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Grange-over-Sands moves closer to neighbourhood plan

29 June 2017

A parish council has taken another important step towards taking a greater role in planning and development in its area.

In 2014 Grange Town Council applied to us for the designation of a neighbourhood plan covering the parish of Grange-over-Sands.

Since then the town council has formed a neighbourhood plan working group to prepare a draft plan and has spent two years working with consultants to come up with the policies and consulting on the idea with residents.

A neighbourhood plan can establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood, such as the location and appearance of new buildings and may identify sites for new development or protection of green spaces.

Parishes with a neighbourhood plan will also receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) arising from developments in the area. This is compared to 15% for those that do not have a Neighbourhood Plan. CIL is a levy charged on new developments over a certain size and the money raised is put towards providing necessary local infrastructure.

At its meeting last week, our Cabinet approved a proposed response to the draft neighbourhood plan.

This is an important step that paves the way for final amendments to the plan, before it is sent back to us for approval. This is followed by an ‘examination’ by an independent examiner who will determine whether it meets the requirements to go forward to a local referendum, when Grange residents will have the final say on the plan.

If the referendum results in a simple majority in favour then the plan would come back to us for adoption.

Once adopted, the neighbourhood plan would become part of the development plan for the district outside the national parks and would be a key document that has to be taken into account when determining any planning applications in Grange-over-Sands parish.

Some other South Lakeland communities have already voted in favour of adopting a Neighbourhood Plan.

Coniston adopted a Neighbourhood Plan in January 2016, while in February this year Heversham and Hincaster Neighbourhood Plan became the first to pass referendum outside the national parks.

In addition, Burneside Parish Council and Lower Allithwaite Parish Council are also in the process of creating neighbourhood plans.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, our portfolio holder for Housing and Innovation, said: “Neighbourhood Plans are all about giving local communities greater control over what happens in their area, so they can have a real say and determine real policies that carry weight in the planning and development process.

“We have a Council Plan value to embrace localism and empower people to have a say in decisions that directly affect them, so I am pleased that many communities in South Lakeland are getting involved in the Neighbourhood Plan process and that Grange is well on the way to becoming the latest see its plan adopted.’’

Grange Town councillor and SLDC member for Grange South, Councillor Tom Harvey, said: “I remember when I first brought this proposal to Grange Town Council in 2014 - this plan has clearly been years in development but Grange has come together and realised that having a plan in place allows us to shape future development for the benefit of our town as well as protect and enhance our open spaces.

“In addition, we will see our receipt of the Community Infrastructure Levy, a fund recovered from all new significant developments, increase from 15% to 25% which is ring-fenced for the local community to spend in our area.

“It's a real win for Grange and I need to thank all the Grange volunteers that have put such a huge amount of work into producing this excellent plan."

Any community interested in preparing a neighbourhood plan can contact us for more information at developmentplans@southlakeland.gov.uk