Though we met only a few people, we got valuable information about what people are thinking, and their perceptions of what a Neighbourhood Plan is.
There is still work to be done:
On getting more feedback and ideas
On explaining what the boundary means
On informing landowners about how they need to be involved in a partnership with the plan and the community if they want to secure planning in the future
On telling people that if they want a plan, it HAS to include space for development, and it CANNOT shut future building out entirely.
Above all, as we go forward to writing the plan itself, we must make sure that each key objective is clearly explained – what it’s about and what it will mean.
We must also make sure that the final vote is well attended, so that it produces a credible result, and that the plan secures an endorsement. If it doesn’t pass, we have either failed to explain, or we will not have reflected the popular view.
The Questionnaire is still LIVE, and we hope more will be filled in and returned, or taken online.
Lowick deserves a larger say in the way the Planning Framework is implemented in the village. John Grundy’s recent talk to the Heritage Group on the buildings of Lowick inspired us to take a step forward with this idea, and now the County Council has approved our application to devise our Local Neighbourhood Development Plan.
What is a Neighbourhood Development Plan?
The following is a shortened version of the advice available from HMG [see this link: NPG]
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead.
Neighbourhood planning is not a legal requirement but a right which communities in England can choose to use.
What are the benefits to a community of developing a neighbourhood plan ?
Neighbourhood planning enables communities to play a much stronger role in shaping the areas in which they live and work and in supporting new development proposals. This is because unlike the parish, village or town plans that communities may have prepared, a neighbourhood plan forms part of the development plan and sits alongside the Local Plan prepared by the local planning authority. Decisions on planning applications will be made using both the Local Plan and the neighbourhood plan, and any other material considerations.
Neighbourhood planning provides the opportunity for communities to set out a positive vision for how they want their community to develop over the next ten, fifteen, twenty years in ways that meet identified local need and make sense for local people.
John Grundy gave an introduction to the buildings of Lowick to the Village Heritage Group in February 2015. John was part of the team that conducted the original Listing of all Northumberland’s finest buildings, back in the 1980s. He was responsible for Lowick. Subsequently he has become one the region’s most respected architectural historians who regularly broadcasts and publishes on North Eastern buildings and their history.
Basing his work on the ground-breaking architectural Domesday Book, Nikolaus Pevsner’s, The Buildings of Northumberland [Pelican], John is a foremost authority on the nature and quality of local buildings, their history and quality.
He rejects any assertion that there is nothing coherent or unique in the built environment of the village. Though modern times have brought with them a number of homes and buildings that reflect the anonymity and conformity of the 20th Century, the character of the village remains intact.
“People are only interested in the extraordinary, not in the well-built past. Once, One North East wouldn’t list Beamish in its advertising because it was too working class.
Northumberland is really rarely other than nineteenth century – that’s what dominates, and that is true of Lowick.
A place like this has a remarkable history and it’s got a remarkable visual character which it doesn’t share of the other villages round about it. And it’s got those things because of its locality – because of its industries, because of the rocks beneath the ground, because of the weather, because of all these things – because of the roads that were built over hundreds of years.”
This document is intended to reflect the nature of the buildings around the village of Lowick with a view to maintaining its architectural and historical heritage for future generations.
It is hoped this will aid the future development of the village, by protecting and enhancing the achievements of the past; by allowing a continued appreciation and understanding of the village’s history and location; and by influencing the design and siting of new development that does not destroy its heritage by hiding it, by demolishing it, or by destroying its essential qualities.
We hope that the village will continue to be home to a community that enjoys, adapts and uses its present amenities; enjoys, reflects on, understands and protects its past; and is confident in building anew to accommodate new homes, and new places of work, leisure, belief and culture.