Designed by Ian Parris © Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan

Nether Heyford

February 2017 NHNPG Submission for the Prattler

The route you take to work, where you park, your bus route and the paths you walk, where you live, where your children play, your allotment, your school and the shops you use are all the result of planning. The next 15 years will see more development for which we need to plan carefully and considerately. On the 25th March, there will be an event held at the Village Hall, to which everyone is invited to offer their views on the things which are important for them in the village - about key sites, buildings, green spaces, business and retail, transport – what you love about Nether Heyford, what you would change, and how could it be made even better. What’s important to you will form the vision and the foundation of our Neighbourhood Plan. The whole point of a neighbourhood plan is that it is community-led, and that means researched, written and voted on by the people who live in the village – that’s you and your neighbours.

The Forum for Neighbourhood Planning ( lists a number of examples of where case law is being developed with regard to Neighbourhood Plans. There have been occasions where issues between developers or county councils have been defended by Neighbourhood Plans in the courts – and been successful. Being in the process of developing a plan puts the village in a stronger position, and having a complete and accepted plan means the strength of the law is working with us.

Ian Parris volunteered his time to build a website for the Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan. He is a member of the wider consultation group, and comes along to our monthly meetings (next meeting 26th January, then 23rd February). I caught up with him after he had been testing his Isetta (bubble car!), for which he has a remarkable passion – he manages the worldwide Online Spares System database for this astonishing little car.

I asked Ian why he felt it was important to be involved with the Neighbourhood Plan Group.

I like to be involved in the village - I started up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme some years ago. I do have concerns about how village life could be changed if it’s developed in a way that doesn’t take that village life into account. I’m not against change or development, but I believe it should be gradual. Being part of the group means I can voice that view.

Is the website ready for everyone to see?

Just finishing touches left to do, then we will be ready to launch at the March event. We will be able to show the website to people, where they can find lots of information about how far we are along in the process, a calendar of events and meetings, and how to get in touch with us with any comments – or if they want to help with some of the specialist areas like village history, being a reader for the group, if they have planning experience, or enjoy organising events.

What’s the one thing about Nether Heyford that you really wouldn’t want to change?

Nether Heyford should never grow too big and become urbanised. The need for lots of facilities should not outweigh our village life. I was born and brought up in a village and I like the pace of natural smaller-village living.

We look forward to seeing Ian’s work and sharing it with the Village.

More details about March 25th next time – meanwhile congratulations to The Prattler on reaching 400 issues, and long may it continue! In 15 years’ time, I wonder what the Prattler will look and sound like…