The Neighbourhood Plan Explained..
The Inner East Preston Neighbourhood Plan came about as a result of new government powers for local communities. In 2011 FOFS took advantage of these powers and became one of the first Neighbourhood Forums to develop a Neighbourhood Plan in an inner city, urban area.
There are lots of formal processes to go through when developing a Neighbourhood Plan because the final plan becomes part of the legal, statutory planning processes at Preston City Council.
The first stage is community consultation and FOFs produced leaflets to every home and posters for all the shops and businesses, some were translated into relevant community languages. This was followed by public meetings, attending schools and parents’ evenings, street ‘pop up’ consultations, surveys and drop-ins over a 12 month period.
The results of what the community said about what they value in the area and what they want to change have been the basis of 4 key planning policy areas in the Neighbourhood Plan. They are;
- Preserving and enhancing green space
- Protecting community assets
- Encouraging local employment and enterprise
- Improving the ‘local centre’ retail and shopping offer
The council will adopt the plan if there are over 50% ‘yes’ votes at the referendum on 12th February 2015. This means that any planning application or development proposal will need to take account of the above 4 policies and before it is granted planning permission.
This is a major achievement for FOFS and the Fishwick and St Matthew’s area. People who have been consulted are influencing planning decisions at a very local level.
The plan has gone for formal consultation by FOFS and the council to organisations such as Highways Authority, Utilities Companies, National Heritage and others and has been externally examined to ensure it has been put together robustly and with due diligence.
The final stage for residents was to formally endorse it at the referendum 12th February 2015. It will has been a three year challenge for us but one that we believe will be worth it, especially for our future generations.