Neighbourhood development plans were authorised by the 2011 Localism Act. This enabled parish councils and neighbourhood forums to create their own development plan to set out how their area should develop in the future. The key questions such a plan should answer are:
< How will the area develop in the future?
< How much land should be set aside for new houses, shops and places of employment?
< Where is the best place for development to take place?
< What should new buildings look like?
< What else is needed to provide a good quality of life?
A neighbourhood plan can help prevent the wrong kind of development, and promote a higher quality of building design. Planning inspectors must refer to the neighbourhood plan in cases where developers appeal against a refusal of planning permission. Neighbourhood plans must conform to the strategic objectives of the local plan, which in our case is the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP). Local plans, despite their name, usually cover a wide area and are mainly concerned with identifying sites for housing and commercial development.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan for Martley was completed in co-operation with the neighbouring parish council of Knightwick and Doddenham. It was formally approved by Malvern Hills District Council in 2018, after receiving support in a local referendum. The SWDP is currently being revised, which means that it will be necessary to update the Martley, Knightwick and Doddenham Neighbourhood Plan.