On this page you will find a summary of Neighbourhood Plan meetings.
6th March 2017
The group last met on the 16th October 2016. Since then work has continued to build the content and policies for a draft version of the plan by the key groups.
We have had a delay in distributing our housing requirements survey. This survey is key in assessing what our requiremnts for new housing are likely to be over the plan period. It is anticipated that the survey will now be distributed this month and results should follow shortly thereafter.
The steering committee has recommended that the Parish Council issues a "call for sites". This is basically going out to land and property owners to see if they are likely to offer land for development. The committee decided that this was a good strategy as it gives us, residents of the parish, the ability to control where and what type of properties we might wish to see should the landowner decide to build. Land that isn't identified at this time and included in the plan might, at a later stage, be offered for development without us being able to influence directly what it is used for.
We are at the point where we can begin to put together an outline plan ready for further consultation and our external consultant, Alison Eardley, has agreed to pull that together. At this stage we are short of key information and supporting evidence however the groups will be working on this in the coming weeks. One of the next key decisions is whether or not we will need to prepare a Sustainability Appraisal. Once we have a rough draft plan we can submit it to St Albans District Council and they will tell us whether or not this will be required.
6th June 2016 - Steering Group Meeting
The group reviewed the results of the consultation at the Annual Parish Meeting which was attended by over 50 residents. The data gathered would be combined with data collected at the proposed consultations on the 19th and 22nd of June.
Topics discussed included the potential for a solar farm on the Blackbridge tip, the opportunities for improving car parking in the village and the potential for additional housing on land owned by the parish council.
Much time was taken up in discussing the format and content of the two consultations dure later in the month. We agreed that we should ask residents to comment on the vision statement and strategic objectives. We also would include example policies from each team so that we could gather initial im,pressions from residents as to the type of policies they preferred. We also would have a map and give attendees self-adhesive dots so they can identify where in the village they came from - the dots could also be used to "vote" in favour of policies.
The team then considered an advertising campaign to maximise attendance at the consultations. It was unfortunate that one of the dates chosen was Father's Day and this would impact attendance. However, we agreed that advertising would take place using the parish council's noticeboards, leaflets distributed through local shops, email though local organisations such as WEB, the WDPS and the Community Group.
It was confirmed that St Albans District Council were hosting neighbourhood planning workshops during June and members of the team were invited to attend.
Iain Begg proposed that Wheathampstead should present itself as the first SAFE village (Sustainable, Accessible, Fair trade, Environmental). This would be discussed further at the consultations and future meetings.
9th May 2016 - Steering Group Meeting
During this Steering Group meeting we received feedback from the local business group, WEB. The group felt it important that the needs of businesses were included in the Neighbourhood Plan but it was pointed out that many business owners did not live in the parish. This meant that they would have no voice when the referendum was held to approve the plan. For this reason WEB are to conduct their own survey of businesses to gather material to be considered for the plan.
The Annual Parish Meeting is when the Parish Council reports back to residents on its activities during the previous and coming years. This year there would be a Neighbourhood Plan consultation included in the agenda.
The group again discussed whether or not we should allocate sites for housing as part of the plan. This is a difficult decision as, inevitably, it might result in the loss of Green Belt. On the other hand, inclusion in the plan would provide us with a greater degree of control on what is built. However, it allocating sitesd would almost certainly mean we would have to develop a separate Strategic Environmental Assessment covering such issues as sustainability.
The group was concerned that there is a lack of specific data on our housing needs. The St Albans Housing Needs Assessment was for the entire district and it is not clear how well we can interpolate meaningful numbers for our parish. We agreed that we would have to produce a survey for residents asking questions such as "Are you or any member of your family thinking about renting or buying a house in the parish and if so are there any barriers to this?".
4th April 2016 - Steering Group Meeting
During this Steering Group meeting we discussed the possible need to allocate sites in the village and around the parish for housing. This will be an on-going discussion as we examine our housing requirements in more depth and consult with residents about housing needs.
Our external consultant, Alison Eardley, has provided us with a template for the final plan and we agreed that we would use it but would re-order the sections to make it more closely follow our requirements. Once it has been reordered the template will be placed with the other supporting documents.
The group reviewed the work completed in three sections; housing, character and conservation; environment; transport and movement.
The team reviewed the timetable for the project with a view to submitting a grant application primarily to support our external consultant but also to help pay for our consultation activities. The grant application will be submitted before the end of April.
The first formal consultation activity will be at the Annual Parish Meeting on May 11th. This is the meeting where the Parish Council reports back to the community on its activities over the past year and on the proposed activities for the coming year. The second half of the evening will be devoted to reporting back on the progress on the plan in three specifica areas: Housing, Community Facilities and Transport. We will also request feedback on the Vision Statement and Strategic Objectives. We also agreed that the next three opportunities for consultation would be drop in sessions at the Memorial Hall, village weekend and a written survey sent to every houshold, community group and school.
