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If you would like to be informed as and when we upate the latest news for the Neighbourhood Plan, please drop me an email giving me your name, address and email address and I will let you know.

March 2024

Workshop Results

Full details on the outcome of our Workshop can be found here

February 2024


On 22nd February we will be holding a Workshop in which we will be presenting the latest work we have been undertaking in producing two important documents: The Housing Needs Assessment and The Design Guidance and Codes. These documents will create an essential input to the Neighbourhood Plan.

The Workshop will provide an opportunity for representatives of the village to make an input to a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis which will inform the Neighbourhood Plan. This activity is the next phase in the process of consultation with Orwell residents designed to ensure the resultant plan properly represents the perspective we all have.

Invitations will be issued very shortly through the Orwell email, but if you do not receive it, please let us know and we will provide you with an invitation. As this is a Workshop, we can only accommodate a limited number of participants to be sure that we have a meaningful outcome.

We will be joined by Natalie Blaken and Rachel Hogger, external consultants commissioned by Cambridgeshire ACRE, who will facilitate the Workshop.

A preliminary agenda for the meeting can be accessed here.

December 2023

Bulletin Article, December 2023

The collection of data to help develop the Neighbourhood Plan has been making very good progress in the last few months. We have been allocated sufficient funding to allow us to commission the production of two very important documents which provide evidence to support the development of the plan. These reports, the Housing Needs Assessment and The Design Guidance and Codes, have been formulated by a professional consultancy group, AECOM, on behalf of Locality, who actively support local community organisations such as ours. They provide us with expert consultancy, analysis and interpretation of policies affecting future planning considerations for our village. The Steering Group is evaluating these draft documents and preparing comments for AECOM to inform the next draft which we hope to be available by the end of the year.

The Housing Needs Assessment, as the name suggests, analyses trends and provides estimates of the demands, constraints and requirements for housing in the future, in the context of the village’s current housing stock and general trends in the wider area. It looks at the character of Orwell, the people who currently live here, the nature of existing dwellings, and suggests the type and size of housing that Orwell residents might need or expect in the future. It also looks at how Orwell matches the planning policies for the various types of housing in the community, from affordable housing suitable for first time buyers, to the larger detached properties of those moving up the housing ladder. From all this it provides indications of how our housing stock might expect to develop and grow in the future.

Some weeks back, Steven and Emma accompanied two representatives of AECOM to tour the village looking at and characterising the type and look of the housing we have today. Further to this visit, a proposal has been drawn up to show homes in the village grouped to show a number of areas which are defined by their character, their age and development history. From this we can be clear what sort of housing we have now and we can use this information to draw up a local policy which will help to ensure that future developments can be in keeping with the existing housing stock.

Both of these documents will provide evidence to support the local policies which will be developed as part of the Neighbourhood Plan, but before writing up these policies, we will be engaging in our next consultation to seek feedback and comments from everyone in Orwell on these proposals. Both documents are long and will take some time to go through in detail, so we intend to produce summaries to share with you so you don’t have to read them in full.

We will also be inviting you to an open meeting in the Village Hall in the New Year, when we will present summaries of these documents and seek your feedback. This activity will be vitally important as the essential feature of the Neighbourhood Plan is that it reflects the views of the residents and it is therefore important that all residents are consulted on the plan with the intention of ensuring the plan belongs to everyone in the village.

We are working on preparing comments on the first drafts of these documents and we will feed them back to AECOM so they can produce the second drafts which we will share with you as and when available. We urge you to keep in touch with progress on the Neighbourhood plan to date through this web site.

August 2023

Progress has been held up to some extent by resource shortages and delays in announcement of the next round of grants to support the plan preparation.

The Steering Group is short of resources and we would very much welcome further volunteer effort to help us with our work. It can be in any form, either as a member of the Steering Group or as a volunteer to support specific activities. We are conscious that some people have so far volunteered and are probably wondering when we will engage with them to help us, but resource limitations in the Steering Group have made this challenging.

