What is a Place Plan?
In England, Neighbourhood Plans have become commonplace. They were introduced by the David Cameron led Coalition government as an extra layer in the planning system to provide a legal voice to local communities. In England the Neighbourhood plan is built into planning law. If a community has more than 50% of the electorate signup to the plan, then it becomes policy, just as County planning policies sit under national planning policy. English Neighbourhood Plan policies cannot prevent all development, nor can they go against other policies - but they can set out specific local locals, designs, scale and address standards that are specific to the local area.
In Wales, planning policy is fully devolved to the Welsh Government. There are no Neighbourhood plans in Wales. However, the national planning policy - Planning Policy Wales - sets out the intention for planning to follow local plans; local at County level to start with - but with the future addition of 'Place Plans', designed by communities to feed into the Local Plan and provide that unique local knowledge.
There are no Place Plans to refer to in Wales yet. Other communities, such as Gwernymynydd and Mold have developed Community Development Plans with some success. In other villages across the UK, there have been Parish Plans and Village Plans which deal with a vision for their community enhancement outside of planning.
Why are we doing it?
The way the Local Development Plan (Flintshire) process works leaves the growth and development of our community in the hands of others. In the last local plan (UDP), the decision was made to allow Penyffordd to grow by over 25% in two developments, which were allowed to happen all at the same time. The Community Council, schools and residents registered objections, but they were overruled. Preparation for the next Local Plan (LDP) is underway and we expect public consultation on individual 'candidate sites' to start later this year. The planners at Flintshire will review all of the sites, from a planning point of view, will consider the objections and weigh up whether each site should be developed or not.
Our Place Plan sets out criteria based on the opinions of the community, for example it is the communities view that settlements of 25 homes are the largest that should be allowed on a single site. That aim alone will significantly reduce the number of sites for consideration in the village. Assuming the village will have further growth in the coming years, the plan also sets out what type of homes the village needs - affordable homes and homes for the elderly.
For the Plan to work, we need to village to 'vote' to adopt it and we will be asking Flintshire County Council's cabinet to vote to adopt it too. The aim for for the Plan to be a 'material consideration' in planning matters. That means it will carry significant weight when Planning Officers are considering future applications - it is a close as we can get to protecting the village. We have been advised to follow this process by planning officers at Flintshire and Welsh Government and we are keen to make it work.
Our Place Plan
In our Place Plan, we have effectively combined the two. But the plan goes beyond planning:
- Social, Community & History
Shares the current facilities, sports teams, clubs, societies, buildings and resources. It sets out some aims and community projects which would support and enhance the community facilities.
Deals with planning matters, as far as we are able to by recommending the future quantity and scale of developments as well as features of the design and mixture of properties as well as other environmental and traffic matters which are dealt with in the Flintshire UDP or National Policy but are particularly relevant to our own needs.
Looks at walking, cycling, roads and public transport with recommendations of changes to traffic calming, the introduction of speed limits and the enhancement of our footpaths and train station.
Looks at a range of local environmental issues including open space, biodiversity, drainage and flooding.
Supports the wide variety of local businesses and what can be do to support them including recommendations for new office space and redeveloping farm buildings.
The document is supported by an Appendix which provides background to the process, the people involved, the many documents and policies referenced in the preparation as well as the plan to keep the document up to date.
You can view the whole plan here >>>