Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Achieves 1,500+ Responses as the Council Secures £200,000 in Government Funding
An initial consultation on the Chesham Neighbourhood Plan (CNP) has received more than 1,500 responses from residents and stakeholders. The CNP received support from a large majority of respondents, and will set a future vision for the town, with ambitious goals for architectural design, sustainability, public urban and green spaces and the future of the High Street.
Chair of the council's Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, Cllr Nick Southworth, is delighted with the response to the consultation:
“The amount of feedback that we have received is phenomenal, and is testament to just how much people in Chesham care about our town and its future. The initial consultation was a really important step forward to start the conversation in the Town, not just about development but also numerous other issues such as infrastructure and environment. We are determined that what we create is a truly ‘bottom-up’ plan that at every stage truly reflects as closely as possible the views of the community and the input and desires of local people. We will be analysing the data and comments in detail and will consult further with the Town at various stages as we develop this long-term planning vision for Chesham.”
In addition, the council has successfully secured £200,000 from Locality following a grant funding bid to central government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. The funding will be used to prepare Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDOs) as part of the CNP, key tools that allow the Council to maintain control of how any brownfield land is to be developed. NDO’s are in effect planning permissions designed by the local council, which ensure that any organisation that develops land within the footprint of the CNP will need to build in conformity with that permission.
Cllr Nick Southworth sees the successful funding award as the icing on the cake:
"This is a massive coup for Chesham, the scale of funding is beyond even our best expectations when we made the bid and means we can afford to fund detailed high-end design work across numerous sites. Design coding and enhancing our town’s architecture with sympathetic development had huge support in our recent survey, and this means we can really deliver on that. We have been clear from the start that the Neighbourhood Plan is about taking control of planning in Chesham, and NDO’s will allow us to ensure that new buildings reflect our unique architecture and history. They will grant us control over development right up to the end product, so brownfield land won't just be freed up and then used for ugly or inappropriate schemes, but rather for development in accordance with the NDO. When twinned with the rigorous town-wide Design Code which we are also working on, we can take a firm grip on future development. The Town Council has already engaged Create Streets, a specialist leading consultancy in this field to help us with this important work and we are very excited about working with them to create something truly ambitious for Chesham."
Plans are already underway for a second consultation on the CNP in a few months’ time, which will be widely advertised to stakeholders and the community. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to find out more by visiting our Neighbourhood Plan page.