Neighbourhood Plan Progress Report
Thank you to everyone involved in filling out a questionnaire, entering the data, analysing it and putting together the exhibition of questionnaire results on Saturday 18th March. We acquired so many fantastic insights and ideas which people were able to view at the exhibition in the White Hart. We had 80 people attend which was an increase on our public consultation last year where we had 63.
Now all the data has been gathered and presented we will start putting together a first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan document. All results can be seen in the library area of the website, from summaries to the longer and complete list of results.
These results will form an integral part of the full analysis. Full details of the questionnaire results are available in the library section on this website and a paper copy will be made available at the Parish Office and the Post Office.
Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan (JLP) The final consultation on the JLP started on March 15th and runs until 26th April. You may have attended the Neighbourhood Plan exhibition on the 18th or the SHDC drop in on the 23rd March but if you didn’t the map shows where SHDC consider housing development can take place in Modbury up until 2034. There has been a shift from their original proposal for 80 houses next to Long Park and now they suggest 40 houses on part of that site and 40 houses on two fields at Penn Park, in addition to the 93 currently being built at Palm Cross, a total increase over 20 years of 173.
This is a 26% increase on the number of houses in the Town of Modbury compared with a 15% increase in the whole local plan area and just 17% in Plymouth including Sherford. Blue area is currently being built. Brown areas are SHDC proposals. Any comments made will be sent to the Planning Inspector who will examine the plan later in the year.
In particular, comment should focus on the “soundness” of the plan and whether it has been legally prepared and meets the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework. Soundness means that the Council has planned for the area’s housing, employment and infrastructure needs; that the JLP is based on sound evidence; that the JLP can be delivered by 2034; and that the JLP is consistent with national policy, and enables sustainable development.
The Parish Council has organised a public meeting, chaired by Gary Streeter, to hear your views on Friday 7th April at 7.00pm in the Memorial Hall and will be determining its response at the Parish Council meeting on April 10th .
We have now completed analysing all the questionnaire data, and there was a lot! What a wonderful response. The plan is to now review our findings (event on 4th March) and then present them in a public consultation for people to consider.
The other big news is the publication of the draft Joint Local Plan which can be found here. This is very important for the future of Modbury so it is of utmost importance that people put forward their views on the plan. The full consultation process as outlines by South Hams District Council can be found here. We will keep you updated on events, including our own public consultation on March 18th (see events page).
Neighbourhood Plan report: We are currently working on inputting the data from the Household Questionnaires which were sent out in January. We are making good progress on this and should be ready to start analysing the information later this month. A number of issues have been raised during our consultations about traffic management and safety. These were sent to County Councillor Richard Hosking and he has very promptly obtained responses which we will be discussing at our next NPG meeting this coming Wednesday.
We have applied for further Locality funding to support the next phase of the NP process when we will need to call on the services of our independent planning consultant to assist us with drafting policies from the information we have obtained.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work by members of the NPG in distribution and collection of questionnaires and in inputting the data. We are mindful of expenses and all this work has been carried out voluntarily.
After lots of hard work, editing, pilot studies and conversation we have now delivered the questionnaire to the printers. They will be back with us at the end of November (sorry for the slight delay) and distributed in the first week of December. We are very excited to hear everyone’s opinions!!! Everyone in the Parish will either be hand delivered a questionnaire or have it posted with a prepaid return envelope. Keep a look out in the next two weeks!
We now have information regarding the Joint Local Plan which includes the South Hams. This is currently subject to a consultation period. As such we had a large public meeting held in the Memorial Hall that was chaired by local MP Gary Streeter to give people the opportunity to hear the plans and air their views. From this we have produced our response to the plan for their consideration. This response can be found in the library section on this website.
We have also got into the finer details of the questionnaire that will be used as evidence for our NP. We have conducted many consultations, sub group work and now we are fine tuning the questions that need to be asked. In addition to this a questionnaire is soon to be sent out to all local businesses so we can hear their views.
Since beginning in 2015, the NP group has carried out a number of public consultations and events, attempting to obtain as comprehensive a view as possible of how the community would like to see Modbury develop in the future. The eventual aim of these exercises has been to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, which is a formal document advising SHDC of the wishes of the community. These wishes must then be given due consideration by SHDC when drawing up their Local Plan. This is a bit of a balancing act as, while local councils are required by law to take notice of what the community says in their Neighbourhood Plan, they will not accept plans which are directly opposed to the council’s plans. The advice is to work as closely with the council as possible to produce something acceptable to both.
We have arranged meetings with our link officers from SHDC but, until now, both we and they have found it difficult to get involved in detailed discussions as SHDC have not produced their Local Plan, which will detail proposed housing numbers and locations. It is hard to comment on something which doesn’t exist! Rather than wait for the Local Plan to emerge before gathering information, we have strived to put together as much information as we can over the past year so that we can go to SHDC and demonstrate that we have consulted effectively with the whole community and are not just putting forward the views of a few people with loud voices.
Some of the key things you have told us are –:
You wanted more affordable housing, more affordable rented accommodation, consideration of the housing needs of older people, gardens and smaller developments that blended into the town. Concerns were: the impact of big developments, out of scale and out of character; the impact of further developments on traffic, road safety, and demand on resources such as the health centre and school.
