BRAMHAM PARISH COUNCIL – NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
A Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) is a new way for local people to influence the planning and development of the area in which they live and work. Its intention is to develop a shared vision for our parish; consider where new homes, offices and other developments should be built; influence how much housing should be built, and of what type; identify and protect important local green spaces or other treasured assets.
Once approved, the Plan will have legal force in setting out what development is acceptable in Bramham parish and for what reasons. Developers and local authority planners will have to take notice of it. Without a NDP, we will have little control over any development that takes place and will receive less community funds – known as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – from those developments. Our NDP must comply with Leeds City Council’s Local Plan and the government’s wider policy of sustainable development set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This means it is inevitable that some new housing will have to be built in Bramham parish in the future. Having a NDP in place will help us ensure that this housing is suitable for the parish and meets the needs of our area. It will also help us to identify the facilities and services that need to be in place to meet the demands that any new housing will make upon our community.
Work on the Plan commenced in December 2011 when the Parish Council created the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (NPSG), consisting of Parish Councillors and other volunteer residents, to oversee the process of producing the Plan. Preparation began in January 2012 with the NPSG’s first meeting.
In Autumn 2012 we issued information and a questionnaire on Leeds City Council’s (LCC) proposed Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) sites asking for comments. Then in 2013 LCC added a further, very large, proposed site on green belt land at Headley Hall to the SHLAA. The NPSG issued a further questionnaire and held drop in sessions in the village hall to again give information to residents and gather views. The majority of responses indicated firm opposition to the proposed large site, and work within the NPSG therefore became focused on opposing it rather than developing the Neighbourhood Plan. The reasons for opposition were that it would involve the loss of a large area of green belt and high quality agricultural land, with significant historic and natural features, would contrary to LCC’s strategy for prioritising the development of brown-field sites, and that such a large site would take many years to develop and need significant infrastructure in the meantime and thus put heavy pressure on surrounding villages.
Then in Autumn 2015 Leeds University, owners of the land at Headley, withdrew the site and the NPSG resumed work on the Neighbourhood Plan, using all of the views and information gathered to inform the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire, which was issued in September 2016, and the Plan itself.
In June 2016 the Group engaged the services of Plan Ahead Communities to assist in the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan.