Neighbourhood planning is a new initiative that provides every community in England with the opportunity to shape the way its area could be developed in the future. The legislation that guides the process can be found in the Localism Act 2011 Part 6 Chapter 3.
In 2011, Stony Stratford Town Council made a successful bid via MKC for funding towards the cost of a neighbourhood plan for the parish as one of 200 Front runner schemes throughout the country.
The Town Council established a working group within the community to oversee the preparation of the plan. This working group was made up of representatives of local organisations and interested residents who met to guide the process. The community was encouraged to contribute its ideas through consultation events and ultimately had the final say, via a referendum, as to whether the plan should be adopted as the plan for the parish.
This is an opportunity for the first time for communities such as ours to prepare a plan, that having passed a series of tests during the process, must be adopted as planning policy for their area by the local planning authority.
For more about neighbourhood planning, you may wish to visit: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/inyourarea/neighbourhood.
What is the Stony Stratford Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans are a way for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work. They were introduced in the Localism Act 2011 as a way of letting people who know and care for an area, plan for it. Neighbourhood planning is about building neighbourhoods and planning positively for development – not stopping growth. The Act explains how communities can get more involved in planning for their areas – specifically how they can create plans and policies to guide new development and, in some cases, grant planning permission for certain types of development. The Stony Stratford Neighourhood Plan (encompassing Stony Stratford, Fullers Slade and Galley Hill) sets out planning policies and aspirations to guide how the local community wants the parish to look over the next 10-15 years in terms of new development, building design and the protection and improvement of community facilities, parking, local services and open spaces. A key element of the Plan is how to maintain the economic vitality of our High Street and local economy whilst trying to ensure that people can walk and cycle safely around the parish area.
In Stony Stratford, we have been working on the development of a Neighbourhood Plan since late 2012. Initially a working party comprising town councillors, residents from Stony Stratford, Fullers Slade and Galley Hill together with members of the Business Association and other local groups worked to develop the Plan.
The Plan has been through the following stages:
- Stage 1: Define the Area – The Neighbourhood Plan area was designated on 28th May 2013
- Stage 2: Prepare the Plan: The Steering Group developed the proposals which were consulted on with the public and statutory consultees. The completed plan was submitted to Milton Keynes Council in June 2016. The publicity period was held between 29th June to 10th August 2016.
- Stage 3: Independent Check: Milton Keynes Council appointed an independent examiner, Mr John Slater, to review whether the Stony Stratford Plan was in general conformity with higher level plans, and if so, whether it should proceed to referendum. The Independent Examiner concluded that the plan, if amended in line with his recommendations, meets all the statutory requirements.
A summary of the Policies follows. To view the full policies please see the latest version of the Neighbourhood Plan (V22) below.
Vision for Stony Stratford, Context, Constraints and Opportunities
Policy 1 - Sustaining and Enhancing the Main Shopping/Commercial/Employment Area: Any proposals or planning applications within the town centre will be considered in the context of the health and vitality of the shopping and commercial/employment area.
Policy 2 - Cofferidge Close: Any redevelopment of the parts of Cofferidge Close within the primary shopping area shall be a mix of shops, businesses, hotels and non-residential institutions (please see the full Neighbourhood Plan for a glossary of the terms) or proposals for any alterations to the non-residential elements shall preserve and enhance the conservation area and the setting of any adjoining listed building.
Policy 3 - Market Square: There will be a presumption against the further loss of ground floor commercial or retail uses. The change of use or redevelopment of the doctor’s surgery and related health facilities for other uses will not be approved unless the equivalent facilities have been replaced elsewhere within the town centre. Improvements to pavements, carriageways, lighting, signage, seating and street furniture be harmonised with the town centre, and any development proposals will be required to support this policy where it is appropriate
Policy 4 - Plough Corner - Wolverton/London Road Junction: Any redevelopment of this site shall provide a combination of town centre uses, to achieve a more intensive, balanced and mixed-use development appropriate to the conservation area. New development should be locally distinctive in a style sympathetic to, and sustaining the significance of, the adjacent listed buildings which are to be retained and
protected. Any redevelopment of this site shall reflect the importance of achieving a scheme of visual and architectural prominence
Policy 5 – Shopfront Improvements: Any proposed changes to shopfronts or signage shall be undertaken of a high standard of design as set out in the Design Guide (and successor documents). Any alterations to shop fronts in the town centre should contribute positively to the character of the conservation area and to the quality of the building and street-scene.
