Some of you may be wondering why there has not been more news coming out of the Neighbourhood Plan Team over the last couple of months. The reason is that this has been a period of review, planning and discussion …. review of all the 250+ comments and suggestions received on our Pre-submission Plan; planning how we should respond to all those comments – particularly what needs to change in the Final Submission of our plan; and detailed discussions within the team and (critically) with all the other parties necessary to ensure that our final plan is robust and can be delivered in practice. These activities are complicated and take a lot of time!
Central to our Neighbourhood Plan is the principle that further significant development in Benson and the surrounding area can only be sustainable if it is accompanied by the Edge Road (ER) – and securing the ER has inevitably required a series of detailed, interlocking conversations with developers, specialists and public bodies. Theses discussions are not yet complete, but we are now hopeful that all the necessary elements can be agreed and brought together into a single detailed ER design, which is acceptable to all parties and which can be underpinned by the comprehensive transport report that we will shortly be commissioning with financial and technical support from SODC.
On a separate but connected matter, Gladman’s appeal against SODC’s non-determination of their planning application for 130 houses on land off St Helen’s Avenue (BEN7) will be heard at a Public Inquiry on 1st and 2nd of August. Benson PC and the Neighbourhood Plan team believe that this development is unsustainable on a number of counts (noise and safety issues from RAF Benson, lack of school places, traffic issues etc) and do not intend to allocate the site in our final Neighbourhood Plan. We will be seeking to make our own case as forcibly as we can at the Public Enquiry, as well as supporting SODC. We would encourage as many people as possible to attend the inquiry at some point and we will advise suitable timings when the running order is published. We will also advise the venue as soon as it is confirmed.
Thanks for your continued patience while we work through all these issues.
Benson Plan Team