There will be a number of strands to the Neighbourhood Plan. One of the most important relates to future housing development in the Parish and its impact on the overall environmental quality of the Parish. As a Parish Councillor and founder member of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, I have been appointed chairman of the Housing and Environment Task Group, which will be responsible for much of the work on these aspects. But it is crucial that the Neighbourhood Plan does not simply reflect the ideas of those of us who have chosen to spend time on committees!
I see my role as being to act as a catalyst and to produce a first stab at issues and policies and then to refine them to reflect the reactions and underlying views of villagers, obtained in the first instance from your comments to ideas and suggested objectives and policies which I and my colleagues will outline on this Parish Council web site. Later, there will no doubt be public meetings, questionnaires and finally next year a Village Referendum on the final draft of the Plan. It is crucial to the success and weight accorded to the ideas in the Plan by decision makers at all levels above the Parish that as many villagers as possible get involved and comment on the emerging Plan.
We have already passed two important milestones. Last October, we launched the Shaping Chailey Questionnaire, which was distributed to every household in the village through “Chailey News”. The format and coverage of the questionnaire reflected the best practice of other parishes that have trodden the Neighbourhood Plan path before us – parishes in Sussex and further afield. Although the response rate was low – about 5% of households – a rich vein of material was generated, not least from the “comments” section. This material was used to enable us to pass the second milestone – the production of a draft Vision Statement that describes in broad terms the sort of village that we wish to see and experience in 2030.
Our next task is to stimulate discussion in the community on the issues that have emerged so far from the process of beginning to draft the Neighbourhood Plan. These issues are:
I need the views on any or all of these issues of everyone who reads about the Neighbourhood Plan on our web site. Please send any comments to me by email via this link.
You may also use the contact form set out below.
Once I have received your thoughts, I shall then use them to derive from the Vision Statement the specific objectives and policies which will enable the vision of a village which “retains its quiet, rural character” where future house building conforms to this ”rural character” and “comprises only small developments in keeping with their surroundings” to be realised in practice. If there is a general consensus, I shall then place these on this web site and will ask you to comment further upon them before they are incorporated within the draft Plan. If your responses suggest that there are serious and significant differences of opinion over any of the issues identified above, then we shall need to meet to discuss and explore these further before anything is incorporated in the Village’s draft Plan.
Councillor Ken Jordan
Head of Housing and Environment Task Group