WORKING on behalf of Charmouth Parish Council, the Neighbourhood Planning Team are moving forward to the next stage in the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for the village.
A Neighbourhood Plan sets out policies which will shape how Charmouth is developed in future years.
Policies are currently being written, based upon evidence gathered through village surveys, consultations, professional studies and other historical sources. This is a critical stage in development; ensuring policies are based on solid evidence and conform with West Dorset District Council’s Local Plan, National Planning Policy Framework and other statutory requirements.
These policies will reflect the proposed vision for Charmouth parish, which is:
- To further enhance Charmouth as a friendly, vibrant community
- To protect its unique qualities, including its natural beauty, local history and Jurassic coastline
- To maintain its ability to be self-sustaining by supporting retail units, local businesses and amenities in the village
- To keep its village feel but encourage a small affordable housing development, particularly for families
- To continue to attract tourists and visitors and offer good facilities but avoid being over-commercial
- To meet the everyday needs of our residents
The draft policies being written will give substance to the plan’s aims and vision, which ultimately will help local planning authorities make decisions on planning applications in the neighbourhood area.
Each policy will include a statement of purpose, a summary of relevant evidence and clear planning rationale, and the wording of the policy itself.
To give an example of a draft policy, there is good support within the village to allow a small number of well-designed, affordable houses to be built for local people. A housing development on a large scale will not be supported since, apart from the fact that there are no obvious available sites, it would be considered to have an adverse effect on the village openness, character, natural and heritage assets.
The Neighbourhood Plan is not intending to allocate sites at this stage but would support an appropriate small rural exception site coming forward. These are small sites used for affordable housing in perpetuity where sites would not normally be used for housing.
There are also strong views from villagers on the natural environment and maintaining and protecting its wildlife and natural habitat. A draft policy will be included that requires all housing development proposals to enhance biodiversity and contribute to wildlife and habitat.
Andy Bateman, chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, said: “We want the Neighbourhood Plan to reflect a balance between encouraging small new housing development(s) whilst protecting Charmouth’s natural beauty, historical assets and village character.
“This is one of our principal aims and captured in our vision and proposed policies.”
The Neighbourhood Planning Team will give a presentation at an open forum at 10.30am on Saturday, January 5 2019 at St Andrew’s Hall, Lower Sea Lane, Charmouth, to explain these draft policies.
The planning team would very much welcome feedback from residents and local businesses to ensure they are reflecting their views.