Council receives Â£7,000 funding boost to support neighbourhood plan for Parish
The council has been awarded grant funding of Â£7,000 to support development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Stone Parish.
Following a public launch event in November demonstrating a good level of local support for the proposal, the council submitted an application for funding to enable commencement of the plan. This early-stage funding will provide for production of consultation materials and a number of initial consultation events, along with establishment and training of a steering group to help facilitate the process and set terms of reference for how the stages of the plan will be achieved.
The Steering Group will be responsible for identifying and investigating key themes to assess the current position and undertake any necessary investigation or consultation to determine how the situation might be improved or enhanced through future development. Themes might include areas such as green spaces, heritage, transport, and infrastructure, as deemed necessary in response to emerging evidence.
Although not essential, local residents with skills or knowledge in planning and infrastructure, project management, transport, environment or social issues, architecture or landscape design would provide particular expertise to the group.
A soiree for members of the public interested in being appointed to the Steering Group will be held next Thursday 19th February at Stone Pavilion to provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities of a steering group member and the sorts of activities or tasks that members will be required to undertake to achieve the various milestones of the project plan.
Chairman of the Council, John Burrell said,
â€œThis provides a wonderful opportunity for local residents to get involved and influence the future development of the parish. The knowledge and skills of local people will be invaluable in ensuring the final draft plan is robust and in line with the aspirations of the local community.
Ultimately, local residents will be required to vote in a referendum, either to support or reject adoption of the plan to form part of the local development framework so in order for support to be forthcoming, the community must feel as though they have had significant input in the process.â€
The council submitted a formal application for Neighbourhood Area Designation to Dartford Borough Council in December. The council has requested to designate the neighbourhood plan area in line with the existing parish boundary, which includes Bluewater and Crossways Business Park. The council believes these strategic sites form inherent parts of the characteristics of the parish, providing many opportunities to improve or enhance connections between these sites and around the parish and bring cohesiveness to all the green spaces located both at these sites and within the parish. Read the full supporting statement for area designation hereâ€¦
The Department for Communities and Local Government has recently announced a further round of funding in support of neighbourhood plans to be released from April 2015. The council intends to submit a further application to support subsequent stages of the scheme.
The council also intends to develop a website dedicated to the Neighbourhood Development Plan for the local community to stay up-to-date with activities and progress.