Wellington Heath Neighbourhood Development Plan 2018

The Wellington Heath Neighbourhood Development Plan [WHNDP] was adopted on the 18th of October 2018.   It now forms part of the overall larger Development Plan for Herefordshire

The final adopted NDP can be downloaded here:  WHNDPfinal-v14.04.pdf

All the official documents (including the final adopted NDP above) can be referenced and downloaded from the following Herefordshire Council web page here.

The WH boundary map shows the geographical area that this NDP covers – please click on the map image below to view in greater detail:

A Brief history of the various stages of this NDP’s three year journey from 2015 to its final adoption in 2018 – “The Saga”

Wellington Heath Parish Council (WHPC) first applied to create a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) in November 2014. Having confirmed their intention, the WHPC called a parish public meeting early in 2015 to inform parishioners and ask for a mandate to proceed. Parish Councillors and a representative from the Herefordshire Council led the meeting where there was an overwhelming vote to go ahead, and offers of help, noting experience/skills were received.

Two Councillors formed a Project Planning Group (PPG), together with a past chair of the WHPC and a retired local government executive. They examined objectives, systems, and funding. Roles in a larger “working group” were proposed; each member to have a particular responsibility for a sub group such as landscape and environment, transport, business & tourism, local history, utilities, settlement boundary, housing & design, budgetary control, landowner liaison, publicity and communication, grants, etc.

The Working Group (WG) was formed by calling on volunteers from the initial public meeting. Their experience included commerce, sales and marketing, local government, research and analytical skills, IT, teaching, medicine, and management.

The first meeting of the WG was held in March 2015, and once fully functioning the PPG was wound up. The WG reported to the WHPC at each council meeting.

Very early in the process other parishes in the locality were contacted to obtain information and comments on their experiences and consultants used for their NDPs. Two sets of consultants were appointed early in the process; one to oversee the process, and the other to conduct a landscape sensitivity and capability assessment.

The process was almost entirely funded through grants. Some expenses were incurred and refunded, but all WG members gave their time and incidental expenses freely. The final cost to the parish was only £274 which equates to approx. 65p per parishioner.

A parish survey was developed in conjunction with the consultants and resulted in a 74% response, mainly due to hand delivering and collecting. A NDP website was created, and a bulletin keeping parishioners updated was hand delivered with the quarterly parish newsletter to every house. The Community News pages in the local newspaper were used when appropriate. Two public consultations were held, each one looking to inform and receive feedback on specific issues. The three dimensional map of the parish, produced for the first public consultation, is now displayed on the foyer of the Memorial Hall.

Working Group meetings were often long, and occasionally fractious. After 45 meetings, over three and a half years, thousands of emails, and thousands of hours work the final WG meeting was held in August 2018. It was an arduous three and a half years. It took time and dedication, but was, however, a hugely rewarding operation, and one which the WG members can feel proud, particularly as the final plan got a compliment from the official examiner!

The referendum to support or reject the plan was held in September 2018 with a 39% turnout and 92% voted to ask “Herefordshire Council to use the plan for Wellington Heath to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area.” On the 11th October the Wellington Heath NDP was formally adopted and now forms part of the statuary development plan for Herefordshire.

The link (above) to the Herefordshire County Council web page shows all the NDP documentation in date order.

The NDP is now protecting the parish and in particular the village against inappropriate planning applications.

 Thanks to Peter Constantine for writing the above brief history (edited by David Williams  – WHPC)

Links to further information:

The Vision and Objectives favoured by a large majority of parishioners were adopted and are the basis of the NDP’s policies.  [These are shown in the NDP -please refer to pages 15 & 16 of the NDP]. You can download the extract here.

The Wellington Heath village Policies Map July 2018 defines the Settlement Boundary of Wellington Heath village and geographically reflects what has been achieved by the NDP and can be downloaded separately here.  [This also shown within the NDP itself -please refer to page 20 of the NDP].