Those who have lived in the village over the past 3 years can have hardly escaped the mass of consultation exercises carried out by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
These have been reported in the Parish Council minutes, here on my blog, as well as in the parish magazine, and all these events have been neatly summarised in Cllr Chris Poole’s document ‘Feniton Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Statement’, available here.
It’s been an interesting and busy 3 years, with a number of villagers and parish councillors serving on the Steering Group, as and when their other commitments allowed.
I’ve written numerous blogs about the Neighbourhood Plan and its journey from an idea put forward by the Chairman of the Parish Council, Martyn Smith, to where we are today … on the brink of the referendum.
The Neighbourhood Plan document itself (available here) was drafted in response to the many people who completed and submitted a questionnaire in November 2015. A copy of the questionnaire was delivered to every adult in the Neighbourhood Plan area (a map of the area is available here).
The Plan was submitted for consultation on numerous occasions to all the relevant statutory bodies, including (for example) the National Grid, Devon County Council and Heritage England, as well as all the landowners in the area. All views were taken into consideration.
The end result is a Plan detailing what people think about Feniton as a place to live, and how they want Feniton to develop in the years ahead.
Why is this important?
It’s important because if adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will carry real legal force, particularly when it comes to ensuring that Feniton gets the right kind of housing it needs, as opposed to the kind and number of houses developers might want.
Hence, the Referendum, staged by East Devon District Council, asks the single question:
Do you want East Devon District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Feniton to help determine planning applications in the neighbourhood area?
If 50% of those who turn out vote YES, the Neighbourhood Plan is adopted or ‘made’ and will be used as a policy document to guide planning in the Neighbourhood Plan area right up to 2031. Reviews will be held at 5-year intervals to assess whether there is adequate housing to meet the needs of the village.
Those registered for a postal vote will receive the paperwork this week. Otherwise, to vote on the day, you need to attend Feniton’s Sports and Social Club on