Stamford Plan approved by SKDC for final consultation

Following a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) and a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) by South Kesteven District Council (a process termed ‘Regulation 15’) the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan has now been approved to go forward to Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning Process.

Regulation 16 approval will see the plan going to a third and final stage of public consultation in which all stakeholders, statutory bodies and most importantly Stamford residents will be able to participate.

Stamford Neighbourhood Plan – Submission Version – November 2020

This round of consultation will be managed by SKDC through an online process which will be well publicised by them through the press and social media channels and will last for a minimum of 6 weeks. We will promote the link to the consultation page when it is available.

All responses to this consultation will then be forwarded to the Planning Inspector for the final “test” of the plan. This stage is known as regulation 17.

Provided that the planning inspectors findings are favourable the Neighbourhood Plan will go to a referendum in May (as things stand currently) before it is enshrined as planning law. As a statutory planning document, any planning applications made in Stamford will have to comply with the plans policies enabling Stamford’s residents to have a greater say in planning matters.

A copy of the Submission Version – Stamford Neighbourhood Plan November 2020 – can be found here.

Stamford Neighbourhood Plan adopted by town council to help residents fight unwanted developments

Members of Stamford Town Council voted to approve a plan that will give residents more control over what gets built and where.

But it wasn’t an easy ride for the main author, Coun David Taylor (Con), who accused some councillors of trying to delay the process at a meeting on Tuesday (July 29).

The Stamford Neighbourhood Plan is based on people’s views on how they would like to see the town developed – and preserved – over the next 20 years.

Coun David Taylor with the draft Stamford Neighbourhood Plan
Coun David Taylor with the draft Stamford Neighbourhood Plan

It ties in with South Kesteven District Council’s Local Plan, and forms a legal document that could pack a punch in any fight against unwanted developments.

Presenting the final draft to the council, Coun Taylor said he had “worked his socks off” after being spurred into action during a battle against plans for 48 homes off Kettering Road.

“This isn’t my plan, it’s the council’s plan on behalf of Stamford’s residents,” he said. “It is based on what they’ve told us they would like to see.”

The process involved a questionnaire being sent to 7,000 homes, of which 2,000 were returned, a survey of businesses and a range of public engagement events.

It cost around £25,000 to pull together, of which £18,000 came from the Government.

Coun Taylor said that crucially it identified 31 important green spaces that should be protected from development.

These include the ‘east meadows’ – a source of concern for some campaigners in the town – and the green space on Haddon Road, which has recently been bought and fenced in by a family. SKDC is currently taking legal action to resolve the matter.

The plan also identifies nine ‘views’ of the town, which must be preserved at all costs.

Aerial view of Stamford
Aerial view of Stamford

Some councillors were quick to back it, including Coun John Dawson (Con) who said: “This will do far more to protect Stamford than anything we’ve ever done.”

Coun Julie Clarke (Ind) said: “This is no way to vote on such an important document.”

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Stamford Plan submitted to SKDC

Following a second round of public consultation in October last year, the final draft of the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan will be submitted to South Kesteven District Council on July 1 for scrutiny by the planning inspector.

This marks the final phase of the process to develop the plan on which work started back in 2016.

During this stage, the plan will be subject to a final round of public consultation, managed by the district council, which will give all residents the opportunity once more to feedback on the plan.

Councillor David Taylor

David Taylor, chairman of Stamford First, which has coordinated the development of the plan, said: “In drafting our submission document we have been able, based upon comments back from the public and statutory consultees, to strengthen the plan with new policies emerging to give greater protection to green space within the town, most particularly along the River Welland corridor including Cherryholt Meadows and Stamford East Meadows and to protect noted views across the town which we wish to safeguard.

“We have also taken measures to promote sustainable building construction methods for new developments aimed in the long-term at reducing the impacts on climate change.

“We have also added a number of ‘community aspiration projects’ such as the creation of the Stamford Green Wheel and a possible park and ride scheme or shuttle bus to create better connectivity within the town and a reduction on car reliance, and the designation of a wildlife and nature reserve near to Hudds Mill.”