7th March 2016 - Steering Group Meeting
Our appointed external consultant, Alison Eardley, joined us for this meeting and reviewed our progress so far. She recommended a plan of engagement with residents and particularly those who don't normally get involved. Group might include young people, the elderly, business people and residents living on the Hilldyke Estate. She also recommended a series of "drop-in" sessions. Alison also gave advice on preparing policies for inclusion in the plan.
The group also agreed the Strategic Objectives required to meet the Vision Satatement. It was accepted that as the project progressed these migh be modified. The agreed list can be found in Supporting Documents.
Individual teams presented their progress to date and Alison agreed to provide a skeleton for the Neighbouhood Plan so we could begin to create a working document.
8th February 2016 - Steering Group Meeting
David Johnston delivered a presentation in three parts. The first was a brief overview of the St Albans Draft Strategic Local Plan (SLP) which is currently out for consultation. He highlighted the structure of the document - based around a vision statement, strategic objectives and policies to achieve the objectives. David showed an example to indicate how the vision statement led to a particular strategic objective and this, in turn, resulted in a policy that supported the objective.
In the second part of the presentation he briefly compared the St Albans structure with two neighbourhood plans - one from Winchcombe and the other from Haddenham. While Winchcombe adopted the St Albans model, Haddenham had broken their document into sections based on function even though they had a set of objectives to meet their vision. The team felt that the St Albans and Winchcombe approach is preferable as it keeps focus on the vision statement. David then went on to a first draft list of eight strategic objectives based on the Wheathampstead vision statement. Examples of potential policies were included so as to stimulate further discussion and work. The final part of the presentation contained a more detailed review of the St Albans Draft SLP. The first two parts of the presentation can be found in Supporting Documents.
Julia Scott presented and led a discussion around Sustainable Transport and the group explored possible policies. Peter Woodhams and Tessa Reason presented their work on gathering evidence on the topic of Countryside and Open Spaces and again there followed a discussion on possible policies. There was much discussion around what a policy is, what they are designed to do, and how best to formulate them.
The group agreed that we were getting to the point where we needed to consult with residents and gather informaton specific to our parish. We will build a suitable questionnaire and distribute it as widely as possible using local organisations, the web site and the Pump. We may also organise open sessions at the Memorial Hall inviting residents to attend and discuss the plan with team members.
Actions for the next meeting incude:
- Invite our external consultant (Alison Eardley) to review what has been done and to assist with public consultation
- To have a draft questionnaire ready - team members
- Team members to have reviewed the draft objectives presented by David Johnston
- To have started to develop ideas for policies based on the objectives
4th January 2016 - Steering Group Meeting
The Group agreed a Vision Statement for the parish which will go out to consultation shortly. It forms the basis of our approch to creating the plan. That is, we now gather the evidence and background materials we need to create a Neighbourhood Plan with policies that will provide support for or against particular types of development in the parish and achieve our vision. These policies help planners decide whether or not to approve certain planning applications. We made some progress towards understanding how our population will evolve and what type of accommodation will be needed as this is key to deveoping a sound plan that will achieve our objectives.
- The draft Vision Statement was agreed by the group and is available of the Supporting Documents page.
- David Johnston delivered a presentation to explain how the District Council forecast an estimate of population figures out to 2031. He also presented a graph showing how the village had grown and the average occupancy per houshold from the first census back in 1801. This presentation is available in Supporting Documents
- Using the 1994 Strategic Local Plan from St Albans District Council, the group then allocated specific areas to group members to research. The intention being to gather evidence (background materials) so that we could begin to formulate policies to support our vision for the parish.
3rd November 2015 - Steering Group Meeting
At this meeting we:
- Welcomed Maz Khan to the team as the local representative for The Folly
- Decided we would like to use the services of Alison Eardley as a consultant to help with the plan
- Spent most of the meeting brainstorming around a 15 year vision for the village
We are now working on a draft of the vision which we hope to agree at the next meeing and will publish then.
5th October 2015 - Steering Group Meeting
At this meeting we:
- welcomed local resident Richard Brett
- welcomed Alison Eardley, a consultant specialising in neighbourhood planning, to the meeting
- Cllr Shardlow presented a list of evidence we need to gather including housing requirements, conservation statements, waste strategy documents, etc.
- briefly reviewed the Village Plan of 2009, updated 2011
- conducted a SWOT analysis on Wheathampstead Parish
- began to develop a draft vision (for consultation) of how Wheathampstead should look in 15+ years. To be finished next time
15th September 2015 - Steering Group Meeting
At this meeting we:
- welcomed local resident Julia Scott to the team
- identified some key residents to join in addition to Julia
- agreed that many other residents, land owners, businesses, etc. would be approached at a later date
- would approach a sample of consultants in neighbourhood planning to see what services they could provide
- discussed publicity
- agreed to being collecting relevant documents
17th August 2015 - Steering Group Meeting
At this initial meeting we:
- elected a Chairman and Vice-Chairman
- took an update on the St Albans Strategic Local Plan
- greed a preliminary timetable for the project
- decided who to invite onto the Steering Group
- agreed to take training in social media from Wendy Griffith