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Have say on balance of Sid Valley’s natural and built environments

PUBLISHED: 06:55 07 June 2017

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan logo

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan logo

Archant

The balance between the natural and built environments is one of the key aspects of a project to shape the Sid Valley over the next 15 years.

The Neighbourhood Plan could include policies - carrying statutory weight - on the height and spread of new developments, ‘settlement creep’ outside Built-Up Area Boundaries and the impact on natural wildlife habitats.

With a second questionnaire sent to all households, the steering group is calling for as many responses as possible so it knows what matters to the community to build the foundations for its draft plan.

Steering group chairman Deirdre Hounsom said: “Our consultations over the past year confirm beyond doubt that residents cherish the special nature of the Sid Valley so we need to produce planning policies which protect our unique towns, villages and countryside from unwelcome types of change.

“People are concerned to ensure that effective measures are in place to control any development within the Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) and policies should also focus on protecting our public open places, such as parklands, the Byes, the Knowle, Blackmore and Connaught Gardens, all of which enhance our quality of life.

“One of the questions in the current survey asks if it’s important to retain the historic appearance and distinctiveness of the Sid Valley and whether the Neighbourhood Plan should produce specific design guidance for all future developments.”

She added: “We are also asking residents to comment on ‘settlement creep’ outside the Built-Up Area Boundaries as, beyond these areas, development is only allowed in exceptional circumstances.

“A Neighbourhood Plan principle for development of ‘brownfield’ sites first before approval of any new out-of-town applications might be another recommendation.

“We are also seeking views on a range of issues affecting our natural environment, for example the loss of natural wildlife habitats, maintenance of the valley’s tree canopy, and minimising future light pollution.

“We really need maximum community response to this final survey to help inform the evidence base on which we can build the foundations of our draft plan.”

Relevant maps can be found at www.sidvalleyneighbourhoodplan.com.

The survey closes on June 30 and can also be filled out online.

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