Witton Gilbert Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group was appointed by the Parish Council in 2013 to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the Parish of Witton Gilbert (the Plan area).
The Parish Council was designated as a qualifying body entitled to prepare a neighbourhood plan for the area. Durham County Council formally designated the whole of the Witton Gilbert Parish area as a Neighbourhood Plan area in November 2013, in accordance with the relevant legislation. The plan has been prepared by a steering group supported by neighbourhood representatives, with input from Durham County Council. This first draft plan has been developed to consult the community on the Vision for Witton Gilbert, the Objectives that have been defined, and the Policy Areas that we propose.
The community in the Parish of Witton Gilbert want to see the right kind of development happen in the village. Much work went into producing the Parish Plan for Witton Gilbert in February 2012, and many of the aspirations that were raised in the Parish Plan will be taken forward through the Neighbourhood Plan.
People in Witton Gilbert Parish want to see development that reflects the aspirations of the local community and reflects what is special and important about the area. The Witton Gilbert Neighbourhood Development Plan (hereafter referred to as “the Plan”) will provide locally specific planning policies which will provide clear guidance as to what kind of development will and will not be allowed. It will also define a settlement boundary for Witton Gilbert, and define sites for housing development, and sites for local green space.
This means that, for the first time, our community can have a say in how our Parish develops as a living, working, sustainable community. The Plan will also contain a series of ‘Community Actions’ which cover other issues raised by the community. Many of these Community Projects have already been identified in the Witton Gilbert Parish Plan (2012). One of these is the Village Centre Project, which is already well underway. Other Community Projects have been included within the Plan, and will be implemented by identified parties over the lifetime of the Plan.
First of all, we asked you, the community, what you wanted in the plan. We have commissioned Urban design Consultants to carry out a site assessment for a potential housing site on land to the rear of Front Street, so we can see how development in this part of Witton Gilbert could help re-generate the village. We have used advice from statutory agencies, and other advice as well as evidence produced by the County Council in the production of the Durham Plan. All our evidence documents will be included in the Evidence Base for the Plan.
The Steering Group has engaged throughout the process with the local community, through consultation and newsletters and this WEB site. More detail on the consultation undertaken is provided in the Community Consultation Statement which will be submitted with the NDP for examination.
Following the results of the initial questionnaire, a ‘Vision’ and set of ‘Objectives’ have been formulated, and a series of ‘Policy Areas’ have been identified and these have been taken forward in the Plan.
November of 2018 a pre submission draft was completed and submitted for inspection by an Independent Planning Inspector. In July this year the Inspectors report was issued and the plan was recommended to go forward to a referendum with some revisions, the final draft of the plan was completed and agreed with the County Council in September.
The referendum will be held on the 7th November and polling cards will be issued to all registered voters in Witton Gilbert Parish. The Neighbourhood Plan is important to the local community as it will sit alongside the County Plan and be used to make planning decisions within the Neighbourhood area.