What is neighbourhood planning?
Neighbourhood planning gives us a direct power to develop a shared vision for our town and shape the development and growth of Epping. We will have a say in where we want new homes, shops and offices to be built and on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that we get the right types of development for our community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.
What can we use neighbourhood planning for?
We can set planning policies through our neighbourhood plan that will be used in determining planning applications and have an input into how and where strategic development takes place in the town.
What are the benefits to the town of developing a neighbourhood plan?
Neighbourhood planning gives us the opportunity to set out a positive vision for how we want our town to develop over the next ten, fifteen, twenty years in ways that meet identified local need and make sense for local people. We can put in place planning policies that will help deliver that vision.
What are the next steps?
The Town Council has already established a steering group to develop our neighbourhood plan. The Steering group will consist of members of the Council and resident stakeholders in the town. We will begin in the next few months by distributing an early enagement questionnaire to residents and by holding focus groups to identify the issues and priorities of our residents. Once we have carried out this work, we will produce an issues and options paper and consult residents again.
We will use this engagement as an evidence base to develop planning policies for Epping Town that actually reflect the aspirations of our residents. By implementing a plan we also ensure that 25% of the new community infrastructure levy (which is designed to largely replace section 106 contributions based on the size of developments) comes to the Town Council, enabling us to invest in better local facilities for residents.
We need your help
Our neighbourhood plan will be based on your views and will address your priorities and concerns. We want residents to take ownership of the plan and get involved with helping us to shape it.
A neighbourhood plan only becomes part of local planning policy if it can secure the consent of local people in a referendum. If it does, the District Council must implement it and it will be used to determine planning applications in the town with the same weight as policies in the Local Plan.
If the neighbourhood plan is published after the Local Plan, the neighbourhood plan policies take precedence over Local Plan policies if there is a conflict. However our intention is to work closely with the District Council to ensure that as far as possible, our plan will strengthen and enhance the overall plan for the District rather than be in conflict with it.
Keeping you informed of progress
We have created a page on the Town Council website for Neighbourhood Planning and will update it throughout the process with a complete timeline of progress and events
We will produce an initial engagement questionnaire over the summer which will be sent to every home, business and land owner in the Town seeking their views
We will organise focus groups to support the questionnaire
We will encourage the public to attend our meetings and contribute to the process
The links below provide background information about Neighbourhood Planning, the legal framework for it and some examples of successful projects elsewhere