is articulated as:
In 20 years’ time Whittington and Fisherwick will be a thriving and vibrant community whilst retaining and enhancing its historic and rural context. It will be a safe environment for all, with a broad range of local facilities that help to maintain its strong community spirit. Sensitively located development will have met the needs of local people of all ages and incomes, whilst reflecting local character.
The plan reflects the significant public consultation, including the formal 6-week (Regulation 14) stage in early 2017, with the local community, business and facility providers, and aims to represent their views. The Plan also wishes to protect and enhance all elements of the Parish environment, seeking to establish where developments are most appropriate and setting standards for the type and quality of such developments. Details are given in the separate Consultation Statement.
It is inevitable that the Parish, and in particular Whittington, will have to accommodate a substantial amount of new housing over the next 12 years or so. Based on the adopted Local Plan, this will involve up to 110 dwellings and the Green Belt will need to be amended. For legal and technical reasons, the Neighbourhood Plan cannot make specific site allocations on land currently within the Green Belt and in any event, that task is being undertaken by the District Council in a new Site Allocations Local Plan. However, based on the earlier consultation with local residents and developers, the Neighbourhood Plan include policies which will help to ensure that the right sort of housing is built in the right locations, reflecting local character and meeting local needs.
The Steering Group wishes to express its thanks to all members of the community who have helped to produce the Neighbourhood Plan. Garry Hyde – Chairman Whittington and Fisherwick Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.