What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a document, that is produced by the community, that once accepted has statutory powers to influence planning decisions. It defines what local people value, want to conserve and enhance and further develop in terms of land use and further development in their area.
It also provides a historical and pictorial record of our community and sets out to document, what makes Portland so special.
Once adopted, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, as our Local Planning Authority, will have to take notice of the planning considerations enshrined within our plan.
Creating a Neighbourhood Plan
The current phase of creating the Portland Plan involves gathering information relating to the environment in which we live, the data relates to buildings, building materials, roads, hedges and walling, footpaths ,open spaces, employment and business needs.
Using pictorial views around the Island, taken both looking into our villages and how our villages are seen from the surrounding area together with facts obtained from various organisations on how they see the Island.
Creating a Neighbourhood Plan – The Legal Context
Portland Town Council is responsible for progressing the Neighbourhood Plan and oversees the project and resources plans.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council are the Local Planning Authority and are also required to support the development of a plan.
Recognition of the potential of developing a Neighbourhood Plan for Portland was included in the Draft Local Plan which was consulted on in June 2012. Work on the current plan has therefore been progressing since September 2012 when the Town Council approved its development and following two initial consultation events which were held in January 2013 various themes were identified.
The formal area of the plan was approved by the Local Planning Authority in November 2013.
In early 2014 a working group of community members were recognised by the Town Council their role is to undertake specific areas of work in progressing the plan. Currently these are
- The compilation of information about the Island which impacts upon planning matters.
- The development of a Portland Plan website
- Survey work to inform the community and businesses current and future thinking.
For Further information about the above then please go to Portland Town Council Neighbourhood Plan page.
Once it is considered that sufficient information has been obtained from the consultation phase a report will be prepared which summarises the information obtained. The Town Council will them consider what this is saying and construct draft policies and strategies for further public consultation. This is likely to occur in the Autumn 2016.
After that further approvals will be sought and eventually the proposed plan will be put to public referendum.
Value of Work being undertaken
Although a Neighbourhood Plan may not have been fully finished the extent of its progress, the nature of the evidence obtained and its relevance can be taken into account when planning policy is being formulated by the Local Planning Authority or planning decisions are being considered. This ‘weight’ attributed to the plan is also better considered if the plan is making overall effective progress