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Guardians of Gislingham

By the time you read this the first skirmish in the proposal to build 40 houses on the Greenfield site behind Westview Gardens and the Church will probably be over – the proposal will be considered by the MSDC Development Committee on Wednesday 26th August – and we will know if the outline planning permission has been granted or refused – please see the Guardians website – www.guardiansofgislingham.org.uk – for details of the outcome.

Looking forward it seems likely that further applications for development will be made for Greenfield sites around our village – so what can we do to influence future planning?

The Parish Council arranged for representatives from MSDC to come to the village on 22nd July to explain the options available to the village in relation to influence in future development – the clear message seems to be that Gislingham will have further development – regardless of the wishes of the residents – so the decision remains as to what we can do to ensure that development meets the future needs of our community – rather than simply filling the pockets of developers.

The representatives from MSDC set out 4 options as below – apart from simply doing nothing and fighting off each planning application as it is made:-

  • Village Design Statement – This is mainly related to the style of development, rather than what and where.
  • Parish Plan – This is a more detailed plan, covering many aspects of the village, including future development needs and planning. The village completed one of these in 2011, but it is probably due for an update.
  • Community Led Plan – This is mainly focussed on planning issue and what the community would like to see.
  • Neighbourhood Plan – This is a more formalised plan, which will take quite a lot of time and effort to put together – probably 18 months to 2 years – but is then adopted by the local authority (MSDC)

While all of these options have some influence on planning policy and decisions, only the Neighbourhood Plan carries any real weight, once adopted it becomes part of the local authority “Development Plan” and is a material consideration when determining planning applications – a more detailed explanation of what each of these options covers and requires can be found on the Guardians website.

The Parish council have debated producing a Neighbourhood plan, and have so far come down against it (subject to the outcome of the Parish Council meeting on 24th August – where this topic is once again up for discussion)

Guardians would like to hear the views of all residents of the village about which, if any, of these options we should consider – and how many people would be willing and able to get involved with the production of such a document – please contact us through the guardians website – or e-mail guardiansofgislingham@gmail.com with any comments.

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