We have received very helpful advice from Cambridgeshire ACRE through their consultant Natalie Blaken who works for Nupremis Cambridge Ltd. She has done work with us in the past and this has proved to be very helpful. She has specifically helped us with deciding our next steps.

We have two programmes of work we have to undertake: a Housing Needs Assessment and a Design Code. Natalie has advised us to focus for now on the Design Code and we will commission a short programme of work from her to support us.

The Design Code defines the specific features of property design throughout the village to ensure that we maintain the characteristics of the adjacent properties. This will vary through the village given the historical development of properties.

We have the funds to undertake this work which will be undertaken by AECOM. However, we have to make an initial input to create a starting point for their work. We will be seeking to engage with selected members of the community to assist with this work. We will report back in due course with progress.

April 2023

The work being undertaken on our behalf by Cambridgeshire ACRE has now completed. The outcome of this work is:

  1. The completion of the Demographic, Social and Economic Review of Orwell, which can be downloaded here.
  2. The formulation of a Community Engagement Strategy, which will inform the processes and objectives we will be working towards in seeking input from all members of the community and all appropriate stakeholders. This document is very important in enabling us to be sure how we access the information we need to create a plan that is as relevant to Orwell as possible by adopting a pro-active process for engaging with the community.
  3. The creation of a Planning Policy Context Analysis which ensures we formulate a plan which is in line with the relevant planning policies which will apply to Orwell. This document can be downloaded here. The associated maps:

This work was funded by a grant which we applied for through Locality who also provide guidance on how we acquire technical support for our plan. This is essential to us as we need to access expertise specific to the planning process and the approach to developing the Neighbourhood Plan.

The Steering Group would like to give our thanks to Cambridgeshire ACRE and to the Parish Council for their support in this programme of work.

Next Steps

In the next few months we will be moving on to produce a Housing Needs Assessment and an associated Design Code. These are important adjuncts to the Plan and will be formulated by outside consultants with input from the Steering Group on behalf of the community.


Prior to formulating the Housing Needs Assessment and Design Code we plan to organise our next consultation with the community to inform the next stages of the development of the Plan. This will take the form of a workshop in which we will invite village residents to share with us those issues of concern that they may have relevant to the Neighbourhood Plan. We will hold the meeting in the Village Hall in June and all Orwell residents will be welcome to attend. We will be looking to ensure wider involvement with all sections of the community and age groups. If possible, please disseminate the information. We will be issuing invitations through the Orwell email and on this web site in due course.

We have already received offers of support from various people within the community for which we are grateful and we will be in touch with those who have put their names forward in due course. We are still keen to find further volunteers to help us with the Steering Group's work. Let us know if you wish to be involved.

March 2023

An early input from Cambridgeshire ACRE regarding the work they are undertaking for us at this time is a Demographic, Social and Economic Review, which is currently in draft form. Once completed we will make the finished document available, but meanwhile here is a brief summary of its contents.





February 2023

We are pleased to announce that our application for support funding for our first major programme of work to be commissioned outside the Steering Group has been successful and we are now commissioning Cambridgeshire ACRE to commence the work. Specifically they will be undertaking 3 major activities:

This work should be completed by the end of March and we will report further on the outcome.

December 2022

The steering group has received a very useful introduction to the process of formulating a neighbourhood plan from Cambridge ACRE. It included showing how we engage with the village, how we build the necessary information we will require in the plan and the approach to engaging outside help. We are able to apply for a grant to cover the costs of using outside consulting help as we cannot expect to have all the specialised skills we will require to do all the work ourselves.

Cambridgeshire ACRE has provided a proposal for an initial phase of work planned to be completed by the end of March 2023. We can apply for a grant for this work, but the funds have to be used by the end of March, hence the timescales of this first programme of work. Primarily, this will focus on an engagement strategy for our next consultation, plus producing some of the initial documents we require.