BERKSWELL and Balsall Common are joining forces to set out a vision for the future.
The parishes are producing a joint Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) to establish community-led guidelines for developments, improvement and changes to the villages in the coming years.
The Balsall and Berkswell NDP will lay out the two villages’ shared vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, or allocation of key sites for development.
Following their inaugural meeting, the NDP Steering Group – which includes members of parish councils and residents associations in both villages – is urging local residents to come forward and have their say over the plans.
But as well as views, the steering group is also calling for volunteers.
Liz Macdonald, Volunteer Co-ordinator of the Steering Group, said: “We need volunteers to help develop the plan.
“You can be any age – we know that there may be some 6th Formers, Young Farmers, college or University Students looking for some useful experience.
“There may also be some retired planners, solicitors, barristers, journalists, and others who could help out.”
Following its establishment, the NDP will be subject to examination and referendum by Solihull Council – allowing it to form part of the Solihull Local Development Plan.
Describing it as a ‘logical and essential’ move, Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Managed Growth, Coun Ian Courts, welcomed the news of the collaborative Balsall and Berkswell NDP.
He added: “Solihull MBC is committed to getting local people engaged in the planning and development of their areas and supports those communities that wish to bring forward a neighbourhood plan.
“As part of the help and advice the Council gives to communities it has worked with both Berkswell and Balsall Common Parish Councils in developing their ideas to date.
“Neighbourhood Plans enable local communities to provide for local needs, such as affordable housing, and to protect sites for key local facilities, such as a shop or important open space.”
The Balsall and Berkswell NDP are looking for people who have:
- IT and website skills to develop a Balsall and Berkswell NDP website and social media content.
- Project Management skills to oversee the project
- Marketing skills so we reach out to get maximum coverage and engagement.
- Planning skills or anyone interested in becoming a planner – to help develop relevant policies and keep members consistent with National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012 and the Solihull Local Plan.
Anyone interested in getting involved is encouraged to contact Liz Macdonald via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.