It has been some time since we posted news and a deal of water has flowed under the bridge since then! As we note on our home page:
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.
You can see our design codes below:
We are now launching our consultation on our proposed Local Green Spaces and Special Policy areas.
What are the Criteria?
All the sites proposed 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.
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. If you would like to comment on the proposals please email: email@example.com
You can view more details of our proposals for Local Green Space and Special Policy Areas here:
Housing Needs Assessment
Heritage and Character Assessment
Housing:based upon the Housing Needs Assessment, community consultation, the university’s developing master-plan and the developing Joint Local Plan.
Transport:parking and road safety remain major concerns. A close link with the developing university masterplan and a promised holistic review of parking issues in Keele by Staffordshire County Council will be key in developing this policy.
Facilities: facilities such as the pub, St Johns, shop and the village hall are significant assets. The policy will be concerned to ensure their sustainability as well as considering further facilities such as a village green. The University also provides a wide range of facilities which will be considered in policy development
Business:Links with the university and the university’s master plan, the rural economy and supporting SME’s will all form an important part of this policy.
Environment:conserving the character, distinctiveness and heritage of the parish in a rapidly changing world.
We now have our first draft of our policy options documents which set out our aims and objectives and possible policy areas. The Keele Neighbourhood Plan Group will meet to discuss these in the next few week. We are also producing a newsletter setting out the policy options which will be followed by a community consultation event in early December. The first drafts are available to view by clicking the links above.
Please do let us have your thoughts and ideas on the progress so far!
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.
End of Summer Update: September 2017
Policy Development Training
A training session for those involved in policy development w was held on Monday evening. It was lead by our consultant John Knight and was very helpful in defining what could and could not be included in policy development. All five groups were represented: Housing, Facilities, Transport, Environment and Business. The groups are now developing options with over the next month or so and will meet informally. If you would like to get involved in policy development, please get in touch:
Grant News and Plans for May and June
Application for Technical Assistance and Grant
I have just finished a phone conference with AECOM with regard to our next technical assistance package: a heritage and character assessment. Everything went very well and it looks like we will receive the help. Meanwhile, the reapplication for the grant is completed and a decision pending. Unfortunately it was necessary to pay back the surplus from our 2016/17 grant and reapply for 2017/18. As part of the process, I developed an updated timeline which I have posted in the appropriate section of this website
Volunteers Needed for Village Hall
Keele Village Hall is entirely run by volunteers. In the last 4 years use of the Hall has increased and Community Social events have been organised in response to popular request. The Hall also fulfils a unique function as a venue for parties, funeral wakes etc, as a meeting place for yoga, Pilates and singing classes and for village societies and meetings.
Some of the current committee will be leaving Keele over the next couple of years. We therefore urgently need new members if the Hall is to remain open. No need for any particular skills other than a bit of common sense and a willingness to muck in occasionally.
Please come to the AGM at the Village Hall on Tuesday 2nd May at 7.30 pm or contact Bernard Besly (07947 186753), Graham Bibby (07595 946812) or Ian Atherton (0775 692 6991).
Update 8th March: Questionnaire returns looking good, delay in SHMA
Our questionnaires are now just about all in but we are still open for late returns. Percentage returns are very healthy. The Student Questionnaire is now ready for distribution and will be mailed to all resident students in the next few days. Less good news is that Newcastle’s new Strategic Housing Market Assessment has been further delayed and will not now be available until the end of June. This means that our Housing Needs assessment will not be available until then as it needs the projections from the new SHMA. We knew it was going to be a long journey and we have plenty to be getting on with!
Questionnaire: deadline 28th February 2017
You should now have received a copy of your questionnaire. It is brief, three sides and comes with an explanatory letter and return envelope. The questionnaire was designed around your responses at he consultation events, has open questions so that you can really tell us what you think and has been delivered by your neighbourhood representative to whom it should be returned.
It will be crucial is helping us draft policies for the Neighbourhood Plan. Additional copies are available should households wish to reflect a variety of opinions or you can print your own (below)
Community Consultation Events
We are making progress with the Neighbourhood Plan. We have heard from Locality, following our designation and they are now carrying forward our approved request for technical assistance. In the first case this will be a housing needs survey. We have also put together a draft questionnaire which I will circulate to you once a few changes have been made. Our rational has been to keep it short and provide lots of opportunity for open responses rather than creating a long tick list. Please do let me know if you think it needs further changes. We have divided up the Parish into smaller areas and are asking local residents to act as Neighborhood Coordinators. The Coordinators will work with their neighbours with regard to the questionnaire. It is a flexible role which will include delivery and return of the questionnaires but also discussing the contents of the questionnaire with their neighbours and helping them fill it in where appropriate. The SU are working on a different questionnaire for students and we are writing to local businesses asking them how they would like to be consulted. If you would like to volunteer to be a Neighbourhood Coordinator and have not yet done so, please drop us a line. We are particularly short of volunteers on Campus.
