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Neighbourhood Plan Review: Plans made in June 2019

Neighbourhood Plans provide a bespoke planning framework for the local area. There is no set formula for a Neighbourhood Plan so no two plans are alike - although many have similar characteristics and address common themes. This post provides a quick review of Neighbourhood Plans which successfully passed referendum in June 2019 to highlight the policies which make each plan locally specific and unique.
AylshamAylsham is a historic market town and rural parish in Norfolk. The Aylsham Neighbourhood Plan (ANP) addresses a broad range of themes, but the following elements leap out as particularly innovative:

The ANP encourages new developments to create 'dementia friendly communities', ensuring the most vulnerable members of the community are not left behind.

Flood risk and drainage is carefully managed through a detailed policy. Notably the policy requires developers to carry out a Flood Risk Assessment for all new developments - including extensions and areas of hard standing.

Recent posts

Blurred lines: Guest blog for University of Reading

I have written a guest blog post for University of Reading, titled Blurred lines: local and neighbourhood plans and uncertainty in meeting housing needs

Please visit the University of Reading's Neighbourhood Planning site to view the blog post.

In the post I discuss the lack of clarity around the role of Neighbourhood Plans in meeting strategic housing needs.

The University of Reading has developed a strong reputation for research and impact around community engagement in planning, in particular in understanding issues and difficulties surrounding Neighbourhood Planning.

The University of Reading's Neighbourhood Planning site provides a resource for users interested in neighbourhood planning, and is well worth checking out when writing a Neighbourhood Plan. The site includes many of the outputs produced by researchers at Reading led by Professor Gavin Parker and his research associates.

Many thanks to Prof Gavin Parker and colleagues for the opportunity to contribute to their…

Why the Housing Requirement for Neighbourhood Areas should be zero

In May 2019, the government updated its national planning practice guidance on neighbourhood planning. Notably, a number of new paragraphs relating to local planning authorities' duty to set housing requirements for Neighbourhood Areas were introduced.

Whilst the guidance is welcomed, there remains uncertainty about how the housing requirement should be calculated - in particular how Local Plan site allocations should be taken into account in the calculation.

Duty to set housing requirement for Neighbourhood Areas
The idea of setting a housing target for Neighbourhood Areas was first mooted in the government's Housing White Paper for the purpose of helping Neighbourhood Plans to be produced expediently.
The updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) introduced a duty for local planning authorities to set out a housing requirement figure for designated Neighbourhood Areas through their Local Plans:
...strategic policies should also set out a housing requirement for desig…

Updated Neighbourhood Plan Finder

Hundreds of Neighbourhood Plans have passed referendum and are being made across the country. It can therefore be tricky to keep track of which areas have plans in force.

All Things Neighbourhood Planning's Neighbourhood Plan Finder tool can help you quickly and simply locate Neighbourhood Plans.

Select a local authority area from the Neighbourhood Plan Finder to reveal a list of Neighbourhood Plans in force in the area.

The Neighbourhood Plan Finder includes web links to view and download the plan, therefore providing a comprehensive directory of Neighbourhood Plans.

For groups writing Neighbourhood Plans, the Neighbourhood Plan Finder can help you to find other local examples of plans which have completed the process. The Finder will also help applicants and decision-makers to locate Neighbourhood Plans which may affect their proposals.

Try the Neighbourhood Plan Finder now.

Alternatively, view locations with Neighbourhood Plans in force on the interactive map.

New Interactive Map of Neighbourhood Plans

ATNP's Interactive Neighbourhood Plan map is a new tool showing locations with a Neighbourhood Plan in force.

The interactive map is free to use and compatible with desktop and mobile devices. It allows the user to pan and zoom across the country to locate areas with Neighbourhood Plans, Neighbourhood Development Orders & Community Right to Build Orders in place. Each marker represents a different plan, and provides a web link to view or download the plan.

This new map builds upon the Neighbourhood Plan Finder which lists Neighbourhood Plans by local planning authority area.

Try the Interactive Neighbourhood Plan Map now

For details of mapping services offered by All Things Neighbourhood Planning, visit the Maps section.

Appeal rejected due to loss of open space: East Langton Neighbourhood Plan

A recent appeal for 5 dwellings has been rejected by a Planning Inspector, in part, due to conflict with a Neighbourhood Plan - despite a Local Green Space designation having been removed during examination.

The development proposal, for the erection of 5 dwellings and children’s play area with associated vehicular access at land rear of the Hanbury Centre, Stonton Road, Church Langton LE16 7SZ, was initially refused outline planning permission by Harborough District Council. The subsequent appeal was dismissed by a Planning Inspector, see appeal reference: APP/F2415/W/18/3212873.

Relevant to this appeal is the East Langton Neighbourhood Plan (ELNP), which was formally made by Harborough District Council in June 2018.
Impact on open space, sport and recreation In assessing the scheme, the Planning Inspector's main concern was that the development would lead to the loss of an open space used for sports and recreation.

The ELNP seeks to retain the appeal site as an open space, indi…

Is a Neighbourhood Plan right for you?

