The Rye Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (RNPSG) has established some working groups and some sub groups of the RNPSG, to consider the detail of the plan.
It is an important principle of the Localism Act , that Neighbourhood Plans must be constructed “bottom up” with wide community involvement. The advice is that we should make full use of existing groups based in Rye, to provide their expertise, skills and local knowledge for the core of these working groups. Each working group should draw on earlier studies where applicable.
By involving existing groups duplication of effort and nugatory meetings should be avoided.
The RNPSG has agreed that Councillors on the Group (names below alongside the groups) should provide steerage and mentoring for each of the Working Groups, allowing the latter to elect their own chairs. In addition the Councillors would provide the vital linkage between the Working Groups and the RNPSG.
The Steering Group has provided some guidance documents (including a framework and terms of reference) and should focus on:
– Housing (RNPSG – Cllr Berni Fiddimore [also Member Rye Planning Committee)) Background for this is the updated Rother DC SHLAA. The work is being retained by the Steering Group. The Group must also consider the latest government policy such as the New Homes Bonus HERE and policy to encourage self build HERE. Numbers have been worked up to enable the Plan to meet the Rother DC target of 160 homes to 2028, in a pattern HERE.
– Community infrastructure. (RNPSG Mentor – Cllr Heidi Foster) The earlier Rye Study provides background for this work. Work is progressing. There is a broad agenda covering community centres and community facilities. One key task will be to review all the community centres in Rye and see how they fit together to cater for future needs. Some infrastructure improvements may be funded by S106 agreements as here.
– Transport/traffic (RNPSG Mentor – Cllr John Breeds) This work will be handled by a RNP transport working group but will stay closely in touch with the work of the existing Rye Town Council’s Traffic Forum, chaired by Cllr Granville Bantick which has its own agenda. The work of the latter can be described broadly as focused onto current management issues, whereas the former will look strategically and for the future at the transport systems, with a view to developing policy for improvements. An initial list of issues is here.
– Business and Enterprise (RNPSG Mentor – Cllr Mike Eve) The Steering Group is working to involve the Chamber of Commerce. The work should include Town Centre matters, micro business development and property development. The Steering Group is looking to set up a meeting of estate agents, architects and developers/land owners to examine development issues. There is an interesting article here by David Richardson, associate at Michelmores, who explains the role businesses can play in Neighbourhood Planning
– Environment: (RNPSG Mentor – Cllr Nigel Jennings). Existing groups Transition Rye , Rother Environmental Group and REACT are contributing to consultation on issues such as energy, sustainability, flood risks, energy, carbon footprint, green spaces including allotments, and Conservation. On 2 November 2013 an Energy Day was held, which involved public consultation. Evidence from this event is reflected on the evidence page of this website. There are projects such as the community garden in Love Lane. Flood risks are being reviewed following the extreme wet weather and high water starting on 6 December.
However, none of this is prescriptive and other voluntary groups may form to consider particular issues, or provide advice on specific subjects. One idea is to have area “champions” for parts of the designated planning area. Citizens to the south of Rye favour this involvement.
In addition there are specific functions on which RNPSG members (Co-opting other volunteers as necessary) are leading the work, to provide background material such as:
– Vision and Objectives (RNPSG Chair and Mayor – Cllr Berni Fiddimore and RNPSG Vice Chair, Col Anthony Kimber). Objectives and options have been considered and circulated in the form of a survey in July 2014.
– Key Evidence (RNPSG Members – Prof Burton Rosner and Canon Richard Orchard). An evidence base is being developed, which will be include records of conversations and consultations. From these the emerging findings have been drafted. Work now focuses on numbers: dwellings, mix of housing and forecast student population.
– Budget – (RNPSG Vice Chair – Col Anthony Kimber and Richard Farhall, Town Clerk) including links with Locality and RTPI Planning Aid. The budget is £20K, for which grants have been received from Planning Aid (£5k) and (£12k) Rye Town Council. Expenditure to date has been minimal and focused onto facilities rental and mapping support.
– Communication and Engagement strategy (RNPSG Vice Chair – Col Anthony Kimber). A strategy has been developed and is posted on a separate page. This website, a Facebook page and twitter account are all means to aid communication. There are regular articles in the Rye Observer.
– Community asset register of land with specific community value or interest (RNPSG Member – Andy Stuart) Members are considering whether there are any sites of community special interest.
– Rye Town Council Linkage and Advice (Town Clerk – Richard Farhall), who also provides advice to the Steering Group.
As new documents are agreed then they will be found through links on this page. There is already a series of agreed papers, including a project plan, terms of reference for the working groups, a summary of relevant policy and so on.
The RNPSG is also keen to involve young people who live, work or study in Rye. The Rye Scouts have been asked and are planning to do something as part of their community badge. Fruitful meetings have been held with the Principals of Rye College and School Studio to explore possible involvement by young people. Joint activities have been planned and are specified in the minutes of Steering Group meetings.