Copmanthorpe Neighbourhood Plan
David Carr (Chair of Copmanthorpe Parish Council) began by providing some background information on Copmanthorpe; the parish having a population of around 4500 residing in some 1750 households. The designation of the parish as a neighbourhood plan area was approved by City of York Council in January 2014. He described the content of the forthcoming Copmanthorpe Neighbourhood Plan, eg. the role and protection of the Green Belt, heritage and design guidance, community facilities and the provision of new housing and business space. He also explained its relationship with CYC’s emerging draft Local Plan which had been made public in April 2013.
The Local Plan had proposed, for the years 2015 to 2030, the development of some 560 new houses to be built on a swathe of Green Belt land to the west of the village, thereby increasing the size of Copmanthorpe by about a third. This proposal had been opposed by a substantial majority of residents and following a number of public meetings the Parish Council had submitted a letter of objection to CYC together with a petition of 781 signatures opposing development of the Green Belt.
The Parish Council had organised two residents’ surveys as a basis for the Neighbourhood Plan; the first in the Summer of 2013 undertaken with the Methodist Church which was a general community audit seeking residents views on a range of social issues and community provision, as well as CYC’s development proposals. This had attracted 560 responses. The second survey carried out in late 2013 was a more detailed assessment of residents’ views on the amount and location of new housing and business space in Copmanthorpe. This had attracted 610 responses. In both cases these were very high response rates in a village the size of Copmanthorpe.
The survey results showed that most residents felt the amount of new housing should be substantially less than the level proposed in CYC’s Plan. Residents were not against new housing development and accepted the need for additional homes in the village but they were very concerned about the scale and location of new development. They wanted sustainable development; in other words, a smaller overall amount dispersed in a greater number of locations. This would help to retain the character of Copmanthorpe and assist incremental provision of the necessary additional infrastructure.
Copmanthorpe Parish Council is in discussion with City of York Council to see if, and to what extent, the positions in the draft Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan can be reconciled since it would be better to have a mutually acceptable level of development.
All submissions for the Local Plan are to be published online in April, with a formal response estimated to be finalised in the summer. Cllr Steward informed the meeting that the Local Plan Working Group had not yet discussed sites or houses, and was currently behind schedule.
Cllr Gillies said it was imperative that a decision is reached before the local elections in order to prevent it from resting upon National Policy Framework. David stated that the Neighbourhood Plan has to be accessed in light of National Framework Policy.