Alvechurch villagers urged to back the neighbourhood plan - The Redditch Standard

Alvechurch villagers urged to back the neighbourhood plan

Redditch Editorial 15th Oct, 2017 Updated: 16th Oct, 2017   0

A DRAFT plan which, if approved by Alvechurch and Hopwood residents will give them greater control over new building developments, has entered its final phase of public consultation.

The six week exercise into the Neighbourhood Plan for Alvechurch parish kicked off with a three day open event at the village Baptist Church.

For a village mentioned in the Domesday Book, its advocates hope the protection the plan offers will guarantee its integrity well into the 21st Century.

The plan, which has to be backed by a referendum of residents, is the product of five years of labour by a team of volunteers who have spent roughly £14,000 – paid for through grants – to get the plan to this stage.

At its heart is the realisation that, while Bromsgrove District Council has the final say on whether a development takes place in the parish, a neighbourhood plan gives Alvechurch unprecedented powers to influence its location and looks while protecting local amenities.

“Between 2023 and 2030 Bromsgrove has to support some 2,400 new homes and it has said some green belt land around Alvechurch will have to be released,” said parish councillor Adrian Smith who had chaired the neighbourhood plan steering group.

“With a neighbourhood plan we can support and advise where those houses go, rather than let Bromsgrove build where it wants.”

The neighbourhood plan goes further: It features 28 policies covering everything from controlling the visual impact of any development, protecting historic sites – the parish boundaries include medieval parks – and sites of special scientific interest.

It also aims to keep the village thriving by ensuring any development is within walking distance of the village centre to support local facilities and quite possibly enhance them.

The consultation will include a leaflet drop to every home in the parish. The document will then have to be approved by an independent inspector before it goes forward for public approval, most likely at the local elections in May 2018.

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