Welcome to the Reach Neighbourhood Plan Project web page. 

In January 2019 our village decided to create a Neighbourhood Plan (NP).  This site will, I hope, explain:

  1. Why we are creating an NP
  2. How we will go about doing it and the progress we have made
  3. What an NP will and won’t provide
  4. Who is involved and how you can get involved.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan (NP)?

An NP will enable Reach villagers to shape and influence planning strategy in our neighbourhood over the next couple of decades. Our NP will cover the traditional parish of Reach (click here to download the map).  

An NP cannot run contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework or East Cambridgeshire District Council’s Local Plan but, within these constraints, our NP can be as broad or as narrow as we, as a village, want it to be. As well as having a say about housing development, our NP could, for example, capture how we want to improve nature conservation, recreation, traffic management and building design in the village. The choices are yours - your views will be vital in deciding the shape of the Reach NP and it can only be implemented if you vote for it.

What are the benefits of an NP?

Once an NP has been approved by village referendum (apologies for using the term in current circumstances but properly conducted referendums can be helpful!) it will have the same legal force as a Local Plan and carry statutory weight.  It must be used by ECDC when determining planning applications in the village.

In development applications for housing, an NP would continue to hold even where a Local Plan was out of date or under challenge in the courts provided the NP (i) has been adopted within two years and (ii) contains policies and allocations to meet its identified housing requirement.

An NP would inform potential developers and those opposed to individual developments. The appraisal process should be more consistent, rigorous and less emotive.

The NP would produce a more detailed and up-to-date view for national and local government as to how we want our community to develop.

An NP should enable the village to secure resources that might not otherwise be available to it.  A clear objective in the NP of, say, creating a car-free cycle/equestrian/pedestrian route to Burwell would be more likely to secure funding than a free-standing and diffuse aspiration.

What won’t the Plan deliver?

An NP won’t stop all housing development in Reach. Instead it should ensure that future development is better tuned to village needs, uses materials that fit in with the fabric of the village and occurs at locations considered most suitable by the community.

In itself an NP doesn’t guarantee funding for health, leisure, travel or educational facilities in the village. However a strong vote in favour of retaining or enhancing existing resources would be a powerful lobbying tool with local Government, charities and so forth.

How will we deliver an NP?

We have set up a Project Group to lead the work. Its terms of reference and current membership are available on this website. Agendas and minutes of meeting will be published here too.

In coming weeks the Group will be seeking your views on the things that matter to you as residents of the village. We will be using a variety of means of doing this including public forums, walkabouts, a stall at the fair, questionnaires and social media. However please don’t wait for us to come to you. If you have views about what needs protecting and what needs changing in the village or want to get involved in work  to produce an NP let us know now

Ultimately an NP for Reach will only succeed if it reflects what the majority of villagers want, feel comfortable with and crucially, are prepared to vote for.


Agenda for Next Meeting on Wednesday 22nd May 2019

Nick Acklam
Chair, Reach Neighbourhood Plan Project Group