Colnbrook ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ may be back on the agenda

Eighteen months on from its rejection of new powers granted under the Localism Act, Colnbrook Parish Council is reconsidering the idea of a Neighbourhood Plan once again.

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At a poorly attended meeting of the Services Committee on Tuesday, chair Peter Hood asked for members’ views on progressing a Neighbourhood Plan.

While former councillor Mike Nye had previously advocated joining forces with the Windsor villages to produce a combined Neighbourhood Plan, in January last year the proposal to discontinue the “Neighbourhood Plan” was passed with just one councillor voting to continue the work.

With a legal requirement for Neighbourhood Plans to be consistent with the Local Plan, core strategy, national planning policy, EU obligations and human rights requirements, Cllr Hood told the council then that there would be limited room for manoeuvre.

“The Chairman felt that to do all the considerable work and necessary expense involved, a referendum etc. then to find it was a waste of money and expense was something he felt unable to recommend.”

Cllr Hood has not explained his second u-turn on the issue but, according to minutes published yesterday, he is of the view that “industrial areas and the resultant traffic should be kept away from residential areas”.

He recently spent a day with airport bosses to explain the impact of freight on the village.

Under the Localism Act Parish Councils can take on new powers to define policies for land use and can grant Neighbourhood Development Orders without the need for planning applications. More importantly, they have a right to be considered when planning applications are considered.

This website has championed the cause of a Neighbourhood Plan for Colnbrook since they were introduced in 2011 as the most powerful tool at its disposal to defend against the imposed developments of SIFE and more recently Heathrow.

But the Parish would have to act very quickly if it is to produce something in time to be useful in this context.

And the delay in starting will likely push the costs to the upper end of the £15,000 – £50,000 estimated cost – something they baulked at last time around.

More challenging, any Plan produced would have be approved by a majority of residents in a local referendum; councillors have noted that the project cannot be achieved without community engagement.

A working party comprising councillors Akram, Cheema, Laxman, MacDougald and Smith has been formed to prepare a report to progress the work.  Introduction of “a new viable website that interacted with the parishioners” will form part of the new working party’s considerations.

 

 

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