Modification proposals to the Castlethorpe Neighbourhood Plan

The Castlethorpe Neighbourhood Plan 2015-2030 became Planning Policy in September 2017, which was before Milton Keynes Council had made a new Local Plan called Plan:MK which sets Planning Policies for the Borough. As a result, Castlethorpe Parish Council has been updating the Neighbourhood Plan to bring it in line with Plan:MK and ending at the same time in 2031.

The main features of the update are:
● It updates the Policies in the Neighbourhood Plan to bring them into alignment with Plan:MK
● There are no new allocations of land for housing
● The wording of some of the Policies have been clarified in the light of our experience with planning applications since the Neighbourhood Plan was made
● The parish has 20 Listed Buildings within the village and one (Castlethorpe Mill) outside it. However, there are a number of important buildings in the village which are, to use the technical term, ‘non-designated heritage assets’ or, as we call them, Buildings of Local Interest. Most of these buildings date from the coming of the railway and the opening of Wolverton Works and are an important part of our history. A new Policy says that these buildings, the stone walls around the church and around the South St paddock and the Water Tower must not be harmed or lost unless there is an outweighing public benefit and in particular that the front view and rooflines on these buildings should be preserved.
● Having gathered further evidence of use, as the earlier survey had been rejected as ‘anecdotal’ by the previous Examiner, the Plan will add Gobbey’s Field as a Local Green Space.
● The Policy favouring car parking spaces at the back of the village green has been deleted (the back of the green belongs to the owner of Station Yard) and any application for car parking will have to come forward in the normal way with no predisposition for approval.
● There is a new Policy on Climate Change supporting the conversion of streetlights to LED, installation of public EV charging points, improving the SUSTRANS cycle track to Wolverton and for the energy efficient development of new buildings.
● The list of proposed infrastructure projects to improve the village has been updated.

This is a “pre-submission draft” update to the Castlethorpe Neighbourhood Plan which will be in consultation for a period of six weeks. The Parish Council will then take note of the comments made and will decide whether to modify the Neighbourhood Plan. It will then be submitted to MKC, who have supported us during this work, and, statutorily, MKC will then do a second consultation for a further six weeks.

At completion, the Neighbourhood Plan may again be modified by MKC in the light of any new comments and it will be passed to an external Examiner who will ensure it is fit for purpose and make any recommendations. The Examiner will also decide whether the modifications need to go to referendum or not.
The Plan Policies are powerful because they will be adopted by Milton Keynes Council and Policies in the existing Plan have already influenced the outcome of a number of planning applications.

You can read the draft version of the Neighbourhood Plan online at castlethorpe-pc.gov.uk where you can download it along with two documents describing the Modifications in more detail. There is also a Comment form which you can send to the Parish Clerk at clerk@castlethorpe-pc.gov.uk or by mail to the Clerk at 63, Thrupp Close, Castlethorpe, Milton Keynes MK19 7PL (tel 01908 337928) or you can fill it in online here. Copies of the document are also available from the Clerk.

There will be an Open Day from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 29th February at the Village Hall where parish councillors and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will be available to answer any questions.

The Consultation period ends on 11th March so please send you comments to us by then.

Philip Ayles
Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council

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