Policy 6 – Sustaining and Enhancing Fullers Slade Local Centre: The mix of activities at the local centre shall include a retail store, other shops/services and where possible should be enhanced. Proposals which reduce or erode the scale or mix of activities at the Fullers Slade local centre will be resisted. A residential development on the Cavendish site would be supported with a community/training/workshop facility if appropriate.
Policy 7 – Sustaining and Enhancing Galley Hill Local Centre: The mix of activities at the local centre shall include a retail store, professional services, food and drink, hot food and takeaway and the community/arts facility. Proposals which enhance the activities and help maintain the fabric of the buildings will be encouraged.
Policy 8 - Enhancing Residential Amenity: New development which is contrary to the provisions of the Design Guide (and successor documents) and/or has a detrimental impact on the lives of people, as a result of poor design, inappropriate parking provision, accessibility, design or flooding will not be permitted.
Any proposals for development where relevant shall be considered against the criteria within the Design Guide and the impact on residential amenity, parking, accessibility, design and flooding, and where appropriate should take into account opportunities to address existing deficiencies in residential amenity in the area of the development. Any proposals for residential development will also be considered against other relevant policies in the Neighbourhood Plan especially 1,9,10,11,12, 13 and 15.
Policy 9 - Development Proposals: The following sites within the parish are identified for development to support the Plan’s aims and objectives:
- the Northern Gateway, comprising the former caravan sales and gasworks sites on the eastern side of Stony Stratford High Street, for either commercial uses (B1 - Business use class, possibly C1 hotel) or a more mixed-use development combining residential and commercial uses, with a quality of design recognising the position at the northern entrance to Stony Stratford and the adjacent conservation area.
- the growth of new or expanding businesses and the redevelopment of the former tram shed in St. Mary’s Avenue as a centre for small and starter enterprises, possibly incorporating adjoining site(s) with an improved access from Russell Street and improvements to parking and garaging, or for residential development. Due to the importance of the former tram depot to the town’s history, a heritage assessment should be made of the former tram depot and this should inform any (re)development proposals.
- the current St Giles residential home off Russell Street should be redeveloped for residential purposes to provide care and/or affordable homes for elderly and young people. The scale and design of the new development should reflect the quality of the location and its heritage, and provide if possible opportunities to improve vehicular access in the area
- the re-development of Plough Corner (see policy 4)
- the ‘Southern Gateway’ site, situated between London Road/Queen Eleanor Street and
Ridgeway, could include the on-going use of Queen Eleanor School and Watling Way
Centre for education, recreation and community uses, with possible integration with the Galley Hill local centre (see policy 7)
- the Cavendish site in Fullers Slade developed for a combination of residential and community/ training/workshop facility (see policy 6).
The residential development proposals described in this policy will be considered in light of the policies in this Plan, and the impact on nearby residential amenity, parking, accessibility, design, and flooding.
Proposals for residential development shall provide affordable housing provision in accordance with the standards with the Milton Keynes Core Strategy or successor documents (and the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document).
Policy 10 – Protect and Enhance Social, Sporting, Play, Cultural and Community Facilities: The change of use of the current range of sporting, social, cultural, and play facilities will not be permitted and opportunities shall be sought from any development proposals to improve these.
The change of use of the current range of community facilities within the parish,particularly York House, Watling Way Centre, and the Children’s Centre on Moorfoot and the building holding the former Sp@ce Children's Centre on London Road will not be permitted.
Where there is a proposal for the loss of sporting, social, cultural, play and community facilities, this will only be acceptable where a replacement facility of equivalent size, quality and convenience is provided within the Parish.
Policy 11 – Car Parking Provision: The current capacity and balance of car parking in the town shall be maintained. There is a presumption against loss of existing public car parking provision unless an equivalent number of replacement spaces have been provided in alternative, appropriate locations elsewhere in the town centre.
Policy 12 – Enhancing the Parish’s Heritage and Public Realm: Applicants will demonstrate within design and access statements, when
required, how proposals have sought to preserve and enhance the significance of the conservation area and how the design has had regard to the advice contained within the Stony Stratford Design Guide (and successor documents).
Policy 13 - Protect and Enhance Open Space Within the Parish: This Plan designates as Local Green Space the landscaped areas in Cofferidge Close.
In addition the following areas are identified where no reduction in the extent and quality of the open space will be permitted: Horsefair Green; Millfield; Mortimer Park; Higlin’s Piece; “Spider Park” on Fullers Slade; Wolverton Road Recreation Ground; The undeveloped space behind York House; Ancell Trust Sports Ground.
Neighbourhood Plan Documentation
Click here to see the latest copy of the Stony Stratford Neighbourhood Plan V22