Well, what does the plan do for us?

It contains a raft of policies that will determine the future planning decisions for the Neighbourhood Plan Area – which includes all the area in our Town Council’s administrative boundaries, including the existing built urban area and all the green spaces surrounding it.

These policies will help protect our environment, built form and provide for improvements to the existing Town.

In fact, the plan policy SWF DC1 has already protected the design and built form of housing when the independent Planning Inspector reviewed the plan, paragraph 5.87 says: -

“Representations from Savills on behalf of Bellway Homes Ltd regarding this policy drew attention to Policy SWF DC1 deals with regard to building heights.”

They were trying to get the policy changed to allow up to 4 storey housing built in their development to the north of the town!

The Inspectors response was: -

“I consider that the policy limitation in restricting the building heights within the NGA to be justified in delivering high quality design in keeping with the Essex vernacular and respecting building heights beyond the town centre within South Woodham Ferrers.”

This means that if the plan is agreed and adopted the new northern extension to SWF will be protected from inappropriate building form and will continue to follow the Essex vernacular.

There are many policies and projects laid out in the plan and we encourage everyone to read it Chelmsford City Council There are links to the plan, inspectors report consultee comments and more to be found.

Another benefit of the plan is that the Town Council will receive 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), it is this financial support that will allow the aspirations of our community to be realised.

What can't it do for us?

It cannot stop the Northern Extension to SWF or change the Burnham Road and have a bypass. The Chelmsford Local Plan is the defining document for road infrastructure and any changes to it must be made through the next Local Plan review, which is some years hence.

There are people and lobby groups saying the opposite, but I can tell you they are very misguided – Neighbourhood Plans are about a Community’s aspirations for the future and do not deal with major planning issues!

Without the Neighbourhood plan we will be governed by all the Policies of the Chelmsford Local plan, which will mean much of the improvements it seeks will not happen and we will get inappropriately designed development for many years to come.

We urge all residents to vote YES on 21st October to protect our town’s future.