Ellie Gingell of South Northamptonshire Council is a Planner with special responsibility for supporting those creating Neighbourhood Plans within the county. She has attended our Steering Group Meetings and provides advice and support. The notes below were provided by her following a meeting on 20th February 2018 betwen Ellie, the Chair of the Steering Committee and the Parish Clerk.
“Thank you for a positive meeting this morning regarding the Hackleton Neighbourhood Plan. I have sought to try and summarise the main points of conversation, below, to help with your meeting on Monday and as a record you can look back on.
A thorough questionnaire was carried out in 2011. Rather than repeat this stage, I suggest that you use this as an opportunity to ‘report’ on the findings and check that that information is still relevant e.g. nothing has altered. There may be different ways of doing this but you just need to build on it so it doesn’t seem like you’re asking the same questions again. It would be a good opportunity to ‘test’ any preferred options before issuing a draft plan. I will speak with Paul (Housing) to get a copy of a Housing Needs questionnaire and a sample report, ideally ahead of your meeting on Monday. As noted, it would be helpful if this could go out with the Neighbourhood Plan information so people aren’t bombarded with information.
We will