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Neighbourhood Planning - the story so far

The backstory

During 2014, the Parish Council was advised that Medbourne has been designated a Selected Rural Village in the Core Strategy for Harborough District Council, which means that Medbourne should accommodate some development and contribute to HDC’s housing stock by the building of approximately 50 houses in the period up to 2031.  The final housing allocation will be determined by HDC’s Local Plan, which was originally expected to be finalised and adopted during 2016 but is now scheduled for 2017 (http://www.harborough.gov.uk/local-plan).

With the objective of gauging the level of interest for developing a Neighbourhood Plan, that could empower the community to influence this housing development, Medbourne Parish Council sent a questionnaire to all village residents in November 2014.

There was a commendably high response with two-thirds of the questionnaires being returned and 60% in favour of a Neighbourhood Plan.  So, at their February 2015 meeting, the Parish Council resolved to progress a Neighbourhood Plan and to apply for the whole of Medbourne Parish to be included in the designated area.

Matthew Bills (the officer responsible for Neighbourhood Planning at HDC) was invited to address the MPC meeting of 2nd March 2015, which was well attended by the public.  This event provided further detailed information and answered questions on the Neighbourhood Planning process.

The July 2015 Parish Council meeting approved the terms of reference for a Neighbourhood Planning Committee and appointed ten Medbourne residents (from those who had volunteered) along with two parish councillors to serve on the committee.

MNPAC progress

The MNPAC inaugural meeting was held on 28th August 2015.

The committee got straight to work with putting in place the necessary procedures and setting up the infrastructure to progress the work of developing a Neighbourhood Plan:

In April 2016, the Parish Council approved the appointment of consultants “Your Locale” as recommended by the committee.  Your Locale director Gary Kirk has attended MNPAC monthly meetings since then and is helping drive forward the current work which entails:

The first community engagement, organised as an informal drop-in event, was held on Saturday June 18th in Medbourne Village Hall.  The event was widely publicised on the village notice boards, website and by a leaflet which was hand delivered to every address in the village.  This resulted in a strong turnout with a total of 50 Medbourne residents attending.  A report summarising the event and analysing the findings has been published and is available on the documents page.

"Theme Groups" have been set up to explore the detail of three major themes that will feed into the Medbourne Neighbourhood Plan: 

Each group is supported by a facilitator from YourLocale and comprises committee members together with other volunteers from the community who have particular knowledge of or interest in the theme topic.  Their role is to inform the MNPAC and collate evidence for the policies to be included in the plan.  A launch event for the Theme Groups was held on 21st September 2016 in the Village Hall.  The work of the groups is expected to take 3-4 months with progress being reported to the MNPAC at their monthly meetings.