A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN FOR BISHOPS FROME AND FROMES HILL

What is it and why are we doing it?

  • The Localism Act of 2011 introduced Neighbourhood Plans to give local communities the opportunity to decide the future of the local area where they live and work.
  • It allows the community to say what they think makes their area special and to set out a vision of how the Plan can influence the development of land for houses, employment, leisure and community activities and what new development should look like.
  • It brings together residents, businesses, local groups and landowners to create a shared vision that comes from the whole community rather than being imposed by an outside body that cannot match the local knowledge available.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan has to be prepared by the Parish Council but will only be accepted if it can demonstrate the involvement of the local community throughout the preparation and decision making process.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan must accept the minimum amount of new homes allocated for the parish in the County Core Strategy, which for the period 2011-2031 is 34 homes. But it can decide the best place for new development to go and its appearance.
  • The Plan cannot conflict with National Planning Policy or the policies in the newly adopted Core Strategy for Herefordshire or be used to prevent development.
  • The parish does not have to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. However if nothing is done the County will prepare a Development Plan for those areas of the County without their own Neighbourhood Plan which will impose settlement boundaries and housing sites over which the community would have much less influence.

What is the Plan for?
If approved by the community and statutory authorities, the Plan will give our parish greater influence and control over future local planning and development. This is part of a national initiative to enable local communities to have a greater input into decisions that directly affect them.

Who is involved in the development of the Plan?
Your Parish Council set up a Steering Group of residents to run the project in May 2014.

Bishops Frome & Fromes Hill Parish Neighbourhood Plan FH Final >>

Bishops Frome and Fromes Hill Parish Neighbourhood Plan BF Final >>

The Plan Vision

By 2031 Bishop’s Frome and Fromes Hill will have retained their character and identity as a thriving, caring and healthy community still with a rural atmosphere. New development will have contributed to an improvement in the built environment by the provision of affordable, well designed and sustainable lifetime housing to suit a range of needs, sensitively located and of a scale compatible with the ability of the environment and services to absorb them. New development will also have presented the opportunity to address long standing issues of parking, access and poor drainage.

There will be a choice of local job opportunities in small scale businesses that have a low impact on the environment and energy consumption, taking advantage of high capacity broadband speeds.

Existing community, retail and leisure facilities will have been maintained and enhanced to cater for all age groups and to strengthen the cohesiveness of the community. Long standing and new residents will have been encouraged to become involved in community activity and development.

There will be an increase in renewable energy initiatives through community power rather than large scale intrusive installations of wind turbines or solar panel farms.

Road safety will have been improved by reduction in traffic speeds through the villages, by improved maintenance of roads and footpaths and by improved car parking measures.

Green and open areas will have been protected and enhanced and new recreation space provided.

The areas heritage in buildings and the rural environment of trees and hedgerows will be preserved and appreciated.

  • Do you agree with the vision statement above? Does it properly reflect the community views gained from previous consultations?
  • Do you have any alternative wording for the vision or any suggested wording that hasn’t been considered? If you suggest changes explain why.

Objectives

These objectives have been put together from the views expressed in the questionnaire that was sent to all households in the parish. They inform the policies put forward in the draft plan

Overall Objective
To ensure a sustainable future through the implementation of Core Strategy policies which encourage appropriate growth of rural businesses and housing, facilities and services and access to sustainable transport.

Specific Objectives

Objective 1 To protect and enhance the special character of the landscape, natural and built environment of the villages and the surrounding countryside.
Objective 2 To develop policies to identify the criteria for small scale housing developments of three to four houses to meet the requirement for growth identified in the core strategy in Bishops Frome and Fromes Hill up to 2031 to meet local needs. The preferred sites will be appropriate in terms of size, scale, design and sustainability and the ability of services and facilities to support them.
Objective 3 To encourage the development of small scale businesses that will contribute to local employment opportunities and promote the introduction of faster broadband and other technological aids for rural businesses.
Objective 4 To support existing and promote new community facilities
Objective 5 To protect and enhance open spaces, recreational facilities and areas of informal green space and create new recreational facilities where a need is expressed.
Objective 6 To ensure that adequate provision is made for the necessary highway, footway and public transport improvements required for any new development and that necessary traffic and road safety provision is made.
Objective 7 To ensure that essential infrastructure and services are adequate to cope with future growth
Objective 8 To promote initiatives for renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.

  • Do these objectives properly reflect the wishes of the community?
  • Are there any objectives that have been missed out? If you suggest changes explain why.
  • Could the wording be expressed differently or more simply?

