Parish Council provides reassurances on village
Broadhembury Parish Council meeting, Tuesday 20th March 2018
Council Chairman Bob Nelson took questions regarding the current status of the Neighbourhood Plan and its content.
The first question raised a concern that considerable time had elapsed since the ‘final’ draft of the plan had been circulated for public consultation, prior to submission to the EDDC. The document has still not been submitted but it has been subject to a series of edits (with more to come). The changes may be individually modest but collectively their effect is perceived to be a slight understatement of the opposition of Broadhembury Villagers to housing development opposite the village hall and even to imply an open mind on other development options adjacent to the village. It was therefore proposed that, when the editing process is completed, the Neighbourhood Plan should be re-circulated for comment prior to submission to the EDDC.
Bob Nelson accepted the concerns and stated he would be happy to circulate the document and receive any comments. He also undertook to have a Council email sent out to alert residents to the updated draft and to provide a link to the updated NP on the website.
The second question pursued the issue of promotion or support by the Council for the development of other sites adjacent to the village. The land between the bridge over the Tale and the housing on the west side of the street was given as an example. It was self-evident to those in the village that such a site would be no more acceptable than the site opposite the Village Hall but it is felt the Neighbourhood Plan does not adequately reflect that position. Therefore, could the Parish Council state whether or not it planned to promote or support housing development on any other sites immediately surrounding the village?
The Chairman stated that he fully understood that the opposition to development was not restricted to the site opposite the village hall. He gave an assurance that the Council would not seek to pursue development on these sites.
This position narrowed the Council’s options to create five affordable homes to rent but he hoped that some fill-in or conversion within or around the village might be employed. In addition he was keen to persuade the EDDC to adopt a more realistic “7 minutes’ drive” to services rather than a physical distance as a criterion for development. This would open up the possibilities for development in other parts of the parish. However, he felt the EDDC would not easily be persuaded.
Finally, he pointed out that, whatever the stance of the Parish Council, parishioners had to recognise that individual landowners/ developers were free to make their own planning applications, irrespective of the position of the Parish Council.
These points were acknowledged and The Chairman was thanked for his constructive response.