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Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan

The Dartmouth Neighbourhood Plan was launched this week at a public forum in the Flavel centre. It was chaired by Cllr Tony Fyson. who has professional planning experience, and he was assisted in answering questions from an audience of 50 members of the public by Graham Swiss the Strategic Planning Officer at South Hams Council. District Councillor Hilary Bastone was present and also
the mayor, Cllr Rob Lyon.

It was estimated the process will take 2 years and the published plan would remain in force until 2031. A steering group of 15 members was forming under the qualifying body of the Town Council, but this would contain a maximum of just 4 town councillors. It would liaise with strategic planners at Follaton House who can provide various forms of support. A public questionnaire was being developed following which general themes would be defined and topic groups set up to deal with detailed issues.

South Hams Council will insist on cooperation across the parish border with Stoke Fleming whose own Neighbourhood Plan includes the West Dart Housing Scheme. This has however been approved under existing
planning legislation and cannot be superseded. Changes in government policy will need to be included as they arise, such as the recent affordable housing provision in developments of less than 10 dwellings
The plan will include all issues which need planning consent and it must not focus on blocking developments. Cllr Fyson noted the difficulties in Dartmouth with a lack of development land. General issues like car parking can be treated as a consideration but it is not for the plan to resolve these. Also, County Council issues such as roads, river and harbour issues relating to DHNA and government issues such as BRNC are excluded.

The plan must conform to the South Hams Council planning policies, it is subject to ongoing scrutiny by an independent examiner and prior to submission for approval it will be subject to a yes/no referendum of Dartmouth residents on the electoral roll. It will then have statutory weight relating to all future planning applications

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