It’s been nearly 4 years since we started the journey of writing a Neighbourhood Plan for Ruddington – much longer than we imagined at the start – so you’d be forgiven for forgetting what it’s all about! With the public referendum coming this Thursday 22nd July 2021, we thought it might be helpful to give you a quick recap of what it is, who wrote it, and why.
Put simply, Neighbourhood Plans give communities the powers to shape the development of their local area. It is a set of planning policies written by Ruddington Parish Council after a series of extensive village consultations, and, if passed by the referendum, will become a part of Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Local Plan. It can’t stop the development of the new housing estates set out by the Local Plan, but it does give the residents and businesses of Ruddington a statutory say in how they will look, and what those developments should provide – things like a design guide, what infrastructure and amenities we want, and what green spaces we we want to protect. You can read more about Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, Ruddington’s “Village Plan”, and all their differences and similarities on our About page.
Another benefit of a Neighbourhood Plan is that it will mean the Parish Council will receive more money to provide better services. All the new housing developments being built in the village have to pay a levy to Rushcliffe Borough Council to pay for community improvements, and currently Ruddington Parish Council receive just 15% of that levy. If the referendum approves the Neighbourhood Plan, the Parish Council will receive another 10% on top – potentially a lot of money, which will help pay for improvements to our village, such as a new community centre.
Where a community has a Parish Council, then it must be that Parish Council that drafts the Neighbourhood Plan. Way back in 2017, Ruddington Parish Council agreed to start work on the plan, and set up a team of volunteers from the community to conduct the necessary research and consulations required. You can read about the team that worked on the plan here.
One of the first and biggest steps we took was to ask the village what its priorities were. Back in June 2018, almost 1000 residents and businesses shared their views, which became the basis for the planning policies being voted on in the referendum. Read what the village had to say in June 2018 here.
Of course, it wasn’t all based on a single consultation. Once we started to distill what the village had to say and sketch out some ideas for policies, we had another consulation – and then another one once we’d written the first draft of the plan. Being a legal document, there were a lot of things we had to do in the 3 and a half years since we started. You can get an idea of how it all panned out on our Roadmap page.
And if you really want to dig into our research and decision making, all our documentation can be found here, along with minutes from our meetings, all held in public, here.
What’s actually IN the plan, though? Well, in the run up to the referendum, you can read the full thing over on Rushcliffe Borough Council’s website here. But everyone’s busy, and it’s a big document, so here’s our run down of what it covers:
- The Plan contains policies covering 8 areas. These are Village Centre, Housing, Connectivity, Heritage, Economy, Design and Sustainability, Environment and Community Infrastructure. There is also a 3-part Design Guide, The Ruddington Design Guide (RDG), which supports the Neighbourhood Plan and is a standalone design guidance document that will carry weight in local decision-making relating to new development proposals. The findings of the RDG will inform specific design policies of the RNP and provide further detail for those wanting to submit planning applications in the parish.
- Village centre policies can be found from page 25 of the RNP document. These include provision of pedestrian infrastructure and parking, as well as preventing the use of solid shutters and box lighting on shops.
- Housing policies begin on page 31 and cover the delivery of custom or self-build residential properties. There is also an aspiration that Ruddington Parish Council will work with local community organisations to bring forward a ‘community right to build order’ to deliver specific types of development identified by the community such as new homes, shops, businesses, community facilities or playgrounds, which comply with the order. The Parish Council will lead such projects and seek to work with the Borough Council to utilise the ‘community right to build order’ and incorporate it into the Neighbourhood Plan.
- Connectivity policies start at page 33. These include the creation of a network of safe and well-surfaced footpaths, a cycle network (covered by a cycle strategy), as well as the provision of adequate parking spaces and electric charging points at new developments.
- Heritage policies can be found from page 41. These policies place restrictions on new development in, or adjacent to, the Conservation Area. In addition, planning applications must take into account the impact of development on non-designated heritage assets in the village, seeking to protect and, where appropriate, enhance them. There is a policy designed to protect the views, vistas, landmarks and gateways in our village.
- Economy policies begin on page 45. These policies cover any proposed future development at Mere Way Business Park including traffic management, the provision of sufficient parking and of solar panels. A policy on home working is included.
- Design and sustainability policies start at page 48. Policies here detail the requirements of the Ruddington Design Guide, energy efficiency, landscaping and biodiversity.
- Environment policies commence on page 54. This section details how applications may be supported where they demonstrate that they have preserved or enhanced the network of green infrastructure within Ruddington as set out. There is an aspiration to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect and enhance the existing wildlife assets within the Parish.
- Community infrastructure policies start on page 58.
- Policies here support applications seeking to deliver the provision of new community facilities or re-purpose existing facilities. This includes care homes, open spaces, sport and recreation facilities, public houses, heritage and museum facilities, educational and religious facilities and health facilities. Local Green Spaces (LGS) have been identified due to their special character, significance, and community value. The sites will be protected from inappropriate development that will lead to the loss or degradation of these green spaces.
Now that you have read the available information we do hope that you will take this opportunity to “Vote Yes” and to give Ruddington a significant voice in the decision making process on future planning.
See you at the referendum!