Read the revised Neighbourhood Plan

On Thursday night, Richard Eastham of the Consultants Feria-Ubanism, presented their approach to the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan. The link below goes direct to their website and that Presentation. Unfortunately, without Richard’s commentary, it is not particularly meaningful.

http://www.feria-urbanism.eu/neighbourhood-planning/4581838413

 This is the Draft Revised Plan;    119_Q_140923_Revised-Plan

This is the introductory note to the revised Plan:

The plan has been revised in September 2014 and a draft is attached. This is still a “work in progress” and more needs to be done to refine the plan. The main changes made to the draft presented for Reg. 14 consultation earlier this year are as follows:

  • The amount of background and scene-setting text in the early sections has been reduced; the consultation history will be moved into the Consultation Statement.
  • A new section on “urban analysis” has been added as this assessment was previously absent. A better understanding of urban form is important as it will give a greater steer to how the individual sites should be developed. There now needs to be greater reference to how the redevelopment of each of the sites (sites 1 through to 12) should respond to this urban analysis.
  • A new “context” section combines constraints and opportunities into one section under the headings of “People, Places and Waterways” – this section will be illustrated with specific photos to explain the context more clearly.
  • The creek-wide policy section has been reordered to put heritage, design, community and business first four as these are the main areas of focus for the plan.
  • New design text and policy has been written as this was rather weak in the initial draft, with new DQ4 and DQ5 added. The policy code has changed to DQ for “Design Quality” – more positive than “Design Parameters” as previously.
  • The previous two options for Ordnance Wharf has been combined into a single policy reflecting common ground between the two previous A and B options – this seems to be the best approach as it reduces the policy to a set of shared objectives / common ground. Options are not suitable for adoption.
  • There has been a general editing and rewording of all the site-specific polices to remove the sense of prescription and instead shift it towards guidance. Previous version talked about “proposals” which is inappropriate for a neighbourhood plan. The plan should provide policy and guidance and the planning application process deals with proposals. New text places emphasis on the planning application process being an important stage to determine the appropriateness of uses, form, detail etc.
  • The plan needs a conclusion section to be added. This will need to deal with how the polices will be applied through the planning application process – again, to push more detailed consideration down the process.
  • Undesignated Heritage Assets – what is, what isn’t and why – will need to be dealt with in the plan in a much more direct way, with emphasis on the methodology used to make these designations.
  • There will be a general reformatting of the document layout to introduce more photographs and make the document more “visual” and therefore more engaging. The creek has a strong visual identity and the plan should celebrate this more.

Other comments

  • The existing policy text was very clearly written and in that respect is excellent. However, on the site specific policy it needs to become less specific as regard detailed designs provide guidance, not prescription.
  • The plan has not placed enough emphasis on understanding the current qualities and characteristics of the overall creek area. This has started to be rectified through the new urban analysis section. Without this “glue”, the series of site-specific policies risk making the plan feel somewhat fragmented and a no more than a collection of individual sites without any strong relationships between one another.
  • Why is the plan not dealing with the Morrison’s site? This development is real blight on the creek, with big, blank walls facing the water. The front door is on the wrong side. No matter how much good work goes into the Purifier and Ordnance Wharf redevelopments, unless this big, blank box is identified for change, the area will lack overlooking and activity. At the least, the neighbourhood plan should set out how the site should be redeveloped (i.e. activities facing the water) even if this is a longer term aspiration.
  • Designation of local green spaces appears absent yet there are numerous green spaces within the plan boundary that could benefit from such designation.
  • The introduction of diagrams and drawings to explain the design principles for each site will be explored. The more complex sites (such as BMMW, Swan Quay, Standard Quay and the collection of associated sites, e.g. oil and coach depot) will benefit most from this. The diagrams will need to set out views, edges, landmarks and so on make it clear how the various sites should be developed in a planning/design guidance sense, but not in a prescriptive sense.

    Richard Eastham

    Feria Urbanism | September 2014

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