The Ross-on-Wye Neighbourhood Development Plan started six weeks of Public Consultation on Friday, November 9th; the consultation period will therefore end at midnight on Friday 21st December. This us your opportunity to look at and comment on the plans being put forward as suitable and desirable for Ross.

Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs) give communities substantial influence over future development. They give legally enforceable power to local communities and in a national hierarchy they are the third tier below National Policy and (for Herefordshire) the Local Plan of 2011.

The Ross NDP could guide development in the town until 2031-2. However, only local knowledge, with local understanding of challenges and opportunities for Ross and the local area can inform and shape a truly local Plan. The preparation of the NDP has been led by a steering group, with the support of Ross-on-Wye Town Council, but the aim is to engage widely with individuals and groups in Ross to produce a Plan that will properly reflect local aspirations; that is why this consultation is important.

Melvin Reynolds, chair of the steering group said “This Plan is key to shaping the future of Ross-on-Wye but is big and the steering group recognise that could appear daunting. Because it is so important that as many people as possible read it and comment it is worth trying to explain the style and structure of this draft plan.

“First, Ross is a large market town with lots happening and local people raised lots of different issues for the plan to address.

“Secondly, for the plan to gain its full legal status there are a number of things it must contain and some, especially the policies, have to be written in formal planning language. So we’ve come up with what we hope is a useful guide.”

The Introduction (p. 8-23) sets the scene with lots of basic facts and figures. The Vision (p.24-25) describes, hopefully in a very accessible way, what Ross-on-Wye could be like in 2031 if the plan is as successful as hoped.

The really key section is next – the Policies (p.27- 75). For each policy there are detailed objectives, some explanation of the why and what of the policy, then the policy itself. The policies are the most important part of the Neighbourhood Plan because, once the plan is fully agreed, it will then be Herefordshire Council planning officers who must take account of it when deciding if future planning applications satisfy (or not) the policies in the plan. The policies must be right for Ross and also strong enough to prevent inappropriate developments getting through. The Development Strategy and Sites section (p.76-94) is a summary of how the key objectives will be achieved, especially what new developments will happen where.

The last section, starting on page 95, lists an array of practical projects that will be set in motion to support what is in all the earlier sections. How to comment on the Plan – The full text, all supporting information and comment forms are available online at

For those who prefer to read paper copies and comment on paper the Plan, its Appendices and Comment Forms are available at the Ross Town Council offices, the Ross Library and the Larruperz Centre.