What is Community Planning?
Community plans are being developed in partnership with town and parish councils, residents and local interest groups to understand and identify what services or infrastructure issues exist in local areas and equally, what unique characteristics or spaces need to be protected or could be enhanced.
Community plans were started as part of the process for developing a Local Plan for the whole of Central Bedfordshire.
The Local Plan provides the overall approach to sustainable growth and the development of homes, roads, jobs and community facilities such as schools, parks and open space.
Community Plans focus on these needs at a more local level.
How will the information be used?
This information will be used to help shape the future of the area.
The information from the community plans has helped to inform the Draft Local Plan and more specifically the policies within it. The Local Plan will set out how our area will develop in the future, up to 2035, and how we will make sure this growth happens in a structured and sustainable way.
Sometimes developers have a duty to give financial contributions which are used to help provide schools, roads and other community facilities in the area where new homes are to be built. The community plans can be used to inform where that money could be best spent in the local area.
Some information from community planning may be used to help us make decisions about planning applications and what conditions we might put in place around certain developments.
Beyond the Local Plan
Some communities may also choose to take their Community Plan and feed it into the background evidence for their Neighbourhood Plan. In these cases, the community themselves will very much start to take ownership of the plan and more control over shaping where they live.
What is the difference between a Neighbourhood Plan and a Community Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans enable local communities to shape the development and growth of their neighbourhood in terms of planning decisions. Neighbourhood planning is not a legal requirement but is a right that communities can choose to use. Some areas in Central Bedfordshire have Neighbourhood Plans and some areas are developing them.
Community Plans are similar but they cover a larger area than a Neighbourhood Plan. Although Community Plans do not hold any weight in planning policy terms, they will be used to inform the Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire, which absolutely does.
Existing Neighbourhood Plans, or those that are currently being produced, will be used to inform the Community Plans.