As a result of questions asked at the Drop-In Sessions, we have put together the following FAQs …
Why do we need a Neigbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced as part of the Localism Act 2011 to allow local people to have more “say” in development in their area. In 2016, Preston residents voted to have a Neighbourhood Plan. The Steering Group has produced the Neighbourhood Plan in consultation with residents and NHDC to ensure that it matches local and National planning laws, as well as including the views of residents. The final version is the result of the various consultations and the modifications requested by the independent examiner. NHDC Cabinet agreed in December 2019 that the Neighbourhood Plan could go to referendum.
Why should we vote?
Everyone is encouraged to vote because if the Neighbourhood Plan is made, its policies will become part of local planning law until 2031.
How can we vote?
Voting will take place in the village hall from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 5 March.
Voting papers have been sent to everyone on the Electoral Register and to those who have recently registered to vote.
Do I need to vote?
Over 90% of you took part in shaping our Neighbourhood Plan. It is based upon what residents said in the questionnaires back in 2017 and through the consultations at each subsequent stage of writing the plan. This is the last chance to Have Your Say.
What is the Referendum about?
The Referendum is the means of finding out whether the residents of Preston would like the Neighbourhood Plan to be made and its policies to be taken account of by planning officers when considering planning applications for Preston.
There will be ONE question on the ballot paper:
Do you want North Hertfordshire District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Preston to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?
If over 50% of those voting answer Yes, the Neighbourhood Plan will be made, and will become part of local planning law until the year, 2031.
How does the Plan affect Preston?
If the Neighbourhood Plan is made, its policies will be taken into account in every planning application for the parish. The Policies have been designed to ensure that any development is in keeping with both the village as a whole and the Conservation Area. Environmental issues are included to retain the rural character of the village. Policies aim to preserve and enhance local distinctiveness.
How does the Plan affect Castlefield?
The Neighbourhood Plan affects Castlefield because any planning application for development must adhere to the policies of the Neighbourhood Plan and the emerging NHDC Local Plan.
The Housing and Development, Environment and Heritage and Transport policies are particularly relevant to any proposals for development on Castlefield. They provide criteria which must be taken into account by any developer. Without the policies of the Neighbourhood Plan, developers will have more flexibility for their proposals.
How will the Plan be used?
The Neighbourhood Plan will be used by planning officers at North Hertfordshire District Council to help them to decide on planning applications in the neighbourhood area. The neighbourhood area is the Parish of Preston.
What should I read in the Plan?
If you haven’t time to read the whole plan, the policies are the most important aspects. These can be found on pages 27 to 55. Each policy is highlighted in its own box to make it easy to find. It is these policies which will be taken into account by planning officers if the Neighbourhood Plan is made.
There is also additional and background information included in each section which helps to explain the background to the Policies often based on the results from the Questionnaire.