Ashwell Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 16 Submission

Ended on the 15 April 2021
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Executive summary

The Ashwell Neighbourhood Plan ('the ANP') has been developed in response to Government legislation.

Consultation via three surveys has been carried out to ensure the ANP reflects collective views on how Ashwell should develop. Moreover, the community of Ashwell has been further consulted throughout the development of the Plan to ensure their views are reflected and that the Plan can be said to have been agreed to, and adopted by, the community.

This Vision for the ANP has been agreed.

Our vision is to ensure Ashwell continues to thrive and grow as a community, whilst safeguarding the village's character. We want to ensure that growth is sustainable and the village continues to meet the needs of its people.

We want to enhance the facilities of the village to meet the challenges and changing needs of the community, to ensure that the parish remains sustainable and cohesive. Our village also needs a strong local economy and well-maintained infrastructure that supports its needs and connects the parish to the wider community.

The Plan has the following 10 Objectives to achieve this Vision:

  1. To encourage sustainable development that reflects the needs of the village and ensures that the community can develop and evolve in an appropriate way.
  2. To support sustainable local businesses and encourage the development of a strong local economy.
  3. To provide recreation and sporting facilities that meet the needs of the community and reflect changing requirements.
  4. To promote healthy communities.
  5. To safeguard against the loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community's ability to meet its day-to-day needs.
  6. To provide high quality education facilities for local children.
  7. To ensure that the village can support the changing needs of the residents by providing improved accessibility and enhancements to key village facilities.
  8. To conserve and enhance the historic character of the village and its rural setting.
  9. To conserve and enhance the natural environment of the parish, its flora and its fauna.
  10. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using renewable and low carbon energy technologies in new housing and infrastructure developments.

The Plan lays out 22 Policies to ensure all aspects of life within Ashwell remain in line with the Vision and these Objectives:

  • POLICY ASH1 Location of development: Inside the village settlement boundary development that is consistent with all relevant policies and that meets Ashwell Design Statement guidelines will normally be allowed.

    Building on land that has already had some form of development, before exploiting greenfield sites, is preferred, but also subject to relevant policies and design guidelines .

    Proposals to build outside the boundary are subject to rules similar to those that protect the Green Belt...

  • POLICY ASH2 Housing mix: In the neighbourhood area there is a demand for a greater number of smaller one, two and three-bedroom dwellings at lower quartile cost (as indicated by ONS Housing datasets for the district of North Hertfordshire). The demand comes from single people, young couples, small families and older people who also need developments to be in suitable locations, close to public transport, the village centre and other amenities.

    Therefore, planning applications should be for smaller dwellings (up to three bedrooms) at a cost or at a rent that is financially within the reach of these demographic categories.

    Every planning application should include an explanation of how the development meets the housing needs of our parish, as defined in this section.

    NHDC's rules relating to providing what is officially termed 'Affordable Housing' must be followed.

  • POLICY ASH3 Character of development: A large part of Ashwell village lies inside a Conservation Area and it has five Local Character Areas. Development must preserve and complement the features that make this place special. Subject to that, innovative design will be supported where it clearly enhances its surroundings.
  • POLICY ASH4 Design of development: As well as integrating with its surroundings, construction is expected to be of good quality. It should conform to the standards of design in the Ashwell Village Design Statement 2000, as amended in 2018 (Appendix E) and to other standards defined by Government or professional bodies, including the ones relating to the needs of older people.
  • POLICY ASH5 Flood risk: Parts of Ashwell are liable to flooding. Planning applications are expected to observe standards that help manage this.
  • POLICY ASH6 Sustainable water supply: Water resources in the area are limited and vulnerable to over-exploitation. New builds should have low water consumption needs. Reducing demand for water extraction may also help to protect flow rates at Ashwell Springs.
  • POLICY ASH7 Environmentally sustainable design: New construction should have low energy needs in line with current best practice. Alterations to existing buildings should aim to reduce resource requirements when this is compatible with their historic character.
  • POLICY ASH8 Protecting historic assets: Development will not normally be allowed if it eliminates or damages historic structures, buildings or structures of local interest or their immediate setting.
  • POLICY ASH9 Locally significant views: Ashwell has significant views that make an important contribution to the area's attractive rural character. Developments may not have a detrimental impact on them.
  • POLICY ASH10 Natural landscape and rural character: Other than single householder applications developments should fit into the landscape, minimize damaging impacts on its ecology and protect existing natural features, e.g. trees and hedgerows. Development should also provide open space, accessible to the general public.
  • POLICY ASH11 Natural wildlife assets, wildlife corridors and green infrastructure: Planning applications should take account of the need to manage wildlife assets, wildlife corridors and green infrastructure, and must demonstrate a net biodiversity gain using the DEFRA/Natural England metric. The proposals must have no adverse effect on Ashwell Springs.
  • POLICY ASH12 Local Green Spaces: The Foresters Allotments is a site proposed for designation as a Local Green Space. In planning terms it would then be treated in a similar way to Green Belt land.
  • POLICY ASH13 Incubator/flexible start-up business space: The ANP will encourage planning applications to provide new business space.
  • POLICY ASH14 Broadband provision: Where possible, network providers are expected to install superfast broadband in new properties.
  • POLICY ASH15 Retail and services in Ashwell village centre: Planning applications to change the use of current retail and service premises will only be supported if these businesses can no longer remain viable.
  • POLICY ASH16 Provision of leisure and recreation facilities: The ANP will favour planning proposals that add to or enhance leisure facilities for Ashwell residents. The Parish's share of statutory contributions from developers will be used to enhance facilities.
  • POLICY ASH17 Protection of public houses: Planning applications to change the use of public houses will only be supported if they can no longer remain viable. Proposals to expand their use will be supported if it is to provide a similar community resource (e.g. restaurant).
  • POLICY ASH18 Maintaining existing health services: The ANP will support proposals that maintain or enhance existing health facilities and encourage regular liaison between local health services and the Parish Council to improve provision.
  • POLICY ASH19 Education provision: Planning applications should provide solutions to their impact on education provision. The ANP will support proposals that do this if they maintain or, preferably, enhance the quality of provision.

    The Parish's share of statutory contributions from developers will be used to enhance facilities.

  • POLICY ASH20 Accessible paths in the village and rural areas: The ANP expects existing bridleways and footpaths to be preserved and kept in good condition. All new developments must provide footways that link with the existing network. The ANP will support proposals that improve cycling or walking, separated from vehicles.
  • POLICY ASH21 Bus services and community transport: Development proposals that help improve public and community transport will be supported, as will those reducing the impact of traffic and parking. The Parish's share of statutory contributions from developers will be used to enhance facilities.
  • POLICY ASH22 Residential and public car parking: Planning applications should not include proposals that create more demand for on-street car parking.

In short, the ANP envisages that Ashwell, a rural and vibrant village with strong historical links, will continue to grow and thrive as a community, whilst safeguarding the village's character. Moreover, any growth should be sustainable. Any development must respect the values and needs of the people who live here in relation to the environment they enjoy.

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