On May 10th 2018 the residents of Bollington voted in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Question asked in the referendum was as follows:
“Do you want Cheshire East Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Bollington to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”
The result of the referendum was 1629 votes for Yes and 180 votes for No. The total number of votes cast was 1812 (with 3 ballot papers rejected as void for uncertainty) representing 29.33% of the eligible electorate.
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Setting the Scene
Neighbourhood Plans are required to take a positive approach to sustainable development and cannot set out to stifle development – they can however, seek to ensure that any development is appropriate for their Community. At the end of Section 2 of our Plan, we have included a general Policy V1, ‘Maintenance of Community Attributes’, which sets out 4 conditions for sustainable development and states that ‘Development will be supported where the overall effect is a positive contribution to these attributes with no significant unacceptable effect to any of them’. The word ‘significant’ has been added as an Examiner recommendation. This is intended to be a Policy with which all other Policies in the Plan must comply.
Bollington has seen significant increases in housing numbers over the last few years. There is a strong demand for housing here. Section 3 of the Plan sets out the Policies for Housing. This includes the number, location (with support for development on brownfield sites and suitable infill and windfall sites, not on Green Belt except for very special circumstances) and types and designs of housing.
Employment, Business and Retail
The responses to the Questionnaire indicated a desire that Bollington should continue to be a working Town and should provide adequate shopping and hospitality outlets for the Community.
The Green Environment
Deals with, ‘Open Space’, ‘Green Belt’ and ‘Natural Environment. The Policies seek to ‘designate’, ‘maintain’ and ‘enhance’ existing and new Open Spaces and provide a new designation of ‘Local Green Space’ to provide strong protection against development. They are also concerned with protecting wild-life habitat, recognising the location of Bollington as partly within the Peak Park Fringe, recognising the importance of local landmarks and footpaths.
The Built Environment and Heritage
This section is concerned with maintaining Bollington as an Historic Town and preserving the character of the four Conservation Areas. It requires that new developments must not harm key landscape focal points in the proximity of the 4 Conservation Areas.
Tourism and Leisure
In the response to the Questionnaire, there was some support for a modest expansion in Tourism to attract more visitors to the Town and support employment in the retail and hospitality business areas, provided attention was paid to the need for availability of supporting infrastructure, such as toilets and parking.
Moving Around and Infrastructure
Although the Neighbourhood Plan has to be concerned primarily with planning decisions for land use, , probably the greatest concerns expressed by the Community were related to road safety and parking issues. The Policies aim to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. They also aim to give planning support for signage and heritage storyboards, provided they are of appropriate high quality, to provide information on attractions in Bollington and its Heritage for visitors.