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Stafford’s neighbour to start preparing its own Neighbourhood Plan

By Kerry Ashdown | Staffordshire | News | Published:

A parish next to Stafford has become the latest area in the borough to start preparing a blueprint for future development.

A Google Street View Image of the Aston Bank entrance to Doxey

Community leaders in Doxey have asked Stafford Borough Council to allow the parish to be designated as a Neighbourhood Area. The move will enable them to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan, which will set out how residents would like Doxey to take shape in the years to come.

Several parishes in Stafford Borough have already put together their own Neighbourhood Plan, including Gnosall, Eccleshall and Barlaston.

Once formally adopted a Neighbourhood Plan becomes a statutory document which can be used to assist in the decision making process when future planning applications for the area are considered by Stafford Borough Council.

A letter from the parish council to Stafford Borough Council said: “Doxey Parish Council considers that it is appropriate and desirable to designate the whole of the parish as a Neighbourhood Area as this allows the parish council to consider the needs and requirements for the parish as a whole.”

Stafford Borough Council’s cabinet agreed to the designation of Doxey Parish as a Neighbourhood Area at its virtual meeting on Thursday .

But the Neighbourhood Plan process has not run smoothly for everyone.

Stone’s Neighbourhood Plan, which was started more than five years ago, was due to go to a public referendum on May 7 – before the coronavirus pandemic led to the postponement of all national and local polls.

And High Offley’s Neighbourhood Plan was given the thumbs down by an inspector.

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Cabinet member and parish councillor Mike Smith said: “I have no objection to Doxey Parish Council wanting to go down the road of a Neighbourhood Plan but I think it is a strange time to want to do it, when our own Local Plan is so close to changes.

“You well know that we have had an extremely bad experience – four years of wasted work for High Offley Neighbourhood Plan. The inspector more or less threw it out.

“I know a few of the parish councillors of Doxey and I would not like them to spend four years wasting time like I did. I hope they read the report before they go any further.”

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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