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PENN PARISH

Five diverse villages

Penn Parish includes the rural, attractive, historic villages of Penn, Penn Street, Winchmore Hill and the settlements of Knotty Green and Forty Green covering an area of approximately 4000 acres, of which 80% is either Green Belt or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Neighbourhood Plan is not making changes to Green Belt or AONB.

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Background to the Neighbourhood Plan

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

Neighbourhood plans were introduced by the Government 10 years ago and set out rules (known as planning policies) to assess planning applications. They are normally prepared by Parish Councils to reflect local priorities and sit alongside the plans prepared by District or Unitary Councils. They have the same status in planning law.

 

In Penn Parish this means that planning applications would be considered against The Penn Neighbourhood Plan as well as two documents from the former Chiltern District Council, the Core Strategy (from 2011) and Local Plan (from 1997). These will be replaced by the new Buckinghamshire local plan which is currently in preparation.

 

Why is Penn Parish preparing a neighbourhood plan?

In early 2021 Penn Parish Council agreed to develop a Neighbourhood Plan after looking at other nearby parish plans and after considering the potential benefits to our residents. The purpose of the Neighbourhood Plan is to define what planning applications are acceptable and what are not – in line with the resident’s wishes.

 

How has the plan been prepared?

Penn Parish Council set up a working group of local Parish Councillors and volunteers representing each of the 5 main communities in the Parish. The working group members recruited further village volunteers and together helped survey residents. They also collected evidence on behalf of their communities, and commented on the plan’s proposed policies. The Parish Council has also appointed external consultants to provide technical support in the preparation of our plan. This has been funded, in part, from a central government grant.

 

The Parish Council carried out a survey in September 2021, dropping a leaflet into every house in the Parish. The response rate was 30%.

 

The key findings of that survey were that the aspects of the parish which are most valued included green spaces, rural atmosphere, feeling safe, part of a community, enjoying a village feel in historic settings. 95% of respondents wanted to preserve woodlands and green spaces, 73% buildings of character, 70% ponds and 60% the street appearance.

The key areas of concern were increasing traffic volume, parking issues and lack of facilities. Shops, pubs, footpaths and bridleways, clubs and societies, and sports facilities including sports fields were considered important for 60%.

 

60% of respondents believed that the number of houses in the existing villages was about right. If more were built 70% wanted sustainable, 60% wanted private small houses for downsizing or starter homes and 50% preferred bungalows or ground floor properties. Buildings should use local material (60%) Off street parking was essential (72%). Brownfield sites should be used if required preserving the village green spaces and the green belt.

 

Looking into the future sustainability was most important whether housing, living or transport (58%)

Click below to read the full set of responses to the September 2021 survey.

CONSULTATIONS

There are three consultations as part of the Neighbourhood Plan process. The initial consultation involved a survey and online questionnaire which went to all residents in the Parish.

 

This is the second consultation where you are invited to comment on the Plan. After the consultation is complete and your comments considered, the Plan will be sent to Buckinghamshire Council. They will check the Plan and run a final consultation. The final stage is a local referendum in Penn Parish to vote on the Plan.

 

This may seem like a drawn-out process but it is this exercise in democracy that gives the Plan its legitimacy and means planning authorities must consider our wishes.

Penn Pond

Vision & Objectives of the Plan

Vision

“To protect and enhance the character and identity of Penn Parish communities ensuring any development opportunities are sustainable and appropriate to the scale and nature of our Parish, and respects its historic, agricultural, and rural character.”

 

Objectives
1 – Environment Objective

To protect and enhance the biodiversity of our green spaces, local wildlife habitats and the unique landscape setting of our Parish in the Chilterns, working towards net zero carbon.

 

2 – Housing Objective

To protect the existing AONB and Green Belt in Penn Parish and ensure any future housing responds to local needs, is of a high standard of design, and complements the Parish in terms of type, mix, scale, and character.

 

3 – Design and Heritage Objective

To identify, protect and enhance our heritage assets and public spaces, ensuring future development is innovative, attractive and sympathetic to the existing character of the Parish.

 

4 – Business and Economic Activity Objective

To sustain and develop our thriving community and commercial activities and services in the Parish, embracing changes in work patterns such as working from home.

 

5 – Leisure and Recreation Objective

To maintain and develop our leisure and recreation opportunities for residents of all ages, encouraging provision of open space and children’s play facilities, and protecting our existing assets such as the school, village hall and other community buildings and spaces used for community events.

 

6 – Infrastructure Objective

To promote safe public streets and spaces; reduce traffic through more accessible and sustainable transport links (including footpaths and cycle routes); and ensure appropriate traffic calming and parking solutions that are sensitive to our Parish’s unique character.

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WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Once this consultation is complete and your comments have been considered, the Plan will be sent to Buckinghamshire Council. After another consultation they will appoint an examiner to review the Plan and propose any necessary changes.

 

Once this process is complete the final Neighbourhood Plan will be put to residents in a local referendum. Assuming the vote is positive, the Plan and its design code and policies will form part of local planning decisions. These must be taken into account when considering all planning applications. The end result will hopefully be that residents' view are given much greater weight in those decisions.

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