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Village calls summit on planning proposals

Posted on October 20 2011 at 11:02:53

Grass-roots groups in Alvechurch are joining for a public summit meeting over the Government’s move to make it easier for developers to build on green fields.

They fear that unless communities find a way to make their voices heard, people’s feelings will be bulldozed by big money.

The meeting is billed as:  “The Big Society and how it affects Alvechurch. What is it and what do you want it to be?”

It is being organised by Alvechurch Village Society in place of its usual monthly meeting.

The chairman, Adrian Smith, said: “Alvechurch Village Society and Alvechurch Parish Council, plus our local residents’ associations have recently consulted on the new National Planning Policy Framework.

“In its present form it almost gives a green light to large-scale development on green land as opposed to present recommendations for development to be on   brownfield sites first.

“The Localism Bill and ‘The Big Society’ proposed by the Government is supposed to bring this sort of decision-making to local people. 

“But how can this work when small communities are up against Government policy, council directives and the power of big business?,” he asked.
“The answer may be through The Localism Bill’s own advice in that we construct our own very Local Neighbourhood Plan.”

The meeting, at Alve-church Village Hall on November 23 at 7.45pm, will hear how the parish council has formed a small steering group to look at constructing a Neighbourhood Plan for Alvechurch Parish Area.

The aim is to include the whole community by seeking opinions, ideas and volunteers. Coun Smith said: “This should give the parish community the recommended ‘bottom up’ structure as opposed to the present ‘top down’ one.

“National and district planning policies will still have to be adhered to but through a Neighbourhood Plan we will, through legal right, have an influence upon proposed applications, as stipulated in the Localism Bill.

“So why not come along and find out how we as a parish have started the process of community involvement? Everyone is welcome,” he added.

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