For the last three years, Eccleshall Parish Council, together with a steering group comprising councillors and interested local residents, has been producing a Neighbourhood Plan to cover planning issues across the whole of the parish.
The council instigated the start of the process at a public meeting in January 2013 and since then questionnaires and other activities led to the production of a draft plan in January 2015. The Plan was then suitably modified in consultation the Stafford Borough Council and subject to a 6 week consultation process which necessitated further changes. Finally, it was sent to an independent examiner in September 2015. Subsequently, after amendments required by the examiner to comply with the appropriate planning regulations were made, the final plan was submitted to the Borough Council on 11th December 2015.
The Parish Council is now very disappointed that it is now going to take a further 6 months from receipt of the information to delivery of the referendum. However, it is appreciated that the systems in place mean that the Plan cannot go before the Borough Council’s cabinet before the 3rd March and that the Borough Council consider it prudent to hold the referendum on the same day at the beginning of May as the poll for the Police and Crime Commissioner. The Parish Council hopes that this does not deter parishioners from voting or being confused by two different types of election being held on the same day.
The Neighbourhood Plan contains policies on Housing including a Settlement Boundary to establish areas of land suitable for proposed development, Traffic and Parking, Local Green Space to protect areas from development and Historic Environment to maintain the town’s distinctive character and local architecture. The Plan also details aspirations of the local community including improvements to the road infrastructure, provision of accessible green space including a walk along the bank of the River Sow, additional car parking, the construction of a footpath along the B5026 to Pershall and the football ground and also a refuge along the Stone Road to allow residents on the Burgage to cross to the pavement on the opposite side of the road.
The Parish Council hopes that the residents of the Parish will support the Neighbourhood Plan and vote yes, as the Council believes that it will offer suitable planning policies appropriate to the parish in conjunction with the policies of the Borough Council’s Plan for Stafford Borough.