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Parish Plan

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The following information has been provided by Cambridgeshire Branch of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), 32 Main Street, Littleport, ELY CB6 1PJ Tel: 01353 860850 Fax: 01353 862040 Website:


Why Parish Plans?

The Rural White Paper printed in November 2000, outlines in Chapter 12 that “Parish and Town Plans” are one of the measures to be brought in to help to create “a vibrant countryside” for the future.

As a result of the Rural White Paper funding was allocated to assist 1,000 communities nationally to help communities “map and safeguard their most valued features and influence future development plans”

It is envisaged that a “Parish Plan” will “help all rural communities… to indicate how they would like their town or village to develop, to identify key facilities and services, to set out the problems that need to be tackled and demonstrate how its distinctive character and features can be preserved”

A partnership has now been established with ACRE, County Councils and County Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) to support the Parish plans process and to link closely with the aims of the LSPs and in doing so help communities to align their action plans within planning guidelines thus enabling them to be more readily accepted.

What is a Parish Plan?

Parish Plans are “holistic” or comprehensive in scope. They should set out a vision for how the community wants to develop and identify the action needed to achieve it.

It gives everyone a chance to say what they think about the social, economic and environmental issues affecting their community.

It should compliment and help deliver local planning policies and frameworks and link with Local Strategic Partnerships but they cannot override adopted planning policy.

It should influence local housing and land management strategies.

It should contribute to the way local services are managed and delivered.

It should identify which features and local characteristics people value.

It should identify local problems and opportunities.

It should spell out how residents want the Community to develop in the future.

It prepares a plan of action to achieve the vision.

The Parish Plan Process

1.    Invite Cambridgeshire ACRE to meet with the Parish Council to explain the benefits of a Parish Plan to the community.

o Invite Cambridgeshire ACRE to give a presentation to an open Parish Council meeting.

o Parish Council to make the decision to undertake a Parish Plan

2.    Inform who may be the key stakeholders and interested parties.

        o Community Safety Partnership

        o County and District Councillors

        o County and District Planning Department

        o Local Member of Parliament

        o Local Primary Care Trust (via practice manager)

        o Cambridgeshire Association of Local Councils (CALC)

3.    Inform the whole community of the intention to produce a Parish Plan.

        o Public meeting

        o Leaflet drop to all households

        o Village newsletter

4.    Form a Steering Group of representatives from different sections of the community including the Parish Council.

5.    Start to plan the process.  ACRE can help with the following:

        o Estimated project costs

        o Explore sources of funding and help in kind

        o Study earlier plans for roll over of issues

        o Consult related plans including district strategies

        o Consult ACRE about plan production and the experience of other parishes

6.    Consult with the wider community on issues to be included in the Parish Plan

        o Village Clubs

        o Church

        o Local School

        o Police and Community Safety Partnership

        o Local Primary Care Trust Practice Managers

        o Parish Council

        o Businesses

7.    Design and undertake the consultation

        o Organise issues identified into themes, ie transport, youth etc

        o Undertake chosen consultation method: questionnaire, vision day, workshops, fact finding event

        o Analyse results

        o Research wider issues arising from the consultations

        o Prepare a summary report and distribute to key stakeholder and community

8.    Develop an Action Plan for the Parish Plan

        o Invite community to an action planning event

        o Formally present to the community the summary report

        o Set up working parties (for each theme) for development of a draft Action Plan for the issues arising from the consultation

        o Send Cambridgeshire ACRE the draft Action Plan

        o Order actions according to categories laid out in the Action Plan template

9.    Publication of Parish Plan

        o The Parish Council formally adopts the Parish Plan and includes it as an annual agenda item

        o Copies of the Plan are made available to the community o Copies of the Parish Plan are sent to stakeholders

        o Five copies of the Parish Plan are sent to Cambs ACRE plus an electronic copy

        o Cambridgeshire ACRE reports local issues and actions to LSP Board

        o Cambridgeshire ACRE provides feedback to Parish Plan Steering Committee on consultation with LSP

10    Set up Community Action Planning Committee

        o Implement Parish Council actions from the Plan

        o Implement actions to be achieved within the community, by the community, from the Plan

       o Make applications for the funding of projects as necessary

        o Cambridgeshire ACRE to continue to provide feedback from LSP Boards

        o Report to the community on progress/achievements

        o Review Action Plans in 5 years time

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