Settlement boundaries and preferred housing site options

  • We need to draw boundary lines around Bishops Frome and Fromes Hill within which new development can take place.
  • It follows that outside these boundaries development can be resisted.
  • The boundaries should allow for some flexibility to enable some development to take place.
  • Note that the Core Strategy calls for at least 34 homes to be built in the combined villages up to 2013. This is a minimum figure and there is no maximum limit. However to date with houses built since 2011, houses under construction or with planning permission, there are commitments for 42 houses, and a further 30 currently being considered.
  • Bear in mind also that historically new homes have been created from conversions of farm buildings or in large gardens (so-called windfall development) and that this type of development has accounted for roughly 1 in 5 of all new houses built.
  • With this in mind you are asked to choose a preferred boundary line from the options presented on the maps provided.

Are these acceptable options for the boundaries?

Do you have any alternatives and why?

The Policy for New Housing Development

The Plan will have a policy for any housing development that takes place within the village boundaries. The housing policy interprets objective 2 which derives from comments in the questionnaire:-

To develop policies to identify the criteria for small scale housing developments of 3 to 4 houses to meet the requirement for growth identified in the Core Strategy in Bishops Frome and Fromes Hill up to 2031 to meet local needs. The preferred sites will be appropriate in terms of size, scale design and sustainability and the ability of services and facilities to support them.

Do you agree with the wording in this policy? If not what changes would you like to see made?

For example:-

  • Is the proposed type and mix of development correct?
  • Is there a need for affordable housing?

Consultation

The Scope of the Consultation

600 leaflets were printed and delivered in Bishops Frome and surrounding areas and in Fromes Hill, advertising the drop in day and inviting comments on the Draft Plan.

Posters were displayed on notice boards, shops and pubs in both villages. Copies of the notices are at Appendix A.

The drop in day was also advertised on leaflets that were circulated in Bishops Frome and at the Hop Pocket shopping Centre asking for comments on the current planning application for 30 houses in Bishops Frome (Ref: 142176). The intention was to use the current interest in the application to boost numbers attending the drop in day and exhibition.

Content of the Exhibition

Information boards were displayed in the village hall inviting comment on the vision, objectives and housing policy. Residents were asked if they agreed that the vision and objectives properly reflected the community views, if they had any alternative wording or if anything had been missed out.

On housing they were asked if the option chosen was correct, if they were satisfied with the proposed type and mix of development and whether there was a need for affordable housing.

Residents were also asked to choose between options for a new settlement boundary for Bishops Frome and Fromes Hill.

Copies of the information boards are at Appendix B.

Attendance

A total of 61 people attended the drop in day and gave their views on a questionnaire and comments on a separate form. The results are collated at Appendix C.
Nearly 95% agreed with the stated vision and 68% with the objectives. However, 64% expressed the view that the objectives could have been expressed differently or more simply and 56% that a potential objective had been missed. These views are being collated and revisions will be made.

Two options for new settlement boundaries were presented and residents given the opportunity to choose the preferred option by placing pins in the preferred map. Residents overwhelmingly chose option A for Bishops Frome (90%) and for Fromes Hill (88%).

Analysis of comment

Comments received concerned mainly the rate of development and the capacity of the village services to cope:-

e.g. Development should take place at a rate the market can absorb. Current recently completed housing is not selling, especially affordable homes.

Enough development has already taken place – the community cannot cope with significant new growth – there is no school in the villages little work and a poor bus service.

There are concerns about surface water drainage and flooding, inadequate amenity space and parking space in new developments.

There is significant opposition to new wind farm developments.

Conclusion

Attendance at the drop in consultation was approximately 10% of the population which gives a representative sample of opinion, particularly given the clear endorsement of the approach so far. The Parish Council believes that following minor changes the Draft Plan can now proceed to consultation under Regulation 14.

What Happens Next?

  • There is still along way to go before our plan can be adopted and be taken into account in planning decisions.
  • The next step is a 6 week consultation on a final draft of the Plan which also invites comments from bodies such as Welsh Water, the Environment Agency and English Heritage. Herefordshire Council has to confirm whether the Plan is in line with the Neighbourhood plan Regulations.
  • Following a review of the comments the Plan will be revised and approved by the parish council before being resubmitted for further consideration by consultation bodies and given approval by Herefordshire Council to proceed to an examination by an independent examiner.
  • Assuming all is in order the final plan document has to be endorsed by the community by a referendum after which it can be approved and adopted by Herefordshire Council.