Walkern Neighbourhood Planning Group (WNPG)
Who are we?
WNPG is an open group of Walkern Parish residents and volunteers working alongside the Walkern Parish Council in response to the opportunity to create a neighbourhood plan.
Why do we exist?
Recent legislation, namely, the Localism Act, requires local Councils to support the formation of neighbourhood plans. These plans are devised at a local level to allow local people to get the right type of development for their community. In most cases we will be expected to create neighbourhood plans which will take into account the local council’s assessment of housing and other development needs in the area including infrastructure demands such as traffic, parking, water, sewage, schools, businesses, environmental etc .
In the case of Walkern, we have been asked to build at least 47 houses within an agreed ‘designated area’ to meet growing housing needs across the East Herts district.
If Walkern residents do not take the opportunity to develop a neighbourhood plan then any residential or commercial development will happen without our input; we will not have a say in what happens; our needs, and or opinions, will not be taken into account when future development, growth and change is imposed.
Why are we developing a Neighbourhood Plan?
Many, if not most, Walkern residents are concerned that indiscriminate building will take place in the future across the Parish. Recent proposals demonstrate that external organisations do not appear to understand the impact on the village of over development in relation to our infrastructure such as traffic, road capacity, school facilitates and general quality of life. Ensuring that our village retains all its rural characteristics whilst creating a community that meets the needs of young and old now and in the future is fundamental to the successful development of our neighbourhood plan.
How are we communicating?
WNPG meet regularly in the Walkern Sports and Community Centre and our aim is to consult with all Walkern Parish residents, in a variety of ways, to ensure we develop a plan that truly meets the majority led needs and wishes of Walkern parish residents.
As at October 2014, WNPG has agreed to develop a questionnaire which will be delivered to all households within the parish to gain the views of residents on current and future household requirements, and to include business, social, transport and population growth needs for Walkern over the next 7-10 years. The survey will be available on line and in hard copy format to ensure the widest possible response.
WNPG are communicating with residents through the Walkern Parish magazine, Walkern.net and we will be attending various group forums, for example, the Youth Club, Walkern History Society, Over 60’s Club, businesses and others, to capture the views and wishes of a wide range of residents. We also update the local notice boards after each meeting to communicate what is happening and what has been agreed.
When will we be gathering our evidence for the plan?
WNPG will be sending out a questionnaire/survey to all households in the Parish and we would urge you to complete this as fully as possible in order you can have your say on how the village grows over the coming years.
Once we have the completed surveys, the results will be analysed and form the basis of the Neighborhood plan which we will submit to East Herts for examination. Part of this process will require East Herts District Council to administer a Walkern Parish referendum relating to adoption of the plan by residents. At this stage we require over 50% agreement (in the form of ‘YES’ votes) from the Parish to ensure our plan can be endorsed and become a legal document.
What can you do?
Keep informed – look at Walkern.net, the Parish Magazine and/or local notice boards.
Please take time to complete the questionnaire as completely as possible– either the hard copy or on-line at Walkern.net
Join the WNPG – all are welcome. At the moment we are a small but active group with a range of skills and expertise. Our remit is to represent the village and ensure your views, opinions and ideas are incorporated into a robust, workable and credible neighbourhood plan.
Below are our main contact points – feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or ideas and we will aim to respond to all you queries and to incorporate all your ideas.
The next step – Village Questionnaire
Soon you will receive a questionnaire that has been put together by the Walkern Neighbourhood Planning Group. This questionnaire forms a vital part of the plan. Without it there will not be one and we need a 51% response rate from the village of completed questionnaires before we can move to the next stage of creating our plan which will then be submitted to East Herts District Council Planning Office.
This questionnaire will be your chance to have your say.
Please look out for your questionnaire and complete it as soon as possible. There will be a drop in box in Walkern Village Stores for completed questionnaires, or you will also have the opportunity to complete it by an on-line link.