Neighbourhood Planning

The Future of our Parish
As you will know, Cranbrook & Sissinghurst may well experience some new housing growth and other forms of new development over the coming years, alongside social and economic change. The parish council has therefore agreed to produce a Neighbourhood Plan to help address these potential changes. The Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Neighbourhood Plan will help make sure that any growth is planned and designed in the best possible way to ensure we have an attractive, sustainable, and balanced parish, fit for the future.

What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). When finished, a NDP becomes part of the Local Plan and the planning policies contained within them are then used in the determination of planning applications. It must be stressed that the policies produced for a Neighbourhood Development Plan cannot block development that is already part of the Local Plan. What they can do is shape where that development will go and what it will look like.

How Does Neighbourhood Planning Work?
The local parish or town council will lead on neighbourhood planning in their areas. In this instance, Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Parish Council will lead the project. The parish council has formed an NDP Steering Group that will run the process, reporting back to the parish council on a regular basis. To support the NDP Steering Group, the parish council has recently appointed Feria Urbanism, an independent planning and design team (www.feria-urbanism.eu) who will provide advice on the process of developing a neighbourhood plan and will provide fresh ideas and new ways of thinking. They will also help organise and run the forthcoming community engagement events.

The Local Planning Authority in this instance is Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and it too will be involved. It will support the process at key stages, such as the approval of the neighbourhood area within which the Neighbourhood Plan will have effect. It will also organise the independent examination of the plan and the community referendum that is held at the end of the process. The referendum is an important part of the process allowing those that live in the neighbourhood area to decide whether the Neighbourhood Plan comes into effect or not. This is direct democracy and outlines the importance of working with the wider community and securing their support at an early stage in the process.

What Happens Next?
With the importance of working with the wider community and securing their support at an early stage in mind, Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Parish Council with the support of Feria Urbanism will be organising some key events over the coming months. Dates for you to note include:

  • Sissinghurst Visioning Event
    22nd March 2017 – 7.30pm – 9.30pm
    at St. Georges Institute, Sissinghurst
  • Cranbrook Visioning Event
    23rd March 2017
    at Cranbrook School 6th Form Centre
    7.30pm – 9.30pm

These events will examine some of the critical issues affecting both Cranbrook and Sissinghurst. The Parish Council and the independent planning team would like to hear the view of different organisations and amenity groups. Representatives of different groups will be asked at these events to share their views about what makes Cranbrook and Sissinghurst a special place to live, work and visit. Please put the dates in your diary and attend the event most relevant to you. This could be because it is where you work, where you live or where you spend most of your time in the parish.

Please confirm your attendance by registering with info@cranbrookandsissinghurstndp.co.uk stating the name and contact details of your group and your preferred event.

You are also welcome to attend the follow-up Design Forum event, which will produce the building blocks for the future of the Parish and will be held for three full days on 9th, 10th and 11th May 2017. This will help to produce the definitive Neighbourhood Development Plan.