Alton Neighbourhood Plan
East Hants District Council (EDHC) have been directed to take significant numbers of new housing on greenfield sites within Alton, in addition to those developments already planned for the period 2011-2028. This requirement is now set out in the draft Local Plan: Joint Core Strategy which addresses Alton's portion of the current shortage of housing in the district. The amount of housing to come to Alton is confirmed in the new Local Plan: Joint Core Strategy (JCS) which was endorsed in April 2014. Within the JCS, Alton is required to accept a minimum of 1682 dwellings within the Parish area out to 2028. Of these, 982 (which includes 236 windfall dwellings) are identified, approved and some are being built with the balance most likely to have to go onto green field sites around the build area of the town. At the time of writing this article (14th July 2014) there are submitted, but yet to be approved planning applications to build 1007 dwellings on 4 of these major sites (of which 150 are from the 982 identified/approved quota). Other District Planning Authorities country wide are developing plans to fill similar shortages as well.
The only way in which Altonians are able to have some say over where the addition housing should go is by developing a Neighbourhood Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan (NP) process was passed into legislation by the Localism Bill, which enables communities to have their say over issues surrounding new development and its impact in their localities. Plans can also consider what impact the additional housing will have across Infrastructure, Commercial, Transport and several other areas to ensure that there is a community action plan in place.
The Neighbourhood Plan for Alton development process has now been approved and launched by the Town Council and endorsed by EHDC. The aim is for the plan is to be implemented by local referendum in mid to late 2015, where more than a 50% vote is required. Preceding that, there has to be 3 periods of public consultation, two of which were completed in February and May 2014, with the third now postponed from July 2014 to a date to be confirmed sometime in the late summer/autumn. The views from the public on how the EHDC Joint Core Strategy requirement for the placement of at least 700 houses on green field sites in Alton parish and other key NP objectives have been listened to at the two consultations to date, and are set out elsewhere on this website. There has, and continues to be, considerable public support for what the NP Steering Group (consisting of a mix of Town Councillors and Volunteers) are doing.
It is important that all Altonians continue to play a role in the definition of a sound Neighbourhood Plan for Alton. This will impact significantly on the future development of our town and will be taken into consideration of the 4 major planning applications now lodged with EHDC. Please keep abreast of NP development progress and continue to let us have your views as well as communicating through the Town Council or links set out on this website, and encourage friends and family to do the same. The purpose of the next public Consultation will be to present Policy Options for inclusion in the plan which will begin to be drafted soon after.