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Village neighbourhood development plan suspended ‘indefinitely’ with local planning system ‘in disarray’

PUBLISHED: 14:00 20 March 2017

The NDP has been suspended.

The NDP has been suspended.

Archant

The creation of Winscombe and Sandford Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) has been suspended ‘indefinitely’.

The NDP’s steering group wrote to members to confirm a ‘local planning system in disarray’ and ‘events at national, county, and parish level have frustrated’ its efforts.

NDPs are a Government initiative which gives communities ‘direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood’ by choosing areas they want to protect from development.

The steering group was being advised over its draft NDP by a planning expert, but plans to finalise it have been halted as doubts have been raised whether NDPs are effective in restricting unwanted development.

A planning inquiry is underway over the Farleigh Fields site in Backwell, which has a NDP ratified by North Somerset Council.

Developers want to build 220 homes on the land, which is protected in the NDP, and the Government will decide whether to grant planning permission.

Parties working to create NDPs will keep a close eye on the inquiry before deciding whether it is worthwhile finalising their own plans.

Vice-chairman Colin Burbidge wrote: “The questionnaire results are a valid and valuable indicator of what the community wants.

“Residents have said what they want by way of local housing, local amenities, and green spaces.”

Chairman Cresten Boase added: “It’s entirely possible that Winscombe and Sandford, under more positive circumstances, can progress a NDP to its conclusion.

“Unfortunately, more positive circumstances, within the next few years at least, seem unlikely.”

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