National policy changes see Bakewell neighbourhood plan project shelved after years of work
After more than eight years of painstaking deliberations, the project to create a neighbourhood plan guiding future building development in Bakewell has fallen at the final hurdle.
Bakewell Town Council and its working group have decided to formally withdraw the plan due to changes in the National Planning Policy Framework, which any local plan would have to adhere to.
The plan was submitted for final examination by the Planning Inspectorate in 2020, but in light of the policy changes it was returned to the council in drastically reduced form earlier this summer.
Pat Lunn, chair of the neighbourhood plan group, said: “While it is very disappointing not to have been possible to complete our task, it has been an opportunity to bring forward imaginative and stimulating considerations for the future development of the town.
“There are a number of changes coming in at national level around consent for changing the use of buildings and various landscape aspects, but at the moment they are changing so frequently it is almost like a work in progress.”
She added: “The bottom line is that the neighbourhood plan would not reflect the wishes of the Bakewell community and so we concluded that it would not be appropriate to go forward to a referendum.”
Rather than accept a watered-down version of the plan, or begin the process from scratch, the council has decided to hand over the extensive body of supporting information over to to the Peak District National Park Authority.
The authority is currently consulting with communities and gathering evidence as it prepares its own National Park Local Plan, expected to emerge in draft form by 2023.
Pat said: “It will not have quite the same status as a neighbourhood plan but I don’t think this will mean Bakewell residents have less influence. It’s just another way to ensure their views are included, and safeguarding all the work that was done.”
Mayor of Bakewell Hilary Young added: “The council is most grateful to all who have contributed to the development of this document which, while not formally adopted, can still continue to influence planning policies.”