Neighbourhood Plans are prepared by a local community. In our case it would enable Preston to specify our preferences on planning policies and land allocations in the village. The policies contained must be consistent with national and local planning policies and cannot be used to prevent development, but they can set out the community’s concerns, interests and preferences to give parishoners a greater say over local development.
Once completed and approved, a Neighbourhood Plan has statutory effect which the local authority must follow when determining planning policy and planning applications.
Neighbourhood Plans are not compulsory. They were introduced by the Localism Act 2011, and Preston’s would have to be compatible with the emerging NHDC Local Plan 2011 – 2031. A Neighbourhood Plan should have a vision and priorities for at least 15 years. Items included are determined by the needs and wishes of parishoners as discovered through surveys and other evidence gathering.
Neighbourhood Plans are developed according to local need, hence they are all different, and they are influenced by the size of the community. Preston is a very small parish so our Neighbourhood Plan would contain only items which are relevant to us and would be smaller than such plans developed for larger areas or towns.
The list below shows some of the possible content but it would be up to the village to decide what to include. It helps to keep the Plan simple and focused on specific elements. For example:
- Housing: number, design, mix, location
- Transport and rural roads
- Traffic calming
- Support for local businesses: development, connectivity, sustainability, building use
- Footpaths, bridleways and access for visitors
- Community facilities for all age groups in the Parish
- Green spaces and play areas
- Long term growth in the village
What influence does a Neighbourhood Plan have?
Following consultation, an examination and a successful referendum, a neighbourhood plan will become part of the statutory development plan and will be used when determining planning applications.
What is the Neighbourhood Plan and why do we need one?
The Preston Neighbourhood Plan (PNP) will cover the same period as the NHDC Local Plan. That is from now until 2031. This Neighbourhood Plan, if approved in a village referendum, will also set out legally binding policies on how land in and around Preston can be used until 2031.
North Herts District Council (NHDC) Local Plan
Under current local and central government policies, a policy of ‘no development’ in Preston is not an available option. NHDC have identified a target of 21 for new homes in Preston on the NHDC owned field off Castlefield to be built between now and 2031.