Many of you will know Lucy Hughes if you have produced a neighbourhood plan in Cheshire or Warrington. But we are sad to say that she has moved on to pastures new.
We wish her all the best and I’m sure all the neighbourhood groups she has worked with will join us in thanking her for the dedicated and skilful support she has provided to groups across the sub-region. It’s fair to say that Lucy was the main reason why Cheshire has so many successfully adopted neighbourhood plans (still one of the highest concentrations in the country), having supported around 70 groups over the last 7 years.
Needless to say, this leaves a big gap in our service offer. Hence we will not be providing technical neighbourhood plan policy support to groups going forward. However, we will be continuing to offer our members general advice on the neighbourhood planning process. Our updated neighbourhood planning page describes our revised service offer to members, and includes links to grant funding support and toolkit resources that can help you through the process.
Any groups that are thinking about starting, reviewing or simply continuing your existing project to produce a neighbourhood plan, government funding to pay for support is now available up to March 2024. Visit: neighbourhoodplanning.org to apply.
As always keep your Local Planning Authority in the loop of your current neighbourhood plan project or intention to produce or review neighbourhood plans, as they should be able to give advice on the process, Local Plan Policy, and point you towards useful resources and information. Both Cheshire Authorities have very comprehensive toolkits with lots of useful guidance: Cheshire West Neighbourhood Planning Toolkit, Cheshire East Neighbourhood Planning Toolkit.
We will continue to offer our members discounts for ‘evidence gathering services’ including: housing needs reports, community surveys and engagement activities to parish and town councils or neighbourhood forum members. Housing needs reports can help inform neighbourhood planning housing policies, planning applications for affordable and community-led housing developments, as well as providing Parish and Town Councils with the evidence needed to effectively respond to planning applications and policy consultations to help influence decisions that affect their communities.
If you’re not interested in housing, you may still need to gather evidence for other neighbourhood plan policies, a funding application for your village hall or other community organisation. Or you may be a newly elected Parish Councillor wanting to understand your community better to take action and improve services for local people. If so, we can still help you with community engagement.
For more information on CCA’s evidence gathering services visit: Housing Needs Reports or contact John Heselwood about help with community engagement.