EK will ‘escape major housing development’ but needs a plan says expert.

East Keswick is relatively safe from housing development but the village leaves itself vulnerable without a Neighbourhood Development Plan. That’s the view of David Gluck, Director of Ruralis when he addressed the Parish Assembly at the Village Hall on April 17th.

The new Communities Act which recently came into force gave local communities, such as Parish Councils, the opportunity to develop a neighbourhood plan which, if properly created, carries legal weight when it comes to future development.

East Keswick Parish Council intends to consult the village about the creation of such a plan over the next eight weeks. A public meeting is likely to be held and a steering group created to develop a plan which will outline the aims and aspirations of the community over the next decade.

To start the ball rolling, Councillor Andrew Batty distributed a draft document to the meeting which had been written on the basis that it’s easier for most people to red line something existing than to start from scratch. A future steering group might take this document as its basis and add and delete from it as it sees fit. Terms of reference would be added and a final draft would be subject to a village referendum to give it the endorsement of the village as evidence of community consultation.

Ex-councillor Janet Thornton said the NDP was all about empowering the communities it served.

Housing threats

David Gluck – himself a Parish Councillor at Aberford – said East Keswick is designated a rural area and quite secure, but Bardsey was at risk of potentially significant housing development. Sites being considered in that village include First Avenue (six properties), Woodacre Green (up to 35), Woodacre Lane (46 and 149 properties) and Keswick Lane (former church site might take 8/10 properties).

It is not suggested that all these will go ahead in Bardsey and the likely outcome is only a fraction but every village which doesn’t instigate a neighbourhood development plan leaves itself vulnerable to its wishes not being heard or respected.