[F]ifteen months after undertaking the initial public consultation to find out the views of residents, businesses and visitors to Penrith, Penrith Town Council has published its draft Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) which, when approved, will become part of the development plan for Eden District and will be used to help determine planning applications.
The group who undertook the work included: representatives from environmental groups, the secondary schools, Penrith Chamber of Trade, Penrith Business Improvement District, Churches Together, Cumbria Youth Alliance, Arts groups and Newton Rigg as well as Town Councillors who were supported by advice from a retained Planning Consultant.
Early in the process, the NDP Group decided that sustainability, or meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, should be a theme connecting all the policies. The Policies are summarised
In recognition of climate change and socio-economic change there are policies covering design and how we make new development more energy efficient, less damaging to the environment and more encouraging of healthy lifestyles. In the case of the latter, developments need to be reasonably accessed by walking, cycling, public transport and mobility aids by all age groups and sections of the community.
There are policies covering new housing to make sure these are of high quality and include a mix of homes to help meet the needs of young renters with or without children, first time buyers, middle-aged empty nesters and the ageing population for one and two bedroom properties. The Town Council’s ongoing Housing Needs Survey will help further inform these policies.
Policies have been developed to influence the type of development in our Conservation Areas so that it is high quality and suitable in terms of character and appearance and the community is invited to propose non-designated buildings that are worthy of protection.
Continuing the theme of protecting those things that are essential for a community to thrive, there are policies covering local greenspaces, recreation facilities, community facilities, education and healthcare provision.
In recognition of current traffic management issues affecting the town the Town Council proposes to work with the District and County Councils to identify and implement improvements to traffic flow both in and around the town, pedestrian access, cycle routes and car parking (e.g. park and ride and low cost long term car parking)
Finally, the NDP Group has developed policies to enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre.
The Penrith NDP also includes actions for the Town Council which cannot be translated into planning policies but which can support the policies that have been developed.
This is the final week of Penrith Town Council’s informal consultation on the draft plan to confirm that we have covered all the issues and developed corresponding planning policies and supporting actions where these are applicable. The document can be found online at http://www.penrithtowncouncil.co.uk/neighbourhood-plan/neighbourhood-plan-documentation/ or you can call into the Library or the Town Council’s offices to pick up a copy of the objectives and policies.
This consultation concludes on 31st July following which we will make amendments as appropriate before carrying out a more extensive formal pre-submission consultation during the autumn.
The Town Council wishes to encourage our readers to ‘get involved and help shape the future of Penrith’.