Wye Neighbourhood Plan Review
The Wye Neighbourhood Development Plan 2015-2030 (WNP) provides the adopted planning policy guidance for the parish of Wye. Ashford Borough Council adopted the WNP as part of its Local Plan in October 2016.
Subsequently the Ashford Local Plan has replaced the Core Strategy, and numerous policies have changed in the National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance. In 2021 the Government published a new draft National Model Design Code and revised the National Planning Policy Framework. Therefore the Wye Neighbourhood Plan needs to be updated to accord with these current policies, and in particular with the forthcoming Planning Bill.
The Wye Neighbourhood Plan review process
The government introduced the Planning Bill in the Queen's Speech on May 11 2021. The main elements of the Bill are:
- Changing local plans so that they provide more certainty over the type, scale and design of development permitted on different categories of land.
- Significantly decreasing the time it takes for developments to go through the planning system.
- Replacing the existing systems for funding affordable housing and infrastructure from development with a new more predictable and more transparent levy.
- Reforming the framework for locally led development corporations to ensure local areas have access to appropriate delivery vehicles to support growth and regeneration.
However, the first draft of the Planning Bill proved highly controversial. In particular, its proposals for arbitrary zoning, and the loss of local democratic control at the application stage. Since July 2021 the Government has indicated that these proposals are now under major review, but the outcome of this remains unclear.
While waiting for the government to clarify its intent for planning legislation, the Parish Council is reviewing its policies and updating the evidence base in readiness. The Parish Council has support for this work from experienced planning professionals, and grant funding from Locality.
The first draft of the WNP review document will emerge from public engagement events and consultations planned during 2022.