February 2021: Sub-committees set-up and reports received

Progress continues to be made on the preparation of the Eye & Dunsden Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Following October’s informal meeting, a steering group (SG) of nine residents from across the parish was set up. 

Monthly meetings started in November 2019, initially in person at The Flowing Spring and in recent months as you would expect, these have taken place virtually via Zoom – but still continue to be productive and move a wide range of matters forward.

Evidence gathering

The first stage of the process is “evidence gathering” so the SG produced a short, focused questionnaire which was delivered to each household in the parish as well as being available on-line. Thank you to those of you who completed it – the information was insightful and has proved useful in helping to identify the aspects of the parish which are important to the residents so that the SG can ensure these are kept in mind as the plan takes shape. The SG are also working with a number of experts to assist in gathering evidence relating to factors such as the landscape and the ecology of the area.

The first draft of the landscape character assessment was reviewed by the SG at last month’s meeting and has since been discussed with Liz Allen CMLI who is a landscape architect and who prepared the report. Liz provided her expertise for the Shiplake NDP in 2019. This report helps identify aspects such as valued landscapes and recreational sites within the parish to assist the SG in seeking to protect these where possible.

Some members of the SG met with Sharon Brentall of Bluestone Planning, the consultants who will be drafting the NDP, to discuss the timeline for the project as well as to clarify further areas that the SG can – and should – be focusing on. Sharon has also been involved with other local NDPs so is familiar with the area. To help her understand our parish even more, she took the time to undertake a walking tour with David Woodward, who is the chairman of the SG. A further tour is planned.

Sub-groups

As more evidence is gathered, the SG is setting up a number of smaller sub-groups focusing on specific areas such as the character of the parish, the landscape, transport and the environment & ecology of the area. If you are interested in being involved with any of these sub-groups – or joining the SG – please can you contact plan@eyedunsden.org identifying which sub-group you are interested in together with details of particular skills or knowledge (if any) which will benefit the sub-group.

It is anticipated that you will need to commit a couple of hours each month to assist, which hopefully is a worthwhile time investment to help shape the future of the parish.The SG are currently looking at ways in which the information and evidence gathered can be shared with local residents as well as ways in which local businesses can be involved in the plan. 

At present this is impacted by the government COVID guidelines however the SG are hopeful that some face-to-face meetings can take place in the months ahead. If you are interested in finding out more about the work that has been done by the SG, the minutes of the meetings are available here where you will also be able to access further resources relating to NDPs.

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