Following the inspection phase, the plan will then go to a referendum in which all Stamford residents will have a chance to vote for the plan.

“Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, the referendum has been delayed until May 2021, which is big disappointment,” said Coun Taylor.

“However, once the referendum has taken place and the plan ‘adopted’, it will become statutory planning law with which all new development within Stamford must comply.

“The delay will not prevent us from progressing with a number of community projects proposed by the plan, which we hope to start working on during the summer”

To read more about Stamford Neighbourhood Plan, click here.

Neighbourhood Plan will protect Stamford

A LETTER FROM OUR CHAIRMAN PUBLISHED IN THE STAMFORD MERCURY 23RD AUGUST 2019

“Stamford is a very special place. It has a unique character, amazing architecture, and a multitude of heritage assets with over 600 listed buildings which are protected by the town’s conservation status.

The Meadows offers incomparable views across Stamford with its five mediaeval churches and the town also benefits from a multitude of other, precious, open green spaces.

Stamford remains a vibrant rural market town and visitor attraction, with a wide selection of pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, an arts centre and theatre, and a plethora of flourishing independent retailers which are a further attraction for visitors who prefer personal service over online convenience.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in this town are privileged to do so. But that privilege brings with it responsibility, that of being the town’s guardians for future generations.

That is why, some three years ago, I championed the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Stamford. This week a draft of that plan has been issued for public consultation and I urge all who care about our town’s future to give their feedback on the plan through this process.

The plan sets out a vision for the Stamford of the future, one that reflects the thoughts and feelings of the many local people who participated in our various surveys and engagement events.

Whatever our views may be, growth in Stamford is an inevitability; government targets dictate it, and over the next 20-30 years, up to 2000 houses could be built here. The Stamford Neighbourhood Plan cannot resist that growth, but through the policies set out in it, we can influence where the town will grow, what development should look like, and what infrastructure and services are needed to support growth.

The plan will protect our precious green spaces against development and will ensure that developers create more green spaces. It also calls for better connectivity both within the existing town, and to its new developments, enabling more journeys to be made on foot or by cycle thus reducing reliance on the car.

Policies set-out in the plan will encourage and support business growth through the development of employment space and offices which the towns business community are shouting out for. This in turn will also serve to attract new businesses to the town and create new jobs for Stamford people.

I cannot claim that the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan is a panacea – it will not immediately address all of Stamford’s ills. Our historic town centre constrains opportunities to develop new roads within it and incorporating additional parking is difficult. We cannot, through this plan, deliver a new bypass, much though we might all want to see one, and we cannot influence the delivery of additional rail services.

However, this plan is our opportunity to shape the Stamford of the future so that the town develops in such a way that we protect what we have now and ensure that any growth creates a sustainable future for our community.

The Stamford Neighbourhood Plan is your plan, based on your views and those of your community – I commend it to you and urge you to give your feedback on it through the consultation process. “

David Taylor

Chairman

Stamford FIRST (The Stamford Neighbourhood Planning Forum)

Stamford Plan is on the way

Following the recent consultation by South Kesteven District Council on its Local Plan, Stamford First, the group behind the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan for Stamford, says plans are progressing well.

Stamford First hopes to undertake its own consultation with residents early in the new year.

Speaking about the Neighbourhood Plan, chairman of Stamford First David Taylor, told the Mercury said: “Historically, Stamford’s future development has been guided solely by SKDC’s Local Plan with Stamford’s residents having little or no influence. That’s why we made the decision to develop a Neighbourhood Plan for the town.

“SKDC’s Local Plan shapes planning policies “district-wide”, but the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan will focus solely on our town and will comprise policies which give local residents greater control over development here.”

The essence of Neighbourhood Planning is that plans are shaped by local communities, based upon their views and aspirations. Since launching in early 2016, Stamford First has focused on consultation, through public forums, in meetings with residents’ groups and local organisations such as the Civic Society, and also with businesses and business groups including the Stamford Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally in the Autumn of last year, questionnaires were delivered to all 8,000 houses in the Stamford, encouraging people to give their views on how the town should develop over the next 20 years – almost 2,000 responses were received. As reported previously in the Mercury, based on responses from the survey, Stamford residents’ primary concern is for the town’s unique character and heritage to be protected as the area is developed. Other key issues of concern were parking, highways infrastructure, affordable housing, and a need to promote economic growth.

