Neighbourhood Plan – What we have done so far

Neighbourhood Plan – What we have done so far

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan – Timeline of events  – Timeline

Paddock Wood Town Council applied to the Borough Council for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area covering the whole of Paddock Wood which was approved in February 2014 and was the first step towards preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for Paddock Wood.

At the start of 2015 a steering group was established to oversee the process and preparation of the NP. Feria-Urbanism and Alison Eardley Consulting were appointed to assist in the preparation and development of the first stages.

Things moved swiftly at this point and the first public consultation exercise, organised by Feria-Urbanism and attended by residents of Paddock Wood, was held in March 2016. This was followed in late April by a two-day design forum. In July 2016 the draft interim report was presented to an audience of over 200 residents at the Primary School after which Feria-Urbanism was employed to take the project forward to the next stage. Throughout 2017 draft policies were developed and by January 2018 Feria had completed the second draft of the Neighbourhood Plan. Over the next few months following advice from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council some aspects of the Neighbourhood Plan were redrafted.

By the middle of 2018 it was becoming apparent that the Neighbourhood Plan was going to be affected significantly by the new TWBC draft local plan which proposes 4000 new homes around Paddock Wood. The Steering Group kept up to date with proposals for Paddock Wood but made the decision not to go out for further consultation until the draft local plan had been launched. Following considerable delays this was eventually launched in the summer of 2019.

In October 2019 the Steering Group decided it was time to proceed with the Neighbourhood Plan. It was at this stage we parted company with Feria Urbanism and sought a new consultant. Further delays due to the COVID 19 lockdown resulted but finally in June 2020 on the recommendation of the Steering Group, Paddock Wood Town Council employed Troy Planning and Design to take the Neighbourhood Plan through to completion.

Since then things have moved rapidly and the Neighbourhood Plan is about to consult with the residents of Paddock Wood as to whether the ideas and opinions previously expressed remain relevant.

An information leaflet on the draft Neighbourhood Plan vision and areas of focus for the plan, along with a questionnaire, was circulated to all residents of Paddock Wood during November and December 2020.  The responses have now been analysed by our consultant who was very pleased with the number of replies (relative to similar consultations elsewhere). The results of the consultation are now being used to update existing draft policies and develop new additional areas of focus.

We will them seek further feedback on these before the Neighbourhood Plan is submitted for examination and finally referendum when the people of Paddock Wood will have a chance to vote on whether the Plan should come into force.  If more that 50% of people who turn out to vote are in favour of the Plan it will then be used to inform and determine planning applications.

To keep up to date with what is going on with all aspects of the Neighbourhood Plan you are welcome to join the Steering Group at its meetings.  These are currently being held via Zoom on the third Wednesday of the month at 7.00pm.  Invitations can be obtained via the agenda accessed through our Facebook page or the Town Council website. The Steering Group is very pleased to be moving forward with the project again although it is aware of the challenge of doing so at a time of limited face to face gatherings.

You can also follow and contribute to the Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter feed.  Further information about the Neighbourhood Plan and its draft policies can also be found on the Town Council website https://paddockwood-tc.gov.uk

Meryl Flashman
Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
February 2021