Earlier this year, Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council committed to produce a neighbourhood development plan to guide the development of the town over the next decade or more.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood plans are statutory documents that can positively address a range of issues connected to the built environment, such as heritage, tourism, protection of green spaces, the future of the high street, the need for affordable homes and measures to increase the levels of walking and cycling.
While a shake-up to the planning system in England was announced by Government in early August, neighbourhood plans will remain as a central part of the new system.
Technical Support & Advice
Following a competitive tender process, the independent design and planning practice Feria Urbanism was appointed by to provide the town council with technical support and advice as it prepares the neighbourhood plan.
The team at Feria Urbanism have extensive experience working with community groups, town councils and parish councils to help prepare neighbourhood plans.
Covid-19 Lock Down
Work on the plan was formally launched at the annual town meeting in March 2020, just before the national lock down was imposed in response to the Covid-19 public health crisis.
While the team working on the neighbourhood plan were hopeful they could make good progress under the legal restrictions on movement and social gatherings, it proved more challenging than first thought.
A few video interviews were undertaken with different interest groups across the town, but it was difficult to engage more widely than that. People across the town were understandably preoccupied with the effects of the pandemic on their daily lives.
With the lock down now easing and a return to some sort of normality now well underway, the town council are keen to relaunch the neighbourhood plan process.
So, what happens next?
We want to reach out to all parts of Abingdon. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how to get involved.
We expect to be in a position to establish the steering committee for the Abingdon Neighbourhood Plan by the end of October. The main themes and topics that the plan will need to address will also be better understood by this stage. A summary report will be produced, providing a sound platform for subsequent, more detailed stages of plan preparation.