Neighbourhood Plan: Does Urbanisation Threaten Our Village?

Widespread concern among residents over Parish Council intentions.

Are you aware that our Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan includes the intention to develop some 15 modern houses opposite the Village Hall?

Do you feel comfortable about the impact of such a development almost at the heart of our totally unspoiled 16th Century village? The wonderfully conserved village centre with its thatched cottages could be visually overwhelmed by the proximity of so many modern estate houses. Street lighting would ruin our wonderful night skies. Pavements, additional footpaths and “street furniture” would disfigure the inherent character of the village as we know it.

Did you know that that Parish Council sees the overall number and size of houses as being in the hands of the landowner/developer – or that a “preferred developer” has already been identified? Or that the land so far identified for development is just a small parcel of a very much larger site belonging to the same owner/would-be developer?

And were you aware that the Parish Council is justifying its proposals with (a) the unsupported assertion that Broadhembury is “unsustainable without development” and (b) the claim that “this is what the community wants” – in fact, its own interpretation of community consultations based on the now-obsolete premise that we were obliged to undertake some development.

The EDDC does not support this development

The EDDC is now against such development in or around Broadhembury Village but, under new local planning rules, the EDDC cannot prevent it unless the local community demonstrates clear opposition. Yet despite the EDDC’s position, the Parish Council seems determined to push ahead. They intend to issue a draft of their Neighbourhood Plan “probably but not certainly in December”, have already earmarked February 2nd 2016 for public consultation, and are intent on presenting the plan to EDDC by March for a final Referendum. Why such a hurry? Wouldn’t it be better to take a measured approach and be sure to get these things right, with the village community on-side?

What Broadhembury Village Matters and its supporters want

Whatever residents’ individual views on development may be, we believe it is essential that the Broadhembury Parish Neighbourhood Plan should be put on hold until fresh community consultation has taken place.

All residents should be given the opportunity to re-state their views now that there is no longer any requirement for development in the village, or in the wider parish.

We also want the Parish Council to provide evidence that the village is unsustainable without development, which we strongly refute (and so do the village’s business stakeholders).