We have reached an important stage in the progress of Fittleworth’s Neighbourhood Development Plan. That we should develop such a Plan was agreed by a public meeting in late 2014, and since then a Steering Group has been working to bring the Plan into being. Thanks to all in the village who have helped with the Plan – by responding to the June 2015 Housing Survey, and by participating in the public consultation we held at the end of October 2015. Progress since then has appeared to be slow, but it was decided by South Downs that we needed to conduct a Sustainability Appraisal and a Habitat Regulations Assessment (for details of these see the Appendices to the Plan). South Downs gave us very good support in this work, but it all took time. There were also other Parish Council activities which impacted on the time available for developing the Plan.
We have now completed the Plan, and are releasing it for a 6 week period of consultation, beginning on 15th January 2018. A wide range of bodies have been notified and invited to make representations. These include neighbouring councils, government departments, utility companies, voluntary and local interest groups. It is also open to local companies and individuals, including residents of the village, to comment. To enable local people to have the opportunity to see the Plan and ask questions about it, two public consultation sessions will take place in the Village Hall – on Friday 19th January (2.30 pm to 5pm) and Saturday 20th January (10 am to 1 pm). Members of the Steering Group (Shelagh Morgan, Mike Allin, Adrian Webb, Charles Clark and Chris Welfare) will be available to answer questions.
At the end of this consultation period, we shall assess what changes are needed to the Plan before submitting it to the South Downs National Park Authority. They will conduct a further 6 week consultation before an independent examiner is appointed to assess the Plan. Provided that the examiner considers the Plan satisfactory, a referendum will be held at which all the voters in the village will be able to vote to accept or reject the Plan. If accepted, it will form a key part of the planning framework and will need to be taken into account when any planning decision affecting the village is made.
If you have any questions about the process, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .