Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Downton need a Neighbourhood plan?
How was it created?
Who is in the team?
What has been done so far?
What is happening next?
How can I ask any questions?
A Neighbourhood Plan is created by local people and can influence how Wiltshire Council planners consider local development. It can propose more development and allocate land for this and could also include policies to manage development such as drainage strategies, renewable energy, and design standards.
A Neighbourhood Plan could be very detailed or it could just consider a few issues, setting general principles to steer new development. This will be up to the local community. It is led by a ‘qualifying body’ – Downton Parish Council is our qualifying body – but must involve the community to make the most of local knowledge and allegiance. However a Neighbourhood plan cannot prevent development and cannot conflict with Wiltshire Council’s development plan
The Wiltshire Core Strategy has allocated to Downton at least 190 new homes through to 2026 (of which some have already been built). Property developers have already submitted planning applications that exceed the village’s allocation. Unless these contravene planning policies, they may be approved. Without a Neighbourhood Plan the people of Downton will have very little influence on what happens. Although a Neighbourhood Plan does not prevent development it can influence its direction, and be informed by local people. For example Downton may want a Neighbourhood Plan that merely identifies what is needed to accommodate the additional housing that is allocated or may want a plan that proposes more housing in order to encourage improved facilities for the village such as a new primary school, or improved employment and leisure facilities.
How was it created?
There was consultation at all stages, and a list of some of the ways that the local community has been involved can be found on the DOCUMENTS page.
A Steering Group was set up at a meeting in January 2014 following an open meeting held November 2013 in the primary school. The Steering Group consisted of 32 interested people living within the area of the Neighbourhood Plan but was reduced to approximately 12 people who played key parts in the ongoing development of the Plan. . The Steering Group’s chair is Nikki Wilson; there are five Parish Councillors – David Mace, Richard Ford, Adam Hayward, Sally Lacey and Jane Brentor – within the Steering Group and the secretaries are currently Hilary Mace and Jane Brentor. Three working groups were set up which met at least monthly:
o Traffic congestion, parking
o Primary School
o Drainage/ Sewage
o GP Surgery
o Lack of affordable housing
o Antisocial behaviour
O Lack of maintenance
For the full results of each of the surveys see DOCUMENTS
A Consultation Statement was completed
The final plan was submitted to Wiltshire Council on the 7th December 2015. It was reviewed and further consultation took place with the revised plan submitted in March 2016.
An External Examiner was appointed in April 2016 and his report was sent to Wiltshire Council in June 2016.
Wiltshire Council sent their ‘Decision Statement’ to the Parish Clerk at the end of September recommending a referendum
The Plan was reformatted to take account of the changes
A referendum will take place on 24th November 2016
The Plan will remain on Wiltshire Council’s consultation portal for six weeks and will then go before the Inspector with any final comments after which a referendum for all residents of the Parish registered to vote. This website will carry details of the date of the referendum.
Please be assured that your email address will only be used in conjunction with the Neighbourhood Plan and will not be passed on to other organisations and individuals.