David said: “Stamford’s Neighbourhood Plan will not be a panacea and will not address all of the concerns which people have about the future development of the town, particularly the scale of it. Growth targets are set by local authorities in response to government demands. “In Stamford’s case this means that SKDC has proposed the allocation of land for almost 1,300 homes between now and 2036, with a further 600 by Rutland County Council, all to the north of the town. However, a neighbourhood plan cannot be used to prevent or reduce development. “But what the Stamford Plan will do is to shape that growth, influence where building should take place, what developments should look like and ensure that appropriate investment in infrastructure and services is made by developers to make growth sustainable. Already we have seen the benefits of developing the Neighbourhood Plan and by representing residents’ views to SKDC we have been able us to exert strong influence on its Local Plan.”

Talking about some of the “emerging” policies within the plan Mr Taylor told the Mercury that he expects upwards of 70 policies to be included. Key among those policies is one which calls for an holistic “masterplan” to be created for the whole of SKDC’s proposed “Stamford North” expansion to avoid a piecemeal approach to development. Other policies call for the creation of design policies and guidelines which protect the character of the town. And, in order to promote business growth within the town, the plan calls for previously allocated, as well as existing employment space in the town, to be protected to ensure that it can only be developed as such.

“As a Neighbourhood Planning group, we are wholly supportive of SKDC’s wishes to bring inward investment and jobs into the town and we see it as incumbent on us to ensure that land is available for this purpose. Stamford cannot simply be a dormitory town but needs to enable existing, growing, businesses to remain, and encourage new ones to establish themselves here.”

Following consultation with residents in early 2018, the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan will undergo independent examination to ensure that it conforms with due process before being the subject of a legally binding referendum among all Stamford residents. David went on to say:

“Developing this plan been a lengthier process than we had anticipated and we have been delayed to some extent by SKDC’s Local Plan running behind schedule. However, our ambition is to still to undertake consultation on the draft in the Spring of 2018. “Once Stamford’s Neighbourhood Plan is approved it becomes a statutory planning instrument which sets out planning polices to which developers have to conform.”

Read more at: Stamford Mercury

Residents Survey results – Stamford residents call for the Town’s unique character and heritage to be protected

That was the one of the clear findings of a consultation by the Stamford First team, which is aiming to put together a town neighbourhood plan. The plan, if approved through a town referendum, will shape the development of Stamford over the next two decades – and will be used by other authorities to guide decisions.

The consultation, via questionnaire, ran between August and October and there were 1,700 responses – equivalent to 21 per cent of all households. Stamford First was delighted with the response.

Chairman of Stamford First David Taylor, who is also a Stamford town councillor, said: “The results clearly demonstrate that whilst there is general acceptance that there will be growth in Stamford, there is a very strong desire to protect the town’s unique character and heritage and for it to retain it’s strong local identity and distinctiveness. Equally there is a clear demand that, with any development, there is an appropriate investment from would be developers in infrastructure and services to support sustainable growth.

Mr Taylor went on to say “Residents, through the survey, have plainly expressed a view that such investment should enable ways and means of limiting further stress on Stamford’s already overburdened road system. This is endorsed by the commonly held view amongst those surveyed that there should be an link road joining the east of the town with the A1 and relieve some town centre traffic.”

Now, using, the results from the consultation, the Stamford First team and other working groups will begin to draft an initial plan. It is hoped this will be done by the new year.

The draft plan will then be the subject of further consultation with the community before being submitted to an independent inspector for assessment. It is hoped the final plan will be ready to go to a town referendum in the Spring.

Respondents of the consultation were given the chance to win one of five £100 vouchers to spend in a Stamford restaurant as an incentive. Winners will be notified shortly.

http://www.stamfordmercury.co.uk/news/stamford-residents-call-for-town-s-unique-character-and-heritage-to-be-protected-1-7674256

FULL DETAILS OF THE SURVEY RESULTS CAN BE DOWNLOAD HERE