Stoke Ferry Neighbourhood Plan

The Stoke Ferry Neighbourhood Plan has been launched, following the decision by the Parish Council to start on the voyage. A group of volunteers from Stoke Ferry has taken up the responsibility for doing all the hard work. The real work has started on the first part of the voyage with the view of discovering what the community wants from the Neighbourhood Plan and to ascertain whether or not other adjacent communities wish to join with Stoke Ferry in the creation of a joined-up plan for a larger part of West Norfolk. In next door Brecklands, the policy has been to set up hub and satellite communities. What is good enough for the people of the Brecklands is good enough for the folk of West Norfolk.
There are several advantages to a joined up approach, the most notable of which are on the shared load, the shared costs, the increased financial contributions and the increased probability that regional government and services like the NHS will provide more of the services we all need. To this end the following parishes have been sent an invitation to join with Stoke Ferry:
· Boughton
· Northwold and Whittington
· Oxborough
· Wereham
· West Dereham
· Wretton
The working group is still trying to establish how much additional funding will be made available and has requested guidance. In terms of a timeline, it takes about 2 years and longer from start to finish to get a Neighbourhood Plan accepted. Once it has been accepted, following the appropriate local election on its proposals, the terms and conditions have the protection of law, meaning that it is a foolhardy planning authority that ignores what the local electorate has selected.
For those who are asking why it is important to have a Neighbourhood Plan, it will exist to control the types of properties and business premises that will be permitted in Stoke Ferry and determine the zones of the parish that can be used for the different types of development as well as the zones that will be protected for leisure and amenity. This is important in the context of the statements made in public by planners that it is expected that the smaller communities in West Norfolk will be expected to double in size in terms of house unit quantities by 2030.
As the working party has only just started its work there is no email address or web-site yet. These will be made available as soon as feedback has been received from the adjacent parishes. We hope to be able to publish this contact information as early as possible. As a temporary measure only, people who wish to join in the effort to make the Neighbourhood Plan a success in any way they want should send an email in the first place douglawson@btinternet.com. Once the admin team is up and running properly there will be a different email address and a web-site. It has not been decided yet if there will be a Facebook page, but there will no Twitter and no Instagram. Until funds are available there will not be a telephone number and until agreed there will be no postal address, but we hope to have a physical location for the delivery of correspondence in the near future.

Doug Lawson

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