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This article gives an update on the latest activities from the NDP Steering Group.
In the June edition of the Parish Magazine, we said we would provide an update on the HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) this month.
What is the HELAA?
The HELAA is West Berkshire Council’s (WBC) assessment of potential development sites across West Berkshire, including our Parish, and is a key element of WBC’s Local Plan Review; the Local Plan is looking at wider development needs for West Berkshire and how best to meet them, through to 2036.
What’s happened to date?
In February, a number of Cold Ash Parish Councillor’s attended WBC’s Thatcham and Newbury consultation workshops, to informally discuss the sites that had been identified in the HELAA. The aim of the workshops was to share the current thinking on the viability of sites within our parish and neighbouring parishes/districts, and to provide an opportunity for us to feed in information on local issues, preferences for sites, and community aspirations. WBC committed to take these into account, alongside its own criteria.
In order to assess the sites in an objective way WBC has its own criteria, that has four measures:
On what basis did Cold Ash Parish Council respond?
Following the initial consultation, the first draft of the HELAA assessment was published and Cold Ash Parish Council was given the opportunity to provide written comments. These were drafted by the NDP Steering Committee and reviewed by the full Parish Council, prior to sending a response; this was done in March. Our response was informed by a set of Site Assessment Criteria that we are in the process of developing, which are in turn informed by our Village Design Statement (VDS) and work done on our NDP to date, which included the results of the polling of parishioners in our 2019 NDP survey.
The essence of our response was:
For more information and to view the HELAA sites go to: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/helaa
What happens next?
We, the Cold Ash Parish Council, through the NDP Steering Group, will continue to work with West Berkshire Council both proactively, by regularly sharing local concerns, issues, preferences and aspirations, and reactively, through responding to Local Plan updates. This work will continue to run in parallel with the development of our Neighbourhood Development Plan which, if accepted via a referendum of parishioners, will give the parish council much more control and influence over the siting and nature of developments within the parish (note: the number of new dwellings will continue to be decided by WBC). A key element of the NDP work is the ongoing development and testing of our Site Assessment Criteria for the parish. This will be essential in ensuring that any future responses are both objective and reflect the preferences and aspirations of you, our parishioners. We will provide more information on this in a future article.
It is important that our work with, and feedback to, West Berkshire Council is fully informed by the views of you, our parishioners. So please pass any views you have on this, or any other NDP related subject, to the NDP Steering Group by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This update and other related information are available on the Cold Ash Parish NDP website at http://www.coldashparishndp.org/
Cold Ash NDP Communications Lead
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