Neighbourhood Plan

About the plan

November 2012: As you may be aware the Government is giving local communities the chance to set their own policies on what development they want in their area. The National Planning Policy Framework is the Government standard for development in the UK, each District will then produce a Core Strategy for their specific area and under that local communities will then produce a Neighbourhood Plan. As a Town Council, Alcester Town Council is the qualifying body to publish the Neighbourhood plan for the parish of Alcester. Alcester is expanding and we need to plan and provide for all types of infrastructure such as schools, health centres, community facilities and transport to support higher levels of population, housing and job growth.

February 2013:  A Steering Group made up of Alcester Town Council Councillors to oversee the process towards writing the final plan, the community were asked to get involved in consultation on the Community Forum so that the Plan reflects how the residents of the parish of Alcester feel.

A third draft of the Core Strategy – Draft Core Strategy 2012 and accompanying Sustainability Appraisal was also published for consultation in February 2012.

July 2013: Stratford-on-Avon District Council published an Intended Proposed Submission Core Strategy. It contained new proposals for a Canal Quarter Regeneration Zone in Stratford and a New Settlement at Gaydon/Lighthorne Heath. These were consulted on in August-September 2013.

August 2013: In the latest draft of the Stratford District Core Strategy Document Alcester was allocated two areas of land for future development for the duration of the Core Strategy (until 2028). These two plots of land already have planning applications which have now gone to appeal, the outcome of this appeal will determine all of the housing allocation for Alcester for the next 15 years.

December 2013: the District has to take a considerable number of additional houses, as you may have heard there are plans to put a huge development in Lighthorne Heath which is coming under increasing opposition. If the houses there don’t go ahead, then where are they going to go? Alcester Town Council have been made aware of proposals from Stratford District Council that Alcester could take nearly 4000 houses on the land on the other side of the bypass! It is felt that this will destroy the feel of the town as we know it and will almost create a “New Town” leaving the “Old Town” with potentially no future investments.

January 2014: Stratford-on-Avon District Council Cabinet approved the Designated Neighbourhood Plan Area, as was submitted by Alcester Town Council last June. This was the first formal hurdle towards the creation of the plan to identify the area that the policies written in the plan will relate to. The Desiganted Area is the whole of the Parish of Alcester, which was the maximum area the plan could cover, based on the recent boundary review whilch was published in 2013 but does not come into full effect until 2015. Although we cannot publish the Alcester Neighbourhood Plan until the District Core Strategy is in place. The newly formed Stratetic Planning Committee of Alcester Town Council will be writing a draft Plan in line with the Strategic objectives of the Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s emerging Draft Core Strategy, the residents of Alcester will then be consulted on this draft plan. This draft, once adopted by Alcester Town Council will provide some security with local evidence and that there are better locations for sustainable future development within the Town in case Stratford make any changes to their Core Strategy.

February 2014: Stratford-on-Avon District Council carried out a Further Focused Consultation on a small number of specific matters: changing the plan period to 2011 – 2031; changing the housing requirement to 10,800 homes over this period; and site options for meeting the proposed increase in the housing requirement.

May 2014: Stratford District Council have approved the latest version of the emerging draft core strategy. The Strategic Planning working group have a draft Alcester Neighbourhood Plan written and are beginning meetings with the neighbouring parishes to outline the Alcester Neighbourhood Plan and the impact it will have for the surrounding areas.

June 2014: “Our Alcester” Community engagement group launched with a new website and social media sites. AGS students on their community day conducted a stage one questionnaire.

The Proposed Submission Core Strategy was also published in June 2014 with a six week period for all interested parties to make representations on the legal compliance and soundness of the Plan. It was submitted to the Secretary of State in September 2014.

September 2014: The Alcester Town Councillors are out and about in the Town with the “Our Alcester Roadshow”. Conducting another two surveys in their next phase of community engagement. The questionnaires can also be found online.

January 2015: Examination Hearings of the Stratford District Core Strategy were held throughout January and the Examination Inspector published an Interim Report in March 2015.

March 2015: Since the Autumn Roadshows the team have still been hard at work, having secured a Government grant towards the work in producing a Neighbourhood Plan, a consultant was employed to look at the work done so far and set the direction for the next stage of producing a draft plan. An Alcester Town Plan and Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire has been delivered to every household in the Parish. Following the successes from the previous Town Plan, we have repeated some of those questions to find out if your views have changed and if there are any new issues that should be addressed. The second part of the questionnaire summarises what conclusions we came to from the previous community engagement and asking if you agree with the conclusions.

May 2015: Following the election the remaining and new Councillors voted to become a Health and Wellbeing Council as part of its Localism agenda.

June 2015: The results of the household Questionnaire have been published in the ATC Summer Newsletter. We are now be at a stage to prepare the draft Neighbourhood Plan, copies of this will then be available for residents to have their say once again. By the time we come to the Referendum we need at least 51% of those voting to agree with the contents of the Neighbourhood Plan for it to be adopted as an official document.

August 2015: Stratford-on-Avon District Councillors have adopted 21 Core Strategy policies on an interim basis for the purpose of development management. Councillor Chris Saint, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council says: “A huge amount of work has gone into this over the past few years.  It has been a long and complex process and we are pleased that the basis for a number of the policies is now largely approved.  These polices are now material considerations against which all planning applications will now be assessed.

These polices within the Core Strategy are seen by the District Council as crucial to the process of guiding the future development of the District. They are also crucial to the Alcester Neighbourhood Plan.

October 2015: Proposed Modifications to the Stratford District Core Strategy, in response to the Inspector’s Interim Conclusions which were consulted on in August 2015, have been submitted, with representations, to the Inspector.

January 2016: The SDC Core Strategy Examination Hearings have been resumed.

April 2016: The Schedule of Main Modifications to the Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy is presented for consultation which has been prepared by the District Council taking account of the Inspector’s preliminary indications as to the main modifications that he considers are required in order to make the plan legal, sound and capable of adoption. The consultation period ends in May, after which the inspector will be making their decision. It is likely that the Plan will be adopted in July 2016.

August 2017: Alcester Housing Needs Survey and Report carried out by Warwickshire Rural Community Council on behalf of Alcester Town Council.

September 2017: Emerging Policies document sent to all homes in the parish requesting views by 30 September 2017.

Mr Neal Pearce, Avon Planning Services Ltd appointed as a consultant to assist with the process.

Alcester Neighbourhood Plan Designated Area: