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Neighbourhood Plan - Good News or Bad News?

Murray Stewart writes:

As you may have seen in the press the bad news is that the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), which has up to now provided the framework for the Abbots Leigh, Pill and Easton in Gordano Neighbourhood Plan, looks as if it may be thrown out by the Inspectors after a Public Examination in July. This calls into question some of the assumptions which we have been using for our Plan. Work on a new JSP, or whatever is chosen as the way forward, might take up to a year or two. What should we do – postpone the Neighbourhood Plan for eighteen months or go ahead anyway?

The good news is the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has decided that the best thing to do is to steam ahead and submit a Plan early in 2020 which will hopefully be an input to the new JSP rather than just a reaction to it. We need to remember that developers are keen to provide more housing in North Somerset, and it would be sensible to get our views on these aspirations ready as soon as possible.

We have had lots of support so far on beginning the Neighbourhood Plan, but very few people are as yet clear about what is actually going on. To get more of the community engaged, however, there will be an exhibition showing some of the work, together with the options and preferences which are emerging. There has been a lot of talk about the Plan but this is a chance for residents of Abbots Leigh to have a real look at what has been done and what lies ahead for the village and its surrounds.

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