Community development plan approved

A community which wanted to have more say over developments has succeeded in becoming only the fourth area of Shropshire to have a neighbourhood plan adopted into policy.

The plan has been adopted after a vote of Shropshire Council
The plan has been adopted after a vote of Shropshire Council

The Stoke Upon Tern Neighbourhood plan was formally adopted as part of the statutory development plan for the parish after winning unanimous support at a full meeting of Shropshire Council on Thursday.

It follows a referendum earlier this year which saw residents overwhelmingly vote in favour of the document, which has been drawn up by the parish council and local volunteers.

The plan builds on Shropshire Council’s over-arching development plan, and the new local plan which is expected to be adopted next year.

Commending the plan to councillors, Councillor Ed Potter, cabinet member for planning, said: “In general, neighbourhood plans are seen as a positive addition to the development plan and can provide more localised policy on a range of issues.

“Stoke Upon Tern Neighbourhood Plan has followed a defined statutory route through to this stage.

“It has included extensive public consultation, independent examination, a local referendum carried out in May 2021.

“The referendum into the plan was delayed by 13 months due to the Covid-19 emergency but did eventually take place on May 6.

“This asked the question: ‘Do you want Shropshire Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Stoke Upon Tern to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’

“This received the support of 87.54 per cent of those who voted. The referendum was therefore successful and allows Shropshire Council the opportunity to formally adopt the plan.

“By way of background, the plan was prepared by a steering group which included representatives from the parish council and other local volunteers, along with support from a planning consultant commissioned by the parish council.

“Shropshire Council acted as a statutory consultee during the preparation phase.

“It is considered this collaborative process has helped to ensure the final version of the neighbourhood plan is in general conformity with the strategic policies of Shropshire’s adopted development plan and the emerging local plan review.

“The independent examination into the submission version of the neighbourhood plan was carried out and approved between May and June 2019.”

Stoke Upon Tern is the fourth area of Shropshire to have a neighbourhood plan adopted, following Much Wenlock, Shifnal and Woore, with several others currently being worked on.

Policies set out in the plan include supporting the delivery of affordable housing, rural diversification and new sports provision, as well as design aspirations for new developments.

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