Local architect, Peter Sandover has been appointed as a consultant to prepare Salcombe’s neighbourhood plan for community referendum next year.

Over the last two years, the Salcombe Neighbourhood Development Planning Group has carried out community surveys on land use, employment, the economy, housing need and provision. The next stage of the process is to draft policies based on the evidence and to then publicise the draft plan, invite further representations from the community and hold a public meeting. The draft plan is expected to be available before the end of this year.

Andy Barsby, a spokesman for SNDPG said: “Peter has been appointed to help us get to the finishing line. He has extensive experience of engaging with communities and delivering community plans, including recently for Ogwell, Barne Barton and Stoke Fleming, to name just a few. It has taken us some time to get to this point but we would also like to remind the community that we want and need their input to ensure these policies reflect their views. We have had a good response to our surveys to date and we encourage everyone to be involved as the process continues.

“Once the group is happy that we have a workable set of policies that represent the majority view, the plan will then be submitted to the local planning authority,” Mr Barsby continued. “They check that the plan complies with all legislation and then publicise the plan again and invite further representations for a minimum six week period. The final stages are an independent examination followed by a formal referendum of locally registered voters in the parish. Given the complexity and nature of the regulatory environment around neighbourhood planning, we do not expect the plan will be ready for a referendum vote until 2018."

Subject to approval at referendum, the plan will be “brought into force” and gain statutory status alongside the Joint Local Plan. Following this, all planning applications in the parish of Salcombe must then take due account of policies detailed in the plan.

Neighbourhood planning gives local communities an opportunity to choose where they want to see new homes, business premises or other local facilities developed in their neighbourhood area. They can also have a say on what those developments should look like (the ’built environment’), their ‘affordability’, as well as seek infrastructure improvements (e.g. ’sustainable transport’ solutions) in support of those developments. Communities may also identify local ‘heritage assets’ that they wish to see protected from future development and take account of the ’natural environment’.

Peter Sandover also sits as a member of the South Devon Coastal Action Group and is a founder member of the South Devon Coastal Renewable Energy Network. He is a member of Salcombe Yacht Club.