NDP Update – June 2020

Following on from the NDP article in the June edition of the Parish Magazine, this is the next in what we’re hoping will be a series of monthly updates. In this article, we’ll cover: • the structure of the NDP and the owners of the various sections • the structure of the Steering Group and opportunities to get involved • the latest position with West Berkshire Council

Structure and Ownership

In 2019 we concentrated on pulling together and agreeing the structure of Cold Ash Parish’s Neighbourhood Development Plan document, specifically the main sections required.  We spent time looking at other examples of NDP documents and in particular those that had been submitted and accepted by their local communities and sponsoring local authority.  All the documents we looked at had aspects we felt were more or less useful to us, here in the Cold Ash parish.  In the end, the Steering Group picked the Stratfield Mortimer document as our preference from which to build the basic structure of our document.  We have since concentrated on generating content relevant to our parish, including:

  • developing an overall “enhance and protect” strategy summarising what the NDP is trying to achieve;
  • specific policy sections building from the existing Village Design Statement, and more recent inputs from parishioners (meetings, volunteer inputs, workshops and last summer’s parishioner survey).
  • Other information about the parish

While we wait for the new Local Plan to be drafted and published this autumn, our emphasis is on further refining the policy sections to ensure they best reflect the VDS, and are ready to be further refined once the Local Plan is available.  We believe this is the best way for us to build the foundation for a solid working draft, which we can then publish locally (probably later this autumn) for parishioner comment and feedback. 

In our last communication we mentioned that the NDP sections have now been confirmed. Each section has now also been allocated to a lead person, from the NDP Steering Group. The sections and owners are:

  • Vision, Strategy and Principles – Peter Adams
  • Communication and Consultation Process – Ivor McArdle
  • Overview of Cold Ash Parish – Marie Fenner
  • Housing Density and Mix – Peter Adams
  • Housing Design and Style – Marie Fenner
  • Environment, Landscape and Green Spaces – Ivor McArdle
  • Biodiversity and Environmental Gain – Bernard Clark
  • Traffic, Transport and Travel – Garth Simpson
  • Community and Social – Pete Ebdon
  • Commercial – Richard Marsh
  • Infrastructure – Richard Marsh
  • Archaeology & Heritage – Ivor McArdle

Hopefully this information provides a better understanding of the scope of the NDP. However, should you require any further clarification, please let us know.

The Steering Group and working parties

To date, the NDP has been run as a single working group, made up of the steering group members. As we move forward, it will be essential that we widen the involvement of parishioners, as there’s a lot of skills and knowledge within the community that will be key in ensuring the NDP that is developed is accurate and reflects the views and input from as wide a constituency as is feasible.

Initial drafts of the relevant sections is being pulled together using input from various sources, but more work is required to get these to a point where they are ready for submission to West Berkshire Council, for independent examination, and then to you, our parishioners, in a referendum.

The original view, as communicated in February 2019, was to establish a number of Working Groups on various subjects. Whilst we haven’t given up on the idea of Working Groups, it has become clear that more joined up working is required at the Steering Group level. We’re therefore currently thinking about establishing teams to look at various subjects and issues, as they arise. If you have any views on this approach, please let us know. Also, if you have any views on subjects you believe we should cover under the various sections of the NDP or would like to get involved in helping shape any subject, again, please let us know.

Latest position with West Berkshire Council

We have now received a response from WBC to our enquires about the various environmental and sustainability studies that may be required in order to produce our NDP, within the context of WBC’s Local Plan. We will assess the information they have provided and will develop a plan, taking into account their steer and indicative dates. We will then publish this on the NDP website.

Next Edition

In the next edition, we intend to provide an update on the HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment), which is WBC’s assessment of potential development sites across West Berkshire, including our Parish, and details of our initial response.

We intend to provide more updates via the Cold Ash Parish NDP website in the coming months .