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Planning: Some Good News?

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Many Haddenham residents have felt rather glum, not to say disillusioned with (or even cynical about) the concept of 'Localism' following the manner in which the development company Lightwood Strategic used expensive legal manoeuvring to have one key chapter of our Neighbourhood Plan rendered obsolete.

Then came the biggest bombshell, courtesy of AVDC Planners, who included provision for a 5,000 home "new settlement" in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) — with Haddenham high on the list of proposed locations.

It did appear to many that all the hard work that had gone into constructing the Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan and having it approved by a huge majority of voters in the local referendum had been a complete waste of time and (voluntary) effort.

But it is important to remember that most of the Neighbourhood Plan is still a valid and relevant document that will help to shape future development of the village.

In addition, an announcement made by the Government on Monday 12th December 2016 provides some further encouragement in terms of the value of a made Neighbourhood Plan.

The writen statement can be read here

In the document the Government indicates its clear and continuing support for Neighbourhood Plans and confirms that, where there is a made Neighbourhood Plan, the five year housing land supply requirement is reduced to just three years.

AVDC has recently issued its latest statement showing a 5.8 year housing land supply, but should this dip again, it will be reassuring to know that for made Neighbourhood Plans the risk of challenge will be much reduced. Hence, Neighbourhood Plans will be afforded full planning weight for their housing supply Policies, even if the figure were to dip below five years.

At the moment we understand that there are 33 Neighbourhood Plans that are either completed or in the process of development in the Vale of Aylesbury. Of these, 11 have been made. It seems that Aylesbury Vale has the second highest number of Neighbourhood Plans of all the Local Planning Authorities in the country.

Ultimately, the extent to which this Government announcement "re-energises" our own Neighbourhood Plan remains to be seen, but it does seem to imply that we will not have to start all over again with a Neighbourhood Plan Mark II — which has the be good news!

We will do our best to keep you abreast of further news.

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