Bunbury’s Neighbourhood Plan has successfully passed a key milestone on its way to helping protect the community from unplanned and unsustainable development. The plan has been given the green light by a planning examiner.
Bunbury Parish Council was one of the first in Cheshire East to take up the new neighbourhood planning powers and, following a public hearing, the examiner has declared the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan meets and passes all the relevant tests. This means that, subject to some modifications, the plan can now move forward to a local referendum, where the residents of Bunbury can vote on it.
If the referendum is successful, the policies in the plan will be brought into full effect and used when Cheshire East Council considers planning applications in Bunbury parish.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of housing and planning, said:
“This is a fantastic achievement for the parish council and the neighbourhood plan steering group and I’d like to congratulate everyone involved on all the hard work that’s been put in to reach this point. Neighbourhood plans are a key part of our commitment to putting ‘residents first’ and we fully support communities in putting them in place. Neighbourhood plans enable local people to develop policies to address those planning matters that affect not only their interests but also their wellbeing. They allow communities to take ownership of planning policy, which directly impacts on their lives.
“The next steps are to put this plan to the people of Bunbury and ask if they would like it to be used to inform and shape planning decisions. If more than half of those that vote are in favour of the plan, Cheshire East will formally ‘adopt’ it and bring it into force. Bunbury is the second neighbourhood plan to pass examination in Cheshire East, following Brereton’s successful examination recently, and we look forward to supporting our growing number of neighbourhood planners to get to the same point.”
The plan contains a number of policies specifically designed to shape development in Bunbury, including policies on local design, landscape and scale of development. The community has been brought into the plan-making process from the very beginning and, over the past three years, has designed a plan that is unique to Bunbury and seeks to shape development to benefit the community.
A referendum is anticipated in the coming spring. If the plan is backed, the policies in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan will then be given their full weight in deciding planning applications. Cheshire East press release