Consultation on the draft KANP is taking place over six weeks from the beginning of June. The Plan, when agreed, will give all of us in this area – Kington Town, Kington Rural and Huntington – the opportunity to better influence local development.
The full draft Plan will be available to read in the Library, The Kington Town Council Offices, and Huntington and Kingswood Village Halls. You can also download or view it on the website at the link below.
In addition there is an exhibition in the Library and a special edition of the Kington Chronicle is being delivered to every household in the three Parishes. This will give a summary of the draft Plan, provide details of consultation events and include a questionnaire for your views.
Housing Sites Now Identified
In preparing our Neighbourhood Plan we have faced the challenge of finding sites for 200 new dwellings required to meet Herefordshire Council’s land supply target for Kington. Data gathering and research on potential housing sites to meet this target is now complete. As the Plan period started in 2011, part of this target figure is already covered by 45 planning permissions and completions. A number of smaller sites have been identified for around 65 dwellings with a large site (the South of Kington Site) adjacent to the Kington Park Estate identified for the remaining 90.
Consultants have now prepared a draft masterplan and design principles for this site to show whether and how the obligations set in the Core Strategy can be met-
Developing peripheral sites will require compromise in terms of effect upon the landscape. Choice of sites should seek those with least impact and where the provision of significant landscape and townscape mitigation measures can best be achieved.
(Core Strategy Para 4.4.3.)
It should be emphasised that this document is not a detailed planning proposal for the site. Rather it shows how the above obligations can be met on the site in addition to meeting housing site planning obligations in the Core Strategy (Policy KG1)
As such it will both provide guidance any development proposals for the site and inform the response of both Kington Town Council and Herefordshire County Council to these.
Of special importance will be very high quality housing design and siting, exceptional landscaping and an appropriate site access. On this the NDP policies will be explicit. We have concluded that an access from Headbrook/Eardisley Old Road is the best access to the site.
We accept that this will require a small reduction in the present Kington Park Play Space (10% of the whole) but we expect any new development to provide a high level of open and play space and for this to provide benefit to the existing as well as new development .
All of these issues are detailed in the draft MasterPlan.
The proposals were discussed at a neighbourhood consultation meeting held on July 14th. A note of issues raised the meeting is available here and we would welcome any further comments on the housing or contact us pages.
Where have we got to with this Plan?
After nearly 3 years work we have conducted community surveys and consultants have now reported on Housing Character, Landscape Sensitivity & Capacity Assessment and Green Space. Identifying the potential Housing Development sites has been most contentious and time-consuming for Kington Town; uniquely amongst Herefordshire’s Market Towns we have been tasked with identifying these ourselves. More information on these surveys and reports can be found here on the “Info/Resources” page.
Planning has just got more local!
For many years all planning policy was made at the Hereford County level. The Herefordshire Local Plan-The Core Strategy still sets a framework for planning to 2031 but we are now encouraged to decide where development goes (and where it doesn’t) the speed at which development takes place and the character of that development.
The planning policies we want will be set out in a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Kington Town Council, in partnership with Huntington and Kington Rural, and, Lower Harpton Parishes is now preparing an NDP.
This what the Government says in the planning guidance about the new planning powers they have given to local communities
Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community…. neighbourhood plans will be able to shape and direct sustainable development in their area.
A Neighbourhood Plan is a product of its local community. When ours is finalised, it will be approved and legal only if the majority of Kington area voters support it in a local referendum. However if it is really to reflect the views of the community, we need extensive community involvement in its preparation and we need ideas, comments and suggestions from as broad a cross-section of residents as possible
What Can Our Plan Achieve?
Across England several thousand communities are preparing Neighbourhood Plans. As yet few have reached the referendum stage so we still have to test how effective the new powers will be.
What is clear is that we will not only be able to direct where new housing and other development can be built, but also identify areas of local green space where development will not be acceptable. These powers are of some importance because the Hereford Core Strategy requires 200 new homes to be built in Kington during the Plan Period up to 2031. The fact that we be able to decide where these go, and where they don’t, is a very strong power especially if many residents have agreed these policies. For this reason we are focussing in some detail on housing policy and also identifying local green spaces to be protected against development.
Beyond this, the Plan policies can give clear guidance and encouragement to developers as to what the local community wants. If these policies show clearly that we will welcome new development, but also emphasise that any development must respect the character of our town, the beauty of our rural areas, be sustainable and innovative in keeping our local economy vibrant, it will give us and developers greater certainty about the future.
The Plan could also have great influence on the future of the town centre and help protect our retail economy. The Hereford Core Strategy includes a commitment to improving High Streets and our Plan can highlight and strongly encourage this commitment to be implemented early in the Plan period.