This plan is our community’s opportunity to shape and guide development that will take place in our area and make sure that it is appropriate to our needs and aspirations. Keele’s heritage and local environment are its defining assets, and local residents are proud and protective of those features that give the parish its sense of place and identity. With this plan we can have a real say in Keele’s future development – where it goes and how it looks!
Mission: To consult residents and employers within Keele Parish and develop a neighbourhood plan for the future development of Keele Parish that reflects current and future needs.
Vision: Keele’s unique character and heritage is retained and planned development maintains the rural character and economy of the parish
Involving the Community
Making it happen
Creating a delightful place to live, work and learn
Supporting the rural economy
The Neighbourhood Plan has been in ‘hibernation’ for a couple of years because of uncertainty surrounding Newcastle and Stoke’s Joint Local Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan needs to be passed by the local authority and without some idea of their direction of travel with regard to housing, it was impossible for us to proceed with our own housing policy. The JLP has now been abandoned and replaced with a Borough Plan,; an ‘Options’ consultation for this is expected in the Autumn. Meanwhile, we have secured funding from Locality and employed Urban Vision as our consultants. They recommended a simplification and restructuring of our draft plan and a reduction in the number of policies. We have made good progress and are now finalising the policies, including Local Green Space Designations and Special Policy Areas. We have also received funding for help from AECOM in developing design codes for housing which are now complete.
Local Green Space and Special Policy Areas Consultation
The Neighbourhood Plan is proposing to designate two areas within the parish as Local Green Space to offer them extra protection above and that provided by the Green belt. These are the green in front of Hawthorns House and the University Green between Keele Road and University Drive.
We are also seeking to designate the two fields between the village and Keele bypass as Special Policy Areas which will provide similar restrictions to development in these areas, irrespective of their Green belt status. We recognise that the upcoming Borough Plan options consultation is likely to put forward the building of 1000 or so houses on the Old Golf Course site to the north of Keele Village. Were this development to go ahead, it would constitute an urban extension of Newcastle under Lyme which would risk engulfing the estate village of Keele and change its character from rural to suburban. Given the historical and visual importance of the village to both the wider local area and to Keele University, our Neighbourhood Plan will seek to discourage housing development on the fields to the north of the village and to the south of the A525. This will create a ’green gap’ which will help preserve the character of the village.
What are the Criteria?
the sites proposed for LGS have been testing against the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Criteria set out in Paragraph 100, which says that Local Green Space designation should only be used where the green space is:
a) in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves;
b) demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and
c) local in character and is not an extensive tract of land’.
What can I do?
Review the proposed Local Green Spaces and tell us your positive or negative comments. You could give us further examples of how the space is used by the community or its value and importance, alternatively you may suggest why it should not be designated, for example it has limited community value and say why or how. You can send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
What Happens Next?
Keele Parish Council will consider all the responses after the consultation closes on Wednesday 16th June and then make a final list of those to be designated as Local Green Space and Special Policy Areas in the Neighbourhood Plan. For further information visit the link below:
As part of the restart of the Neighbourhood Plan we have redrafted our policy areas which are now:
- Local Employment and Community Facilities
- Design and Heritage
- Countryside and Environment
- Transport and Infrastructure
- Keele University Campus
There has been no change to the scope of the plan but this reorganisation helps simplify its presentation. The draft policies in these areas are nearing completion and can be viewed here:
Options Consultation events:
Our newsletter of December told residents about the policy options we have been developing. We will be holding two drop-in events to find out which of the options you think should be developed into policies. There will also be information on Newcastle/ Stoke’s Joint Local Plan draft preferred options consultation.
Wednesday 24th January 3 to 7 pm at Keele Village Hall
Tuesday 30th November 7 pm at Keele University Students’ Union
Please come along and let us know your thoughts.
At the end of the 2016/17 academic year, a survey of Keele students was conducted in order to feed into the broader neighbourhood plan process. Due to the transient nature of the student population, it was decided that a quantitative rather than qualitative approach would be the best method of establishing what students thought. As you might expect the ages of those who completed the survey were mainly 18-24 with some 25-34.
The first question asked ‘What THREE things do you like most about living in Keele Parish?’
Three most commonly used words were
- A sense of community
When asked ‘What THREE things do you like least about living in Keele Parish?’
Three most common issues were
- Lack of shops
- Poor parking
Most students had no major concerns about the Keele Parish however issues of parking and the quality of public transport were a significant minority of the answers.
When asked ‘What opportunities do you see for Keele Parish the future? What sort of developments would you like to see?’ The major suggestions were:
- Maintaining heritage and green feeling
The single biggest suggestion around how to improve quality of life in Keele was improved public transport. Students consider it to be very important but not very good at all.
Housing Needs Survey:
The final version of our Housing Needs Assessment by AECOM are now available and will provide important evidence to support the development of housing policy. They have been shared with the Borough Planning Department and it is hoped to hold discussions with them in the near future. A copy of the report can be found here (MS Word format):
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me regarding the attached results. I would note that our question on housing assumed that additional houses would be built in the parish and could be seen as a leading. This was discussed in the design phase of the questionnaire and it was decided to include a question on what sort of housing residents would like to see developed as the Neighbourhood Plan exists to guide development and cannot prevent it. Nevertheless some respondents did note they wanted no further houses or only limited development as we anticipated. To remind us all, the lower ceiling for development lies outside our control and sits with the Borough and its developing Joint Local Plan. We can influence what is built and where.
Consultation Event 24th January
The Neighbourhood Plan options event on the 24th was well attended, we will be posting a summary of the comments in the next week. You can see the posters here.
There was a great deal of interest in the Joint Local Plan Preferred Options draft suggestions. The consultation on this is from the 1st February to 1st March. We urge all residents to respond to the document. Once the consultation is live we will link directly to it here but for the moment, here is the link to the JLP page on Newcastle’s website.