Parish plan moves to crucial last phase

An aerial view of Felsted.

An aerial view of Felsted. - Credit: Archant

A plan which will guide development in Felsted over the next 15 years is to be put to the public in a referendum.

A 'neighbourhood development plan' submitted to Uttlesford District Council (UDC) earlier this year has been adopted by the authority and is one step away from becoming officially ratified.

The plan contains policies that seek to guide development in Felsted parish. The policies cover topics such as the environment and general development control issues. After extensive examination and a public consultation, the plan was approved by UDC on November 26. It now needs to be approved by residents of the parish, and will be put to them in a referendum vote. The vote is expected to be held in January.

A spokesman for the Felsted Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group said: "We believe that the plan delivers significant benefits and protections for the parish as a whole and we urge everyone in the parish to vote in the referendum."

Under the Localism Act, communities have been given the chance to help shape the way their areas grow, and a neighbourhood plan is a mechanism to do this. A neighbourhood plan must look at the use of land, and can influence development. It cannot be used to restrict or prevent development.

Felsted is the third parish in the district to reach this stage, with the plan being submitted by the Felsted neighbourhood plan group.

Speaking to the Dunmow Broadcast earlier this year, Roy Ramm, chairman of the plan's steering group, said: "The community has suffered badly from unwanted development over the last few years. Land owners and developers continue to put pressure on our community with schemes that offer nothing to our parish and which are resisted by the community but nevertheless receive planning consent.

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"With support from our parish council and engaged residents, we have worked hard for more than four years to deliver a plan that meets the minimum requirements imposed on us for development over the next 15 years.

"Unlike those that have gone before, our supported developments deliver a wide range of substantial community benefits, including a range of measures to protect our rural environment and a new doctors' surgery wholly owned by the people of a Felsted."