The Localism Act 2011 introduced new rights and powers for communities to shape new development by preparing Neighbourhood Plans for their areas. This will make it easier for local people to influence how new development takes place in their communities.
Shepton Mallet Town Council decided in 2012 to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan and since then a number of consultation events have been held to find out the views of the public on the issues that are important in the town.
The Neighbourhood Plan regulations state that Parish and Town councils should formally apply to the district council to agree an appropriate Neighbourhood Area which the plan will relate to. In making a decision, the district council must first notify potentially affected parties and invite comments as part of a consultation.
The consultation, which will run from Thursday 12th September for six weeks, will allow the local people of Shepton Mallet and the surrounding areas to notify Mendip District Council of any comments they have on the extent of proposed Neighbourhood Plan areas. The consultation exercise is seeking views from people who live and work in Shepton Mallet as to whether the area that has been identified is considered to be appropriate.
At this stage, the consultation is concentrating on the Neighbourhood Plan boundary with future consultations being held to allow local residents to comment on the content of the plan.
Anna Blackburn, senior planning policy officer at Mendip District Council said, “We would urge local residents to respond to this consultation if they think that the boundary being used should be different from what is now proposed.
“Shepton Mallet will be consulting directly on their draft plans in coming months and at that time local people will be asked to comment on specific local sites, projects and policies being proposed.”
Cllr Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, portfolio holder for built environment, said, “The new Localism Act is of great benefit to smaller communities as it will allow them to work with their local parish or town council to shape development in their area.
“Consultation is a vital part of this as it allows everyone a chance to become involved at any stage of the process. This is an opportunity that I urge other towns and villages to get involved with before it’s too late.”
The proposal is available to be viewed online at www.mendip.gov.uk/neighbourhoodplanning as well as at the district council offices.
If you wish to comment on the applications you can do so by emailing [email protected] or in writing to Mendip District Council, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT.