The final steps towards the publication of a Neighbourhood Plan for Hailsham are coming ever closer, following receipt of the Examiner’s report referring to it as a ‘hugely impressive Plan’ and recommending that the Plan moves forward to a public referendum on Thursday 6th May.
The Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan, written by a group made up of members from the community and from Hailsham Town Council’s Neighbourhood Planning Committee, proposes a number of policies relating to what infrastructure and development is needed to sustain future housing growth in the Hailsham area, taking into consideration local environment and sustainability, design, housing type, traffic and transport, economy, services and facilities.
The plan does not identify housing or growth as such (which is the role of the Wealden District Council planning authority), and is based on the concept of the ‘Ten-Minute Town’, promoting social cohesion, health and well-being in the local community.
In his report, Examiner John Slater stated:
“Overall, this is a hugely impressive neighbourhood plan which seeks to fundamentally influence the way that new development is developed. It strives to deliver high quality places, based on a clear strategy of ensuring connectivity and high-quality design.
I commend the Town Council for the ambition and the clarity of purpose that it has shown. The plan document itself is fit for purpose, is well laid out, can be read easily and makes good use of illustrations and photographs.
Generally, the document is Hailsham-specific, having locally distinct policies which are based on evidence and a sound understanding of the existing character of the town. It draws upon good urban design principles and how they contribute to place making.”
The original date scheduled for the public referendum was postponed as a result of coronavirus regulations passed by the national government last April, preventing all referendums and elections from taking place in May 2020 because of the risks concerning the pandemic.
The Hailsham Neighbourhood Plan ‘s rescheduled public referendum will be held on Thursday 6th May, when voters will be asked to answer simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question of whether they wish for the Plan to be used by the Planning Authority in determining planning applications within the parish up to 2028.
“I’m extremely pleased that things have moved forward to the final stage of the Neighbourhood Plan process and we can now encourage people to take the time to vote in the referendum,” said Councillor Mary Laxton, chairman of the Neighbourhood Planning Committee.
“The referendum is the final key stage in the process for your Neighbourhood Development Plan. Without a successful ‘yes’ vote, the plan cannot be adopted as statutory planning policy by Wealden District Council, so it’s important that residents take part in the referendum and vote ‘Yes’ for the Neighbourhood Plan to be made.”
“If you vote in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan, it will carry equal weight to the policies contained within Wealden District Council’s adopted Local Plan and will be given due weight and consideration in future planning applications.”
Town Clerk John Harrison commented: “It’s been a very long and arduous journey to get this far with the development of a neighbourhood plan for Hailsham. Nevertheless, I’m delighted for the local community after the amount of work they have contributed from the outset.”
“Special thanks must be given to all Neighbourhood Planning Committee members, in addition to the appointed consultants – Troy Planning Ltd – for their hard work from day one, and members of the public who attended our various public consultations and engagement events – having taken the time to share their views and give us vital feedback.”
To view the referendum version of the Hailsham Neighbourhood Development Plan, visit: https://www.hailsham-tc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Hailsham-NDP-Referendum-version1.pdf.