Whitchurch is in the process of producing a Neighbourhood Plan as well as a Community Plan, as supported by a high proportion of residents.
Thank you to the more than 150 residents who attended the two recent public consultation meetings held on Thursday 22nd July and Sunday 25th July. The feedback that you all gave us is incredibly helpful as further input into our policy document. We will be keeping you informed, regularly, and we will run our next public consultation meetings on Thursday November 4th and Sunday November 7th. Please keep the dates and keep an eye on this page, as well as the Whitchurch News for more details.
Why a Neighbourhood Plan for Whitchurch?
A: We know from the 2019 village questionnaire that there is significant frustration and even anger around ongoing development in the village. Residents repeatedly object to new planning applications, but without an adopted Neighbourhood Plan (NP), the planning authorities can only review each application “on its own merits” and against strict planning criteria. Hence new developments keep being approved.
The argument that as a village we have taken our fair share of additional housing has not, and will not, protect us from new development as is clear from all the new housing that has been built or approved in the past two years alone. The need for additional housing at a national and at a county level is overriding and simply saying “no” to development in Whitchurch will not stop it from happening. A Whitchurch Neighbourhood Plan is our way out of the never-ending cycle of planning applications, village objections and disappointment.
Once adopted a NP becomes the key tool the planning authorities will look to when making decisions on proposed plans within the village. NPs have a legal standing within the planning framework. Having a NP allows village residents to have our voices heard as to where in the village is deemed most appropriate to new housing development, along with types of housing and the amount that is considered appropriate to the needs of the village in future years.
What land has been put forward by landowners for consideration?
A : Click on this link to see the sites that have been forward by landowners for consideration:
(Should the map open at the wrong angle on your hardware, please right click on it, then select rotate clockwise until it is the right way.)
What is the latest status?
By August 31st all landowners wanting a site to be considered within a future Whitchurch NP must provide initial sketch plans including the number and types of houses, alongside practical issues including access and traffic management. These sites will soon go through an independent Site Environmental Assessment (SEA) which evaluates each site to assess appropriateness and viability. Historic England, Natural England, the Environment Agency and Buckinghamshire Council are all involved. At the end of the SEA process each site will have in-effect a red, amber or green viability status. This will help in selection of the most suitable site(s) for the Neighbourhood Plan, alongside a policy document which is work-in-progress.
What is the process?
A : Click on this link to understand more: 2021 July NP Summary
Do I get a vote?
A : All of the electorate will get a yes/no vote on whether to adopt a finally proposed Whitchurch Neighbourhood Plan. We anticipate that will be in Q2 2022.