What is a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)?

How does it relate to Stratford-upon-Avon?

Perhaps the easiest way to answer these questions is the extract of the NDP FAQ section included below. Visit Stratford Neighbourhood Development Plan to see the full details of the NDP.

What does a neighbourhood plan do?

Neighbourhood plans can help to influence the use and development of land in a specific area. They can establish a vision for the area, include general policies for the development and use of land, and bring forward sites for development.

Do parish/town councils have to prepare a neighbourhood plan?

No. It is entirely optional. It is up to the local community to decide whether or not they wish to prepare a neighbourhood plan. We are keen to help local communities become more involved in planning for their future.

Why should we consider preparing a neighbourhood plan?

Neighbourhood plans are intended to give local people a direct say in the future development of their area. A neighbourhood plan gives local people the chance to create a planning document that guides and shapes development in their local communities. In turn, this will help to influence what facilities are provided in the area.

Can a neighbourhood plan be used to block development?

No. Neighbourhood planning is about shaping development of a local area in a positive manner. It is not a tool to be used to prevent development proposals from taking place. It should reflect local and national policies. Neighbourhood plans are not able to promote less development than set out in the local plan or undermine its strategic policies. A Neighbourhood plan can be used to ensure that any development is in line with the wishes of the local people and is sympathetic to local need.

The NDP process for Stratford-upon-Avon is underway. A consultation process closed in July 2017 and a local referendum was conducted in 2018. It will span the period 2011 to 2031 and be reviewed every 5 years.

As mentioned on the Home Page, Stratford residents wish to preserve “green” spaces and Section 9.1 of the NDP states:

“Stratford’s green spaces are one of the things local residents most like about the town. This was the finding of the surveys carried out by the Neighbourhood Plan group. Together, these green spaces provide a range of environmental benefits to the community, enhancing the quality of life of residents and those who work in or visit the town. Existing green spaces, such as the Clopton Hills, need to be protected and (where possible) improved. Measures need to be taken to safeguard and enhance the Neighbourhood Area’s biodiversity and natural environment – in particular the River Avon corridor and the town’s trees.”

There are two types of “green” spaces in the NDP (see page 131 of that document for a full list):

  • Local Green Spaces, defined as significant and valued open spaces. Development that would harm the openness or special character of such a space or its significance and value to the local community will not be permitted, unless there are very special circumstances that outweigh the harm to the space.
  • Open Spaces, which will be protected for their recreational and amenity value.

The Greenway is currently an Open Space. However, Question INF5 in the recent NDP Consultation states that the land once used as a railway shall be safeguarded against development that would prejudice the reopening of a future rail line to Honeybourne. This is a disappointing policy statement, as it goes against the spirit of the protection of Local Green Spaces and Open Spaces in sections 9.1 and 11.22 of the NDP. It also contradicts Statement 11.6 (Protecting Green Spaces and Exercise Facilities), Policy CLW3, Policy CLW35 and CLW Project 2 (Promoting New Strategic Green Open Spaces).

To make matters worse, Summerton Way, associated with the Greenway as they are both part of National Cycle Route 5 through Stratford, is not a Local Green Space or an Open Space, despite the following:

  • Hedgehogs, bats, owls, foxes, butterflies and squirrels regularly appear in the diverse wooded fringes of Summerton Way and the adjoining urban gardens and muntjac deer sometimes emerge in the early morning.
  • It is a reasonable assumption that these creatures use the Greenway as a wildlife corridor, to reach the town and enhance our lives with their presence.
  • The established trees in Summerton Way and the many trees and shrubbery along the Greenway are a haven for birds. Finches, robins, thrushes, blackbirds, wrens, various species of tits, buzzards and sparrow hawks are all present. Waxwings, fieldfares and redwings visit the town in the colder weather and gorge on berries in parks and gardens.

SGG believes that both the Greenway and Summerton Way should be protected Local Green Spaces and never be turned back into a railway.

Go to Take Action to see how you can help by asking Stratford Council to give both of these locations protection against unwanted development for the benefit of residents, visitors and future generations.