When new buildings and developments are planned there are many rules, policies and strategies that have to be considered before the local authority planners will give them permission to go ahead. Most of these are driven by national, regional or city-level authorities.
A neighbourhood plan is an important part of this jigsaw and is different because it is driven by local people who live and work in the area affected. It sets out the kind of development that local people would like to see in their area. It outlines any heritage buildings that should be preserved and the characteristics that people would like to see as developments happen.
The plan is drawn up by local people coming together in a Neighbourhood Forum – a group specifically set up to make the plan. It has to be widely consulted on and before it is accepted all the people in the area have to vote on it.
The area around Windmill Hill has lots of potential for development. It is within easy walking distance of the station, the centre and has East Street shopping nearby. Already there are proposals for developing the ‘Bedminster Green’ sites (between the city farm, the railway and St Catherine’s Parade) and it is not hard to imagine the area between the railway and the river as being a prime area for new developments.
A group of residents, including members of WHaM (Windmill Hill and Malago planning group) have started the process, supported by the city farm, of making a neighbourhood plan that will give an outline of what would be good development in the area. The area in question is bounded by the river to the north, St Luke’s Road to the east, Bedminster Parade and Malago Rd to the west and St John’s Lane to the south (see the sketch map). Anyone living or working in this area will be asked to vote on the final plan and can get involved in saying what they think the plan should be.
The plan is developed by a ‘neighbourhood forum’. This is a group of at least 21 people who are up for making the plan. If you’ve any interest in what gets built around your home (or work) then it’s worth getting involved. It doesn’t necessarily involve much time commitment – though it can do if you’re keen to shape how it goes forward.
If you would like to know more and keep in touch with what’s happening with the plan send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title ‘Neighbourhood Plan’. You can say whether you just want to get occasional updates or want to get a bit more involved.