Ashtead Community Vision Site Allocation – how is this assessed? Good News! The Forum has been officially designated by Mole Valley, which means that we can now carry out overseeing the production of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). We have responded to requests that people would like to see profiles of Forum members so they know a bit more about who is doing the work and why. If you look at the website ‘About Us’ section you will see there is quite a cross section of the community involved. One of the comments made by the councillors at the designation meeting was that they would like to see more young (18-34) people represented, as would we. If you are in that age bracket, or know someone who is please urge them to get involved by joining the Forum. This is after all, about planning for the future of Ashtead for the next 15 years which will be most important to this age group – can they find or afford a house, and will there be sufficient school places? These are some of the questions we are grappling with. We often accuse politicians of short term thinking, so this is our opportunity to plan for the longer term and to have local input into the planning process right from the start – an exciting opportunity which is the reason why many people have joined the Forum. ACV have been awarded a grant of £5000 by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and have also been allocated some direct support, in the form of much needed help and advice, which is to be provided by Planning Aid England. At the August ACV meeting Stella Scrivener from Planning Aid England came to talk to us. Stella suggested holding a workshop in September on site selection and sustainability appraisal which is a very difficult part of the process. It is really important to understand that we have to have a clear, robust method for doing this and it must be completely transparent and fair so that all areas are assessed by the same method. Just because an area is being assessed does not mean that it is appropriate or even available for development. In fact quite the reverse, the assessment may well show that it is quite unsuitable for development for any number of reasons.
All land areas must be judged on 19 criteria that we are using based on the Mole Valley Site Appraisal Toolkit. (see ACV website ‘Documents & Information’) Examples of the kind of assessments that need to be made are: measuring how far a site is to the shops or the station; finding out if there any archaeological or historic features, or unusual ecological features; what is the access to the site like; does the area flood. The group is aiming to provide a draft Green Belt Boundary Review and the Housing Allocations Plans to the Forum in November before carrying out further public consultation and forwarding to Mole Valley for consideration in their Land Allocation Plan for the district. Further work on the NDP will then be undertaken in 2014. Sign up for the Newsletter on the website: www.ashteadcommunityvision.org.uk Contact: Andy Ellis 07530 373975 email: email@example.com Find us on Face book Ashtead Community Vision, and Twitter @AshteadCV
Issue 95, September 2013. Never underestimate the importance of community.