Whilst Neighbourhood Plans are a powerful tool for shaping how a community will grow, they are not the only option. This article explores the questions you should ask before deciding if a Neighbourhood Plan is right for your area, and discusses some alternative ways to participate in the planning process.
Is a Neighbourhood Plan right for you? Neighbourhood Plans have been around for some time now, and most Parish & Town Councils will at some point have asked themselves whether they should prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. To answer this question, it is necessary to consider whether a Neighbourhood Plan is the right 'tool' for the job - crucially:

What does the community want to achieve, and is a Neighbourhood Plan the best way of delivering this?

You may not know what local people think are the biggest issues affecting their area. It is a good idea to carry out some community engagement exercises to find out what issues are affecting local people and how they would like to se…

Why age matters for Local Plans

Age is just a number, unless you are a Local Plan.

The Local Plan is the principal planning document which sets out strategic and non-strategic planning policies for an area. Planning applications are judged against the Local Plan's policies.
Requirement to keep up-to-dateThe government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) places great importance on keeping plans up-to-date.

The NPPF requires policies in local plans to be reviewed at least once every five years to assess whether they need updating.

Where a Local Plan is more than five years old the NPPF requires the government's Local Housing Need method be used when calculating Five Year Land Supply, rather than the policies of the Local Plan. You can find the latest figures for your area using the Local Housing Need tool.

Similarly, the government's Housing Delivery Test measurement ignores the Local Plan's housing target where a Local Plan is more than five years old, instead relying on household growth f…

Neighbourhood Plan Finder

Hundreds of Neighbourhood Plans have passed referendum and are being made across the country. It can therefore be tricky to keep track of which areas have plans in force.

All Things Neighbourhood Planning's Neighbourhood Plan Finder tool can help you quickly and simply locate Neighbourhood Plans.

Simply select a local authority area from the Neighbourhood Plan Finder to reveal a list of Neighbourhood Areas with made Neighbourhood Plans.

For groups writing Neighbourhood Plans, the Neighbourhood Plan Finder can help you to find other local examples of plans which have completed the process. The Finder will also help applicants and decision-makers to locate Neighbourhood Plans which may affect their proposals.

Try the Neighbourhood Plan Finder now.

Why the Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan failed

News that the Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan was rejected at referendum has spread rapidly across social media and has even been picked up by local and national press - see BBC article.

The story has garnered a lot of attention as it is highly unusual for a Neighbourhood Plan to be rejected. The Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan is only the third Neighbourhood Plan not to be supported by residents.

At the referendum held on 14 March 2019, the Neighbourhood Plan was rejected, albeit by a very slim margin of just 22 votes.
'No' Campaign Prior to the referendum, Labour town councillors led a campaign which encouraged local people to vote against the Neighbourhood Plan. 
Based on the literature shared by the campaign group, opposition to the Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan appears to be pointed at three key issues: Impacts on the town and its infrastructure of the overall scale of growth Middlewich is expected deliverDisagreement with the individual sites identified by the Neighbourhood …

More planning appeal grief for Wingerworth Neighbourhood Plan

In January, I posted about an appeal case in Wingerworth, Derbyshire, in which the Planning Inspector granted planning permission for 180 homes at Wingerworth - see Review of Planning Appeal: The tricky task of planning for housing development - Wingerworth Neighbourhood Plan.

In that case, a Planning Inspector concluded the Local Plan for the area carries limited weight, and that the recently 'made' Wingerworth Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) is 'silent' on housing needs as it makes no allocations for housing.

The Wingerworth Neighbourhood Plan does in fact include several policies on housing development, for example:
Policy W1 defines a settlement development limit around the built area of Wingerworth village, offering in principle support to development within the settlement limit, subject to meeting a range of criteria.Policy W2 restricts development in the countryside (i.e. outside the settlement limit).Policy W3 supports the development of a minimum of 882 dwellings ove…

Housing Delivery Test Checker tool now available

I have created a new tool which shows the 2018 Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results for each local authority area in England.

Try the Housing Delivery Test Checker now - only available at neighbourhood-planning.co.uk

The HDT checker is easy to use (and free), simply choose a local authority area from the drop-down menu to display the HDT results for the area.

In addition to details of the HDT's housing requirement and delivery of new homes, the HDT Checker explains the sanctions which each local authority faces as a result of its HDT measurement result.
Why the Housing Delivery Test matters for Neighbourhood Plans The purpose of the HDT is to hold local authorities to account over the supply of new housing. Where delivery of new housing is poor, sanctions are imposed on the local planning authority - the most severe of which are that the policies in Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans can be rendered out-of-date. 
To read more, check out my article How the Housing Delivery Test can…

Appeal granted in countryside despite Five Year Land Supply - Shinfield Neighbourhood Plan

Through a recent appeal decision, a Planning Inspector has granted outline planning permission for up to 55 dwellings and 'Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace' (SANG) at land at Parklands, east of Basingstoke Road, Spencers Wood, Wokingham.

The decision was issued on 28th February 2019, under appeal reference APP/X0360/W/18/3204133.

The appeal site is located between two villages, Three Mile Cross and Spencers Wood. The scheme proposes two areas of development adjoining each of the villages, separated by an area of open space - a 'SANG'.
Shinfield Neighbourhood Plan The Shinfield Neighbourhood Plan (SNP) was made in February 2017. Policy 1 of the SNP addresses the location of development:

In Shinfield Parish, development within the Development Limits..., will be supported; development adjacent to the Development Limits will only be supported where the benefits of the development outweigh its adverse impacts. 

'Development limits' are a very common planning …