Neighbourhood Development Plans were introduced by Westminster in 2011 to devolve more decision-making powers from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils :
“Instead of local people being told what to do, the Government thinks that local communities should have genuine opportunities to influence the future of the places where they live. The Act introduces a new right for communities to draw up a neighbourhood plan."
Neighbourhood Development Plans are essentially land usage plans, justifying what land must be protected, what land might be developed and setting aside some of that for particular purposes such as a doctor's surgery. Having an NDP would therefore give us, the local community of Peasmarsh, a genuine opportunity to input to and shape the future of our village. For example, we would have a say in where development sites were to be located rather than third parties such as prospective developers doing so purely in their own interests. However, it would not allow us to block all developments, we have to accept that some development is essential.
NDP's are subject to both an independent examination and a referendum – needing to receive 50% or more of vote share – as well as being in “general conformity” with RDC's Core Strategy. If accepted and ratified by a referendum, our NDP would become part of the 'Local Development Framework' and have legal weight as a statutory document.
There would also be financial benefits for Peasmarsh. Once we have an NDP, more of what is called the 'community infrastructure levy' charged to developers would come to Peasmarsh for projects and we would have a say in what those projects would be.
In general, NDP's should match the planning cycle of the district in which the village belongs. As it happens, Rother has recently started on a new planning cycle which will cover the period 2019 to 2039. We have therefore opted to make our Plan to match that as far as possible [although we cannot have a start date before starting to create the Plan].
If you want to see what an NDP looks like, several of Rother's parishes already have them in place. For example :