Mrs Liz Tucker – Parish Council Coordinator
Mr Barry Hall – Parish Council Member
David McAndrew
Mike & Lynn Entwistle
John & Frances Crippen
Paul & Sandra Charles
Alan Tucker

Jon Argent
Jim Wilson

Also Present

7 members of the public.

The meeting commenced at 6pm

1. Introduction by Parish Council Coordinator.
Liz welcomed everyone to the meeting and summarised the reason for creating the new group explaining that at least one member of the Parish Council was needed on the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) group. She expressed her thanks to the members of the original NDP group for all their hard work. The members of the original group had been invited to join the new working group but none wished to do so.

The background of what a NDP is and its position in the local development plan was explained. The NDP will be a policy document detailing what sort of development the parishioners want in the community and will highlight the differing aspects of the entire parish. It was pointed out that we are one of only a few Herefordshire parishes that does not contain intensive stock units – in the questionnaire that was conducted by the original group most people had stated that they preferred traditional farming methods.

The Terms of Reference, which all members of the Working Group have signed, will be posted on the new Almeley Parish website, together with other NDP communications.

Working Group meetings will be held bi-monthly and all will be open to the public to observe. There will be an opportunity for public comments towards the end of each meeting.

2. Announcement of Group Members.
Liz introduced the members of the group explaining how they represent the village and hamlets within the Parish. A list of members will be posted on the website.

3. & 4. Election of Chairman and Other Roles.
As the Parish Clerk and an accountancy professional, Marion Clark had been approached and accepted the role of Finance Officer.

For the role of Secretary, Sandra Charles was proposed by Liz Tucker, seconded by Alan Tucker and voted in unanimously.

For the role of Chairman, Liz Tucker was proposed by John Crippin, seconded by David McAndrew and voted in unanimously.

5.0 Finance.
It was explained that £6500 had been awarded in grants for the creation on an NDP.

Some monies have been spent to date, leaving a balance of around £5000. The NDP has to be presented to the overseeing team at Hereford council who scrutinise not just the final document but the process so fully receipted accounts have to be presented. All invoices must be relevant to NDP work so the secretary and finance officer will be meeting to check that all invoices match the compliance terms before the precise figure can be confirmed. The money available has been provided to create a Neighbourhood Development Plan and get it through the stages of consultation with the Parish residents, submission to both the Parish Council and Herefordshire Council followed by a Parish Referendum.

Paul had researched what funding other parishes had received towards their NDPs and discovered that Stoke Prior had received £5137 from the National Lottery. This source will be investigated.

6.0 Employment of Planning Expert.
All members of the Group had been asked to look at the NDPs for other Herefordshire parishes to see how they had produced their planning policies, these included Eardisley, Breinton and Humber, Ford & Stoke Prior (HFSP). All were considered to have been professionally prepared and they looked more like planning policies than parish reports. Herefordshire Council have advised that we use a planning expert and it was noted that every one of the plans reviewed had been produced using a planning expert.

These parish councils have all been contacted, as have the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) to obtain a list of reliable planning consultants. All of the councils mentioned utilised the services of Data Orchard. Another firm was recommended but upon contact with them they were unable to take on board more clients and recommended Data Orchard. It is understood that Credenhill are using the services of a planning consultancy called Kirkwells so we will investigate what input they can offer to our NDP.

An exploratory meeting has been arranged with Data Orchard to ascertain how they might support establishment of the Almeley NDP. In John’s former local government role he has worked closely with Bill from Data Orchard and he has given a positive reference for Bill’s credibility in planning support.

7.0 Review of Current Status and Resulting Plan of Action.
All Group members have studied the existing Draft NDP and the following comments were made:
• The current draft is clearly based on the exceptional Almeley Parish Plan of 2004 and the NDP questionnaire but the consensus was the document is too Almeley village focussed
• The hamlets may have differing needs to the village of Almeley for example the fact that a major road (the A480) runs through Woonton needs to be dealt with in the plan
• Some hamlets are dispersed or remote and other admired NDPs list each hamlet separately, highlighting their specific development needs.
• More county and national planning policy reference is needed to make the NDP policies as watertight as possible so it is viewed by planners and the council as a solid planning policy document.

The Almeley NDP will become a planning policy for Almeley Parish until 2031 and therefore must be produced with reference to both the Herefordshire Core Strategy and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Herefordshire Council have published a detailed list of what issues a good NDP should address, this will be circulated to Group members. A Terms of Reference for the production of the plan will be required, this point will be raised with the planning consultants.

Geographical areas of the various settlements that make up the parish need to be clearly defined, these areas were described in Appendix 1 of the Almeley Plan (2004). It was suggested that the Local Planning Office at Herefordshire Council should be able to confirm the boundaries.

The plan should represent who we are and reflect the ethos of the parish including quality of life. It should detail the parish infrastructure, acknowledge the amenities available and celebrate the coexistence of village, hamlet and the more dispersed farming residents. A list of environmental features should be included and landscape views recognised.

It was agreed that the outcomes of the APP and previous NDP questionnaire (2014/15) were the main point of reference reflecting the views of the community and these views need to be compared with Parish Council and residents comments regarding development during this process.

The Group agreed that the HFSP NDP should be the benchmark for the Almeley NDP and HFSP have given Almeley permission to use their plan as a basis for our own. Dave has produced an outline for an Almeley plan based on this model. Lynn provided samples of the formats of the Core Strategy and NPPF and several of the recently adopted NDPs produced by various parishes.

It was agreed that the residents of the parish need to be informed about the purpose of the NDP in order for them to make a judgement on the plan in the referendum. To support this we must continue to hold regular public meetings and inform residents of the progress through as many resources as possible (eg website, facebook, noticeboard, offa tree news). Documentary evidence and transparency is required as part of the compliance process and failure to do could mean the removal of our NDP grant funding.

The precise quota of housing units the parish is expected to accommodate by 2031 needs to be ascertained. Currently the number is 33 but investigations need to be done to confirm this figure is accurate. It was pointed out this quota runs from 2011 so any new residences in the Parish from that time can be included. It is estimated at 11 meaning a third have already been constructed. A tally needs to be included in the plan and updated regularly.
The Parish Council could also charge a levy on new development.

8.0 Public Session.
Members of the public expressed their opinions on what they had heard.
• A couple commented that we need to sustain and grow the community for future generations, that should include appropriate housing. Paul commented that the plan was not antidevelopment but appropriate development that benefited the existing community.
• A member was pleased to have been given the opportunity to help shape the future of the parish
• Another commented that it had been interesting listening to the range of topics discussed and requested that a summary should be sent out to the community. (There are plans to publish information on the parish website and Facebook, and have copies of notes available in The Bells, the church and on Parish Noticeboards)
• A question was raised about timescales. The first step is presentation to Hereford Council scrutiny group, then Parish Council and if both approve a public referendum is called. The planning expert will be able to advice on realistic time scales but all agreed there was a matter of urgency to complete.
• A member of the public commented on the lack of available information on the NDP since the plan commenced. It was pointed out that transparency was part of compliance so full disclosure w


The meeting ended at 8pm

Signed Chairman …………………………. Date ……………………………….

ould be a key part of the process. (In future information will always be on the new Almeley Parish website : almeleypc.org)

9.0 Arrangements of Next Public Meeting and Sub-group sessions.
Information about the next meeting will be posted online, on Facebook and in the Offa Tree News.

The Chairman thanked the Group for their work so far and thanked the members of the public for attending the meeting.