Described as: ‘your neighbourhood, your future‘, the draft Marlborough Area Neighbourhood Plan (pre-submission document), covering the parishes of Manton, Mildenhall and Savernake as well as Marlborough, is currently out for public consultation – which comes to an end on 8 March.
There will be an online event to beheld on Wednesday 24 February at 7pm, where you can ask questions and have your say, and if you would like to attend please visit email@example.com to register.
The aim of the Plan is to ensure that, as far as possible, land is used in a way that reflects what local people want and need. The Town Council wish to stress that without a Neighbourhood Plan, local people will have less control over what happens with the land in their area.
The Plan has been drawn up through a programme of extensive public consultation over the past four years, including surveys and expert analysis. The objective was to identify needs including affordable housing, more parking space, increased cemetery capacity, sports facilities and medical facilities. Local people also emphasised the importance of providing protection for our natural environment, the landscapes in the surrounding area, the open spaces in our communities and, of course, our heritage assets.
Mervyn Hall, Chair of the MANP Steering Group said: “Without a Neighbourhood Plan, the local area would be at risk of unwanted speculative development, far more than that proposed in the plan and we may also be left with little protection for many of our green assets. It’s designed to meet the needs of Marlborough with Manton, Mildenhall and Savernake. We listened to what these communities told us, sought evidence to back it all up properly and have set out policies to address those local needs. We now need feedback so we can make any amendments to the Plan before it goes on to the next stage and eventually to referendum at which local people can vote to protect their local area up to 2036.”
The Neighbourhood Plan does have to deal with difficult issues, there is a clearly documented and evidenced need for more affordable housing within Marlborough and limited areas where homes can actually be built. There are and will continue to be, strongly held views and the Steering Group, made up of community volunteers and representatives from various local organisations, is trying to balance these concerns with the needs of the whole community. This group has no powers or funding to purchase land (e.g., for another surgery or for new sports pitches); it can only request landowners to make land available and require that, when sites come up for planning permission, the Local Planning Authority (Wiltshire Council), takes account of local preferences for land use as set out in the legally binding community-led Neighbourhood Plan.
The Plan includes five suggested sites for housing development. These sites were chosen from a longer list of land offered by landowners in a response to a call for sites. Each site was reviewed and many were rejected as not suitable, for example, because of their effects on housing nearby or encroaching too much on green spaces.
What happens next? Following this formal public consultation (known as Regulation 14), the Plan will be reviewed, taking into account local feedback, checks against legislation and examination by an independent examiner (Regulation 15). A further public consultation (Regulation 16) is then followed by a public referendum. If passed (known as ‘Made’), the plan will cover the period up to 2036.
If you wish to take part in the consultation the draft Neighbourhood Plan and supporting documents are available at: www.marlborough-tc.gov.uk and you can send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org