Here we record the important work that has already gone into the Neighbourhood Plan and thank all those who have been instrumental in getting us to this point.
This brief history attempts to summarise the work that has gone on locally on the Neighbourhood Plan up to the beginning of 2015. Our sincere apologies if we have missed anything or anyone.
Derek Anthony, Parish Councillor and Chair of the Boughton Aluph and Eastwell Residents’ Committee, is widely credited as being the originator and driving force behind creating a Neighbourhood Plan for our community. At his instigation, the Parish Council set up a subcommittee in July 2013 to review the Parish Design Statement and to consider the feasibility of producing of a Neighbourhood Plan. Derek chaired the subcommittee. Other members comprised his fellow Parish Councillors Frank Avery and John Hardie and local residents Carol Bunker, Dean Richardson and Elspeth Watt. Winston Michael, Borough Councillor, was involved from the outset producing a helpful paper outlining the advantages and disadvantages of the two documents.
A public meeting took place in November 2013, attended by 53 local residents. The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss Ashford Borough Council’s “Call for Sites” for their Local Plan, but the Parish Council took the opportunity to raise the idea of a Neighbourhood Plan to supersede the Parish Design Statement with the community.
In December 2013, the subcommittee, now known as the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, held a public meeting at which Simon Cole, Policy Manager in Planning and Development Services at Ashford Borough Council, was invited to outline the process of developing an Neighbourhood Plan. 18 local residents were present. 14 came forward to offer their support to help the Neighbourhood Plan Committee. Subsequently, 5 sub groups were formed, each covering a different part of the parish. Each group was charged with canvassing views on whether residents wanted a Neighbourhood Plan and to gain some initial feedback about potential development in and around the parish.
In February 2014, Alan Vaughan, Deputy Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, chaired a public meeting at which Carly Pettit, Planning Officer at Ashford Borough Council, and Winston Michael, as Borough Councillor, gave presentations about Neighbourhood Planning. 22 local residents were present at the meeting in addition to the members of the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Planning Committee.
In April 2014, Derek Anthony stepped down as Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee. Derek continues to keep a watching brief on our progress through his other work for the community including the Boughton Aluph and Eastwell Residents’ Association. Alan Vaughan was appointed Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee. The other members of the Committee at this time were Caroline Archer, Johnnie Brooks, Carol Bunker, Norma Devereese, John Faulkner, Robert Oliver, Rohan Thuraisingham and Elspeth Watt.
Under Alan’s leadership a number of key developments took place.
- A logo was created as a visual identity for the Neighbourhood Plan project. Local artist, Marion Lynn came up with a design that won instant approval. Rohan Thuraisingham digitised the image which was used for the first time on publicity materials at the 2014 Fayre at Boughton Lees. Warm thanks are due to Marion.
- A project plan was drawn up. Norma Devereese, who was also a valued member of Sandyhurst Lane Residents’ Association, brought a wealth of expertise in this area. Her contributions were much missed when she moved out of the parish in Summer 2015.
- The Parish Council made a submission to Ashford Borough Council to designate the parish boundary as the Neighbourhood Plan area. In June 2014, Jason Mathews, Chair of the Parish Council, confirmed that approval had been granted. This important step meant that work on the Neighbourhood Plan could now formally get underway.
- A questionnaire was devised to survey the views of local residents. Consultation is central to a successful Neighbourhood Plan. Rohan Thuraisingham took the lead on this including building an online survey questionnaire. While the questionnaire may be subject some final refinement based on the consultation events and professional advice, Rohan’s thoroughness and willingness to give so much of his limited free time to creating the original questionnaire is greatly appreciated.
Having completed the task to create the questionnaire, the Neighbourhood Plan Committee stepped down as the Parish Council sought specialist consultancy to guide the remainder of the process and to advise on matters of planning law and policy. It is common practice to involve some specialist professional advice in the development of a Neighbourhood Plan. The Parish Council took the view that it was an important and necessary step to ensure that it could satisfy the statutory requirements for the successful adoption of the Plan. Two professional organisations were consulted. Both submitted expressions of interest. In March 2015, JFL Planning was awarded the contract.
To continue the involvement of local people working alongside its appointed consultants, the Parish Council set up a Steering Group to oversee the day to day development of the Plan. Comprising residents from Boughton Aluph, Eastwell, Sandyhurst Lane and Goat Lees plus representatives of the Parish Council and drawing on members of the earlier Committee who expressed a wish to continue, the Group held its first meeting in April 2015. This Group, augmented by further volunteers from time to time, will see the project through to fruition in 2017. The Parish Council invited Winston Michael to lead the Group with Ray Burrough, Vice Chair of the Parish Council, in a liaison role. Under Winston’s leadership a project plan and budget was drawn up and approved by the Parish Council and the first consultation events took place.
At the end of 2015, Erica Lasparini succeeded Winston as the Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. Three new members joined the Group.
Our heartfelt thanks go to:
|Derek Anthony||Caroline Archer||Marion Lynn||Simon Stanford||Alan Vaughan|
|Elspeth Watt||Rita Hawes||Madeleine Bond||Richard Collins||John Hardie|
|Ann Hardie||Rohan Thuraisingham||Matthew Girt||Les Chandler||Kevin Thompson|
|Frank Avery||John Faulkner||Gordon Ashley||David Borner||John Ley|
|Norma Deveresee||Johnnie Brooks||Dean Richardson||Derryl Eames||Gerry Moore|
|Robert Oliver||Jennifer Li||Bob Morgan||Winston Michael||Ray Burrough|
And everyone that has taken the time to attend any of the public meetings about the Neighbourhood Plan.