The beginning: January/February 2014
The Steering Group
Loose Parish Council held a public meeting in January to set up its Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (LNPSG). A group* of nine (4 parish councillors and 4 Loose residents) plus a consultant from the Medway Valley Conservation Partnership was first established as the LNPSG, which held its first monthly meeting in February. Sue Grigg, our Borough Councillor, will also have regular contact with the group.
N.B. UPDATE-as at Sept 2015: Chairman-Cllr Jim Andrew; Vice Chair-Terry McKeown (voting Co-Opted member); Cllr Vianne Gibbons (Chairman to the LPC); Reg Langford (Co-Opted voting member); Peter Gardner (Co-Opted voting member);Peter Rigby (Parish Councillor); Tony Oliver (Parish Councillor);Irene Songhurst (Parish Councillor).
The Neighbourhood Plan
The group will prepare a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) which will cover the parish of Loose and embody a vision for the area for the next 20 years or so. A NP, first and foremost, controls the use of land and buildings. It can influence development, housing, housing design, protect and enhance community facilities, protect important local green spaces and the historic environment, and can affect transport and employment. It will have statutory force and must then be taken into account in all planning matters to which it pertains.
Throughout the preparation of the plan it will be important that the content is drawn from the parish community. This will involve meetings, consultations, questionnaires, workshops for everyone to participate, so that local needs and desires are identified and reflected. It is important that the NP does not conflict with the Local Plan (LP) which is being drafted by Maidstone Borough Council (MBC).
When Loose has finalised its draft NP, it will require approval by MBC and then by an independent examiner. Finally, it will be the subject of a referendum by Loose voters. If the referendum is carried the NP will become a statutory planning document to sit alongside the LP to form a planning framework.
Steering Group meetings
The group considers it is looking at a two year timescale for the project. Monthly meetings are held in the King George V Pavilion. They are all open to the public. All are welcome. You will be given the opportunity to speak should you so wish.