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Creating Ovingdean Neighbourhood Plan
Ovingdean Neighbourhood Forum is being created to work on a Neighbourhood Plan for Ovingdean. Other villages around us are preparing neighbourhood plans with Rottingdean's plan in its final stages as is Peacehaven/Telscombe's and West Saltdean is one year into the process. In Ovingdean we need to start or be looked at as attractive to developers.
We are looking for people who love Ovingdean to help us by joining the Ovingdean Forum. Developing a plan will be an interesting and thought-provoking exercise, and it would be great to have all parts of the village represented. Forum members can be residents of Ovingdean, work in Ovingdean or be an elected councillor. Once set up, the forum will make all the decisions, and some members will form a core team to work closer on the plan. There are 11 people in the forum so far, and I will be dropping leaflets into homes in areas we would like representation in the hope that we can find more like minded people to join the forum.
Initial work of the Forum
One of the forum's first tasks will be to agree the area covered by the plan. Interestingly there is no single reference document to show Ovingdean's boundary, so we must decide. Our Eastern boundary is well defined by the Rottingdean neighbourhood plan, but the Northern and Western boundaries are to be defined. I am planning to request experienced help with this activity and will be discussing with the forum when we have enough people.
We will have regular meetings where we will draw out and discuss items for consideration in the plan and decide as a forum what we wish to take forward as a policy that can be referred to by developers and the council. Items that do not get progressed to policies can still be logged and dealt with as future projects.
Help from University of Brighton
Myself and Councillor Bridget Fishleigh met with Andrew Coleman, Senior Lecturer on the MSc Town Planning course at University of Brighton just before Christmas. Andrew will be introducing his students to Ovingdean and asking them to look into some of the areas that could be covered in a neighbourhood plan. The students will be looking at our issues and opportunities to produce a report that critically analyses the planning context of the group’s theme, including identifying key evidence regarding the topic, environmental and other constraints, and recommends viable planning policies that would apply across the whole neighbourhood area, and proposals and design solutions for key sites (if appropriate) that can be incorporated into future versions of the draft Neighbourhood Plan or associated guidance. The group can also present planning-related placemaking policies and proposals that complement planning policies and will help to achieve the Neighbourhood Planning Forum's vision.
They will present their findings to the rest of the students, lecturers and members of the Neighbourhood Plan team on 23rd May 2024, including Q+A
Topics to be covered are:
Green/blue infrastructure - looking at our green spaces
Climate change and energy
I will assign at least one forum member to each topic to help the students with queries and provide local context. The work of the students will give us a massive push forward in the first half of 2024, and I thank Andrew Coleman for agreeing to use Ovingdean as the course case study.
Initial use of grants
We can apply for a small grant to help get us started to cover set up costs and the cost of hiring the village hall and printing leaflets to help engage with the community to help promote the plan in the early stages. The more people who know about the neighbourhood plan and can contribute the more likely the plan will be adopted.
Once the Forum is acknowledged and ‘designated’ we can apply for a grant to engage consultants to help us through the phases of the plan’s development. There is a lot of work to create a plan but we will have a lot of help, and if we get this right it will benefit the village as a whole and give us more control over future developments and the way that the village adapts to changes happening now and in the future.
Initial chair of the Forum
If you want to find out more about what a neighbourhood plan is have a look at these links:
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