Corsham Town Council has established a Steering Group to oversee the process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan. The purpose of the Steering Group is to design and oversee a community-led process that will result in the preparation of a draft Neighbourhood Plan which identifies how Corsham should develop as a sustainable community. The Corsham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group have set out a clear structure to move the production of the Neighbourhood Plan forward. The plan will cover these seven key themes;
It is the aspiartion of everyone to live in homes that meet their needs and those of their families and that are of good design, in the right location with access to local services such as shops, schools and medical facilities.
This section of the Neighbourhood Plan aims to meet these aspirations within our local community and to deliver a sustainable and appropriate level and type of housing, including affordable housing, in a timely manner, whilst being sensitive to the defining characteristics of our distinctive local area. This housing should also encourage the creation of a balanced and diverse population and support economic growth.
Recognising that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, the economic dimension of developement is clearly a significant element of planning a sustainable community.
Corsham has a large existing employment base for a town of its size and future development should seek to ensure the town remains an important employment location for residents of the town and neighbouring communities. As well as securing sustainable growth of established and emerging employment sectors, the plan aims to deliver an enhanced retail environment, growth of the Town's tourism economy, and improved services and facilities for local people and visitors. There is a recognition that a thriving economy requires good transport infrastructure and strong links with neighbouring business communities in Bath, Chippenham and beyond.
Corsham is situated in a highly strategic location in close proximity to a number of key population centres and transport links, and these connections are key to its economic vitality. The Corsham Neighbourhood Plan Area itself is a mixture of urban and rural areas, presenting key challenges in terms of maintaining access to services and amenities for the resident population and visitors. The transport section of the plan will consider all aspects of how people move around, within, and to and from the Corsham Neighbourhood Plan Area. It will include active (walking and cycling) and passive (powered) forms of transport, how transport infrastructure can be incorporated and improved within the existing built environment as well as how future built development will change demands upon existing infrastructure and facilitate improvements in the transport network.
Operational issues such as the frequency or route of bus services, or of a train service to Corsham will be addressed elsewhere.
The Heritage section of this Plan has an important role to play in establishing a positive framework for sustainable development. Corsham Parish has a wealth of heritage assets, an attractive rural setting and a rich historic landscape. It has some excellent examples of re-use and refurbishment of historic buildings, monuments and green spaces.
The neighbourhood planning process has stimulted the community to explore what gives the town and surrounding villages and settlements a distinctive sense of place; to find new ways to present and celebrate Corsham's heritage; and to reflect on what goes into making an attractive environment and high quality design of buildings and open space.
A volunteer led Character Area Assessment project has encouraged local residents in each of the 22 designated 'character areas' to identify what they value (both old and new) about their area and its setting, and to pick out features and views they want to see protected or enhanced.
Work on devloping the Heritage Evidence Base has empowered the local community to scrutinise the makle up of Corsham's heritage, and to consider how best to conserve and enhance key aspects such as the historic settlement pattern, the designated Conservation Areas, and other important 'clusters' of heritage assets.
The Neighbourhood Plan offers a valuable opportunity to develop pro-ative policies to help conserve and enhance the built and natural environment and to help ensure that the legacy of the past can continue to provide social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits for the benefit of many more generations to come.
The environment is about the places in which we live, work and visit and play. This Neighbourhood Plan aims to achieve a high level of quality of both the natural and built environment. The Environment section of this Plan focuses predominently on the broad areas of ecology (flora and fauna and their inter-relationships) and the effects of climate change (including resilience, energy and flooding). Enabling people to experience the natural environment is an important aspect of the Plan's objectives.
This section of the Plan aims to deliver on a set of ideals focused on ensuring that the benefits of Corsham as a location for devlopment are not exploited to the detriment of its natural setting. Any development should make a positive contribution to addressing global climate issues.
Health and Wellbeing is sbout things personal to ourselves. If they are maximised, we feel good. We can face down problems and can derive the very most out of everything we encounter. Achieving the best that these two can offer is a key aspect of the Neighbourhood Plan's objectives.
This section of the Neighbourhood Plan aims to deliver a deep and personal sense of self-fulfilment, both in what we feel we are putting into our local community and in what we feel we are taking from it.
It also seeks to ensure that the physical, mental and emotional health aspects of our lives are maintained at their peak levels of 'fitness' by providing an environment in which they can thrive.
Lifelong Learning seeks to instruct, teach, train and enlighten people of all ages and abilities to help them achieve their full potential. Our town needs to provide all the facilities that will allow our residents access to education, the arts and sporting venues of the highest standard. We also need the right transport links in place so that residents in our outlying villages are not deprived of these facilities.
Our places of learning, nursery, preschool, primary and secondary schools plus further and higher education establishments need to have the space to meet all the needs of residents based on future housing developments and projected birth rates. To enhance learning, our pupils at all levels of education, require good quality sustainable buildings that are designed to meet demand for the foreseeable future and are sited to keep travel times to a minimum. Our one secondary school is an Academy which needs to maintain strong links with the Town Council so that through partnership it is aware of the needs of local employers. For the foreseeable future these will be the MOD and Digital Corsham.
Our Campus, Pound Arts Centre, sporting clubs and local and national associations already ensure that a variety of lifelong learning is available within our town. They help maintain the community structure of Corsham and also promote the health and wellbeing of our residents.
Our Neighbourhood Plan needs to ensure that these partnerships and facilities are grown and maintained so that they remain accessible to everyone.