Traffic and Road safety
There were many comments about road safety, especially along Barracks Road, Dark Lane, the junction at Little Sheepham Cross and the approach to the Recreation Ground. Crossing at the top of the town by Palm Cross Green was mentioned – especially
important for children attending the school. There were concerns about the impact of extra traffic from the new RA1 site. Other areas of concern were through traffic on Church Street and the junction at Galpin St and the A379 by the Co-op. Concerns were also raised about the level of pollution from traffic on Church Street. This is going to be measured.
Opinion was split about the desirability of a by-pass (no change from previous times this has been raised!)
There was concern that this would have an impact on trade on the high street whereas others thought that less traffic would make Modbury a more attractive place to visit. A number of people commented on the poor signage for parking with no advance indications, making it more likely that people will drive straight through rather than stop.
Lots of comments of the need for a bus stop at the top of the hill by Palm Cross Green. A number of people said that they would like a bus service to Ivybridge. Currently, fleets of cars travel to Ivybridge so that parents can pick up children from after school activities. Anyone else who does not drive has the option of the Plymouth bus or a taxi. Lack of transport to Ivybridge also makes it more difficult to use the train. Suggestions were: a car sharing scheme, a mini bus possibly shared with neighbouring villages and, for the future, an electric powered mini bus.
Over the year there have been more comments about the use of sustainable energy and concern about the environment.
Comments included more use of sustainable technology in new houses, the possibility of fitting energy saving measures into existing houses and businesses and requests for more information. There have been a number of successful community sustainable energy schemes i
n Devon and Cornwall which have shown considerable savings in energy bills. We are looking at the possibility of organising a local event if there is sufficient interest.
There were a number of comments about the lack of employment opportunities locally for young people. The combination of lack of affordable accommodation and suitable employment means that many young people have to leave the area to find work.
We are currently carrying out a survey with local businesses about their views and suggestions for the future.
Footfall in the high street has fallen in recent years and this means that shops some shops are struggling. Many people commented on this as they felt that the shops were part of Modbury’s character. However, shops need local custom in order to survive. There were concerns about available employment for those moving into the new development at Palm Cross and a general view that without more employment Modbury would become a dormitory town for Plymouth.
Character and environment
There was very strong support for maintaining Modbury’s character, both in taking care of existing buildings and spaces and in wanting any new developments to blend in with what is already there. There was strong disappointment that the new development
at Palm Cross Green does not appear to take account of local character despite what appeared on the original plans and that little consideration seemed to have been given as to how to integrate the development with the rest of the town. People valued existing green spaces and were very positive about the well maintained footpaths and the development of the recreation field.
A number of people felt that a town square would be a valuable addition to the town, providing a focus and accessible meeting place and would also be attractive to visitors. However, others felt this would not be feasible because of the loss of parking spaces.
Others said that they would like to have a town square but were concerned about cost.
There were also a number of comments about more green spaces for young children to play and concern that the playground outside the Memorial Hall is to be closed to allow for additional parking.
There was a lot of support and interest, particularly from children, in more nature friendly planting of hedges and meadow to support wildlife.
Social and Community Facilities
Modbury has a thriving number of social and sporting activities and organisations and there was a lot of positive comment about the benefits of these. An issue for some organisations is that they are so successful that they are running out of space to hold their meetings. There was appreciation of the efforts of MARS in developing sporting facilities.
There were concerns that the school would not be able to cope with increased numbers from the new development. We have asked the school about this and they say that they do have sufficient capacity to accommodate more children.
A number of people said that they valued the range of services provided by the Health Centre. This is a consideration in further housing development as the Health Centre has limited space and could mean that some of the additional services might have to be moved elsewhere.
The Neighbourhood Plan started at a difficult time, just after the Palm Cross development had been finalised and there were a lot of strong feelings both for and against. Many people assumed that the Neighbourhood Plan was connected to the development which was not the case. Because of this, it took time for people to start giving us their views or turning up to events. Over time, this has improved a lot. We have had comments from people living in all areas of the town and a wide range of ages.
The discussions have highlighted strong opinions and some good ideas, especially from the children. We will do our best to represent these views and influence plans in discussion with SHDC and will keep you informed along the way.
Public consultations have been held with a stall at the Modbury May Fair, an open morning at a Modbury town centre venue (June) and an open morning near Brownston (September), specifically for Brownston residents. A school visit took place in June, with support of the head teacher, to seek the views of parents and children, and a meeting took place in August with the local chamber of business and trade. Information and opinions have been collated into an interim report.
Emerging themes have been used to establish topic-specific task groups focussing on the environment, community services and facilities, road safety and transport, housing and town planning, communication, and employment and business. The first meetings of these groups are due to take place in December. Regular updates are given at Parish council meetings and in the Modbury Messenger monthly newsletter. Neighbourhood Plan Group (NPG) meetings are open to all and dates and times are advertised in advance.
In July the Modbury NPG hosted a joint meeting with representatives of other NPGs from South and West Devon to share information and ideas.
We are at the “Building Evidence” stage on the road map. This is one of the longest parts of the process as it takes time and effort to collect information from as many of the community as possible. This is done by holding public consultations, open meetings, use of existing information e.g. Housing Needs Survey, previous Village Design Statement and inviting contributions on this website. We are also happy to talk to any local groups and organisations about their views and concerns about specific topics. Once this has been done, the information will be used to design a questionnaire which will go to every household in Modbury Parish.
This will move us on to the next step which is pulling all this together into a report. This report has to demonstrate that every effort has been made to consult with the community otherwise it will not be accepted by South Hams District Council as part of the Local Plan.
Updates from South Hams District Council on “Our Plan” can be found in the library document section here.