Thaxted has been described as the jewel of Essex.
To keep Thaxted special in terms of its historic buildings and settings, the views from the countryside and the landscape itself, we need as a community to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.
The housing shortage in England and the Government's drive to increase house-building has put pressure on communities such as Thaxted to accept more housing which may not necessarily be either appropriate or of assistance to local people in getting on the housing ladder or staying in the town. Under the Localism Act of 2011, Parliament has given local people a say in what is built and how their community should develop in the future. This can be achieved by creating a Neighbourhood Plan.
The Thaxted Neighbourhood Plan will include a set of policies that govern local development in the parish, alongside UDC's Local Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan is led by Thaxted Parish Council with strong volunteer support from residents of the town. A Steering Group has been set up consisting of councillors and volunteers from the local community, and it has begun work on the Plan assisted by local experts and specialist consultants.
The Neighbourhood Plan when it comes into effect will sit alongside local and national planning policies; it will have statutory force, be legally binding, and be taken into account when determining future planning applications. The Plan will cover the same period as Uttlesford's Local Plan 2016 – 2032.
The outcome of the Gladman Appeal in January 2015 highlighted (through the acknowledgement of the judicial system) the high and irreplaceable value of Thaxted's landscape and heritage setting. This value (and its acknowledgement) gives great impetus and importance to the production of local policies in a robust and sensitive Neighbourhood Plan.
Your Steering Group are: Peter Neale (Chairman), Will Brazier, Suzanne Compagnoni, Michael Culkin, Antoinette Wattebot, Andrew Frater, Richard Haynes, David Morgan, Trina Mawer and Tom Wilson. Terry Frostick is not a member of the Steering Group, but attends meetings in an ex-officio role. Rosie Barry-Jackson is the NP Co-ordinator.
Why Thaxted needs a Neighbourhood Plan.
Creating a successful Neighbourhood Plan!
The Parish Council has engaged volunteers from the local community, local businesses, and residents' groups to start preparing the Plan by researching the key themes and topics for the town. These areas of study are as follows:
Housing planning and design: We will look at the size and type of housing the town needs. Development must be sustainable, appropriately-located, and well-designed. A Housing Needs Survey has been completed and the results are available for viewing here.
Landscape and environment: Specialist consultants Liz Lake Associates have been appointed to look at the value of the local landscape setting. Their report can be accessed here.
Heritage and built environment: Specialist consultants Grover Lewis Associates have been appointed to look at the value of local historical buildings and townscape views. Their report can be accessed here. Volunteers have also surveyed the character areas of the town, here.
Roads and getting around: We are considering issues of parking, public transport, cycling and footpaths together with heavy and speeding traffic.
Business, local economy, and tourism: Our objective is to ensure that Thaxted’s businesses and tourist industry remain buoyant or are enhanced.
Community facilities, recreation, and leisure: We will be looking at existing community buildings, sports facilities, play areas, and green spaces, and seeking to improve/enhance them.
Education and Health: We will investigate and raise as an issue the availability of school places and the capacity at the surgery.
Drainage: Although drainage is not a planning issue, we will try to make sure that adequate drainage provision becomes more of a factor in determining planning permissions.
KEEP THAXTED SPECIAL - SUPPORT YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
The area that the Thaxted Neighbourhood Plan will apply to is called the "designated area". It is the same area as that of the Parish of Thaxted.