Designed by Ian Parris © Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan
In fifteen years’ time, 2031, what would I hope for our village?
I’ll be in my… sixties (now that’s a sobering thought!). What would I like to see for my children, grandchildren and their friends? What’s going to make my day?
I read about a meeting to complete a ‘neighbourhood plan’ for Nether Heyford in the Parish Council notes in the July Prattler – it warned ‘that there would be a lot of work involved’. Oh. Well, ah… I have a limited amount of energy due to an illness, but I live here and I’m interested. I went along to meet with other locals. This subsequently became the Neighbourhood Plan Group. Some faces I recognised, a couple I knew by name, the others made introductions and we began to talk about the ways that we might be able to use the provision in the Localism Act for a neighbourhood planning system – here in Nether Heyford.
People are passionate about this village. The recent applications for large housing developments and the rumours of impending building projects prove just that. I was anxious myself, as a newcomer (of just 3 or 4 years!), and yet had already been won over by the feel of the village, the people who live here, the mood and atmosphere of Nether Heyford. Some people around the table had enjoyed the village for 20, 30, 40 years. No wonder they’re passionate, they adore the place.
So, a Neighbourhood Plan then. It’s an outline of what we (as a village and parish) would like to protect, what we would like to see change, and how we fulfil our obligations under wider plans for South Northamptonshire - without compromising our ideals. It’s about a vision for the village over the next fifteen years, which will be substantial evidence when we feel pressured to accept changes that are not in this or the Local Plan. It’s an opportunity for us to say where we would want or wouldn’t want any new developments, and when complete, becomes an integral part of the Local Plan for South Northants. It will include a record of our history, our boundaries, our facilities and activities, and most important of all, our villagers’ thoughts and aspirations.
In order to make sure everyone from our children to our elders has the opportunity to say what they feel is important, the new Neighbourhood Plan Group (working on behalf of the Parish Council) will organise events and circulate questionnaires - eventually leading to a plan which is independently scrutinised and will be the focus of a community referendum. The plan will take about two years to complete, so we intend to have regular updates here in the Prattler and elsewhere.
We wanted to have a new logo for the Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan Group, which you can see here. It represents the centre of our community, a green space which is open to everyone.
You will recognise it on all of our documents, questionnaires and a new website where all the information we gather, and the minutes of the meetings we hold, will be available for everyone to see.
We have a small (but fervent) group of people already involved, and invite anyone else in the village who is interested to join us. Contact Sue Corner or myself (details below) if you would like to know a little more before you decide.
So, maybe no hover boots or flying cars, but there might be driverless buses and identity cards. Some things we can’t predict, but with a good Neighbourhood Plan, we can guide and shape our village together for the foreseeable future.