NHP Update February 2015


With its historic buildings, valley conservation area and distinctive landscape, Loose is a special place. The Parish Council is determined to keep it special for future generations to enjoy. A year ago it set up a Steering Group of Parish Councillors and residents to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for the Parish.

Neighbourhood Plans (NP) have legal force – unlike previous Parish plans which were only advisory.  For example, planning applications will have to comply with the policies in the Loose NP unless there are overwhelming reasons for not doing so.  The NP will help local people to control development over the next 15 years and to protect the aspects of the local environment that are most important to them.

The Steering Group has made good progress, including:

Securing the maximum national grant as well as funding from the Loose Amenities Association, Maidstone BC , KCC and LPC
Carrying out an initial survey  of the views of all Loose residents
Preparing and delivering publicity materials to every Loose household, encouraging participation
Appointing an experienced consultant (Feria Urbanism) to help with the technical aspects of the process

Feria lead two major public consultation events: a “visioning evening” in September (attended by over 100 people) and a 3 day “Design Forum” in October (attended by up to 60 people). Feria’s subsequent report sets out the key outcomes from the Forum, identifies 3 possible policy themes (Access and Movement, Landscape Protection, and Design Quality) and suggests future actions. You can read the report and watch the presentations at the website www.feria-urbanism.eu/loose-downloads.

The Steering Group will shortly be appointing a consultant to provide technical support for the rest of the process. This will involve:

Developing the key themes into an outline plan
Public consultations before preparing the first full draft of the Plan
A  statutory 6 week consultation, followed by preparing a further draft Plan and supporting documents
Another 6 week formal consultation, followed by an independent examination of the Plan
A referendum of all local electors

Look out for further updates, which will give you details of progress and how and when you can comment on proposals. The more Loose residents that do so the stronger the final Plan will be.

In the meantime, if you would like to contribute any views, or join our invaluable team of voluntary helpers, please contact Jan Capon, Clerk to the Parish council at loosepc@btconnect.com (tel 01622 692712)

Jim Andrew Chair, Loose Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group