Herstmonceux Parish Neighbourhood Plan Report 11.02.14
The public consultation on Herstmonceux Parish Draft Neighbourhood Plan was carried out from 29 November 2013 - 24 January 2014. This was an eight week consultation rather than the statutory six weeks, as the period included the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
Throughout the consultation, notices were placed on the public notice boards, in Herstmonceux Village Hall, in the Village Information Centre, Hailsham Library, and in the local newspaper deliveries. The Steering Group contracted Flyers Direct to deliver an information card to all households in the parish on 28 and 29 November 2013, to inform residents about the consultation and where copies of the draft plan could be viewed. Unfortunately this contract was not carried out correctly with a number of households in many roads not receiving the information.
A number of other inaccurate leaflets were delivered to households during the consultation period in which residents were advised that only negative comments on the consultation were required.
330 replies were received to the consultation representing 278 households (23.5%) out of the 1183 households in the parish. 11 replies were received from individuals who live outside the parish, 7 replies from administrative or commercial bodies.
Many different opinions have been received but it appears that many respondents have misunderstood or not read the draft plan. A number of replies have not made any reference to or commented on the policies contained in the draft plan. Wealden District Council and Action in rural Sussex (AirS),the Steering Group's professional advisors, have advised that, if the decision is made to proceed to submission of the plan for independent examination, then further informal community engagement work will be helpful to explain its policies and proposals prior to submission. The outcome of this work will again be reported to the Steering Group and published in our evidence base and it will also be sent to the Examiner as part of the Consultation Statement.
The Steering Group, which is made up of seven councillors and eleven parishioners, has worked hard over the past fourteen months to look at the development of the parish until 2027. However, in order to move the process forward, it is proposed that the following action is taken - the Steering Group will reduce in number and comprise only of members who have not declared any interest whatever in any part of the plan.
Councillor W. Gower emphasised that the Steering Group has complied absolutely with the Code of Conduct and the proposal was to ease the process to ensure minimal disruption in meetings and allow the Neighbourhood Plan to progress in the most efficient manner. The issue was discussed at length as to whether all the Steering Group members who had declared an interest should stand aside or only those who had declared a prejudicial interest. Mr G. McBurney proposed that only those with a prejudicial interest should stand aside, seconded by Councillor J. Angear. The vote was carried on a majority vote of 7 votes to 4 votes with 2 abstentions.
The new Steering Group will meet Wealden District Council Officers and professional advisors from Action in rural Sussex to discuss the following options, subject to the requirement of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and any other procedural matters.
- Whether to proceed with the evidence from the Neighbourhood Plan process with the following modifications; a review of the Strategic Environmental Assessment and a programme of more public events and sessions to inform residents about the policies.
- To prepare a new Pre Submission Plan for consultation.
- To abandon the Herstmonceux Parish Neighbourhood Plan and let the Wealden District Council Site and Allocation process undertake the selection of the sites for the 70 new dwellings allocated in the Wealden Local Plan.
The new Steering Group will report on its discussions with Wealden District Council and make its recommendations to Herstmonceux Parish Council at the Council Meeting on Monday 17 March 2014.
Cowbeech Charity World Animal Friends
are having a family shopping day on Saturday 15th March 10.30am to 4pm at Herstmonceux Village Hall, Hailsham Road, Herstmonceux BN27 4JX. The day will have over 20 local businesses selling jewellery, arts & crafts, toys, beauty treats, home interiors, pet items, baby & children's clothes, toys & more! plus World Animal Friends will have their own nearly new sale for all ages and tombola. Animal Extraveganza will be taking centre stage with their exotic animals, great for kids & adults alike. Kids can also get their face painted. Refreshments and cakes will also be available. It's Free to enter, and with Mother's Day at the end of March a perfect opportunity to get a lovely gift for someone special. Find out more on Facebook by searching for World Animal Friends Fair.
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