We are holding a series of Open Consultation Events to launch the questionnaire. I will post the following on Keele Parish Website and leaflets will be coming through doors but please tell your neighbours about these events. They are ‘drop in’ events and we are hoping they will be really well attended. There will be an opportunity for visitors to leave their comments about what they would like to see in Keele in the future
Your chance to influence the future of Keele
Come and tell us what you want for Keele. Find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan and how we will be consulting you.
Tues 8th Nov 6.00pm-8.00pm at The Village Hall 2016
Sunday 13th Nov 2.00pm-5.00pm at The Hawthorns’ Management Centre 2016
Tues 15th Nov 3.00pm-8.00pm at The Students’ Union 2016
We have been successful with our application to have Keele Parish designated as a Neighbourhood Plan area! The application was passed by NuLBC on the 3rd of October 2016.
The Keele Neighbourhood Plan Group had it’s second meeting last night. We have now appointed Mr John Knight as our consultant for the initial stages of the plan and he gave a presentation to the group on Monday 20th June. The group has undertaken to seek designation for the entire parish as the plan area and has completed the initial stages of applying for funding. Outcomes from this meeting will be posted in due course. In the meantime, we need as many willing helpers as possible. This does not necessarily mean being involved in the steering group. If you can contribute to community consultation sessions, publicity, website, documentation or if you would just like to let us know how you feel about the development of Keele Parish, get in touch!
The group will be consulting with the Borough Council and University in the near future to decide on the exact relationship between the Universities planning and that of the Neighbourhood.
We have submitted our application for the whole of Keele Parish to be designated as the Neighbourhood Plan Area to Newcastle Borough Council. It followed a successful meeting between the University, Newcastle and the Parish Council. Despite the complexities of our Parish, it was the belief of all concerned that this was the best approach and that the advantages of working together far exceeded any difficulties that might arise. We anticipate the application will be successful and we should have designated status within the next few months.
We have also submitted our bids for Technical Support and Grant funding to Locality who are the funding body. In recognition of the complexities of Keele Parish we have been accepted as eligible for technical support, which in the first instance is likely to be a housing needs survey but help may also be available for ecological and design assessments. Our grant application has also been received and awaits us finalising some of the costings in the application.
We are realising that the challenges of developing a Neighbourhood Plan are such that our initial ambition to have the plan in draft by next summer may not be achieved. Nevertheless, it is increasingly clear that developing a plan for Keele will be critical. Recent legal decisions have made clear that Greenbelt Status cannot be used to refuse development where a local authority lacks a 5 year housing supply plan. Newcastle under Lyme is in this position and Keele in the past has been benefitted by being washed over by the Greenbelt.
We are now developing an initial vison statement and making plans for further public consultation. Our publicity campaign during the referendum at the Village Hall was very successful and we now have over 50 email addresses of people who are interested in the plan. We still need more participants and particularly people willing to take part in the Steering Group.
You can contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our next meeting will be in September, date to be announced
We have been successful in gaining a grant of £7049 from Locality to progress our plan and have been awarded technical assistance which is very unusual for a parish with our demographic. We are very grateful to the help of our consultant John Knight in writing the bid! Consultation closed on the 5th September for the designation and we are expecting a decision any day now. The Plan Group met on the 27th of September for a training session on community engagement and a plan has now been drawn up.. A draft vision statement has been written and posted on this site. We would welcome any feedback on the statement which will evolve along with community consultation. We also have a draft questionnaire which we have also posted. This was trialled at St John’s Autumn Fair and is a work in progress. It is intended that we will use local volunteers to discuss the questions with their neighbours and record responses rather than just posting the questionnaires through the door. Our next meeting will be 12th October at 19:00 in Keele Village Hall.
Comments from our consultation events confirmed our vision statement and helped us hone the questionnaire. We were successful in our bid for additional technical assistance from Locality; in the first instance this is taking the form of a housing Needs Survey which will be completed in March. We now have a Facebook page and a Neighbourhood Plan website which is in the process of being populated.
The questionnaire has been delivered to all residences in Keele with the exception of student accommodation on campus. The questionnaire has been delivered by Neighbourhood Representatives who can supply additional copies of the questionnaire, support and answer queries. The questionnaire needs to be completed and returned to the Neighbourhood Representatives by the end of February. A copy of the questionnaire and supporting materials, including a question and answer sheet are available here.
Students will be polled using an electronic questionnaire which will be designed with their needs in mind which will be completed during March. All businesses within the plan area have been contacted by mail and asked to feedback on their needs. Further business consultation will be carried out in the spring. The Universities Master Plan will form part of the Neighbourhood Plan and an initial meeting has taken place between the Neighbourhood Plan Group and the University which confirmed both strands of planning had compatible goals.
All Keele Neighbourhood Plan Group meetings are open for new people to attend and observe or join the group. Our next meeting is on Tuesday 21st of February at Keele Village