Can we have an online version of the Neighbourhood Plan Survey?

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The steering group liked the idea of having both paper and online versions of the survey questionnaires. However, this would have increased the analysis cost and taken longer to prepare. Since not everyone wants to use online forms, or indeed the internet, we decided to just use the paper version.

Isn’t Producing a Neighbourhood Plan going to be too late to stop the Castlefield Development?

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A Neighbourhood Plan cannot stop a development like Castlefield if it is allowed in the Local Plan or required by National Policy. However, no planning application has yet been made on Castlefield. When an application is made the usual mechanisms are available for raising our concerns.

See the FAQ Does a Neighbourhood Plan let us block Local Plans and Planning Applications?

Does a Neighbourhood Plan let us block Local Plans and Planning Applications?

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Taking Local Plans and Planning Applications separately –

Local Plans: A Neighbourhood Plan lets us shape how the Local Plan is implemented in our neighbourhood area, but it cannot be used to block development set out in the Local Plan. A Neighbourhood Plan once made can be used to challenge development which is not part of a local plan or national policy. However, until a Local Plan is adopted we can object to any part of it for which we can demonstrate one or more material planning considerations.

Planning Applications: Where a local plan or national policy specify some form of development or other changes within our neighbourhood our Neighbourhood Plan strengthens our legal position to

  • challenge anything which is not in accordance with our plan
  • impose conditions on the nature of the development  and how the work is carried out.

All the other mechanisms for objecting to planning applications on the basis of material planning considerations are still in effect.

What are Material Planning Considerations?: There is a one page summary of Material Planning Considerations on the The Royal Town Planning Institute’s website at:

Can the Neighbourhood Plan protect green spaces?

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The Green Space policy protects the green spaces in the village and ensures that green spaces are included within larger developments. The Character Assessment of the Parish is important to describe the area and its character in order to protect it in future. History, topography, biodiversity, wild life, green spaces and links to footpaths are included in this document.

What steps are required to formulate a Neighbourhood Plan?

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  • The formation of a community based steering group, instigated by the Parish Council.
  • A Designated Area approved by NHDC.
  • A Community Survey
  • A Character Assessment
  • Working parties, organised by the Steering Group

Once all the information and evidence has been collected, the aims and objectives are defined and the plan is written and rewritten until a final one is reached and approved by the Parish Council

The Regulation 14 Consultation is the next step, a statutory process which involves a 6 week consultation within the community and a list of consultees provided by the Government.

The background documents go to NHDC, then the Plan is examined to see if it meets legislation. If it is agreed, NHDC have to accept it and it goes to a community referendum. Once it is agreed, NHDC must apply it to any proposed development.

What is the cost of producing the plan?

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There is a grant of £9000 available until 3 March 2018 and the Parish Council can also be approached to contribute. NHDC has a grant of £20,000 from Central Government to support Neighbourhood Planning.

Is there a wriggle out clause for developers in relation to affordable housing?

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A percentage of housing development must be affordable, but it must also be realistic. If the development is not viable for developers because the percentage of affordable housing is too high, the developer can pay compensation and provide another benefit to the community. It is advisable to consult developers during the process of producing the Neighbourhood Plan, not to stop development but to get it as close as possible to what is required in the village. The community needs to be informed of what is possible.

What is the statutory effect of the Neighbourhood Plan?

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Once the Neighbourhood Plan is in place, it is the responsibility of the Parish Council to utilise it for planning applications and to ensure that the Local Authority and developers act accordingly. The Parish Council need to monitor this and act if necessary.

In a small village like Preston do we need to take on the work, time, trouble and expense of producing a Neighbourhood Plan?

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The next draft of the Local Plan will be available for consultation in September 2016 and the housing numbers which NHDC has to provide have been revised upwards. Preston has been allocated a 24% increase up to 2031.It is expected that houses will be allocated to the NHDC field. It is anticipated that the NHDC field and the field near the Primary School will be included within the village boundary. To have some degree of control and influence we need to have a Neighbourhood Plan but we need to remember that it is not just about housing, it covers other important aspects, for example history and archaeology.

Could the work be broken down more to share the load?

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Yes, by utilising volunteers who have specific knowledge, time and expertise to help the Steering Group.  It was noted that information and examples from other parishes could be used and that help from NHDC is now readily available.

A view was expressed that the Parish Council should be supported in this initiative and that everyone should contribute to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Preston so that change can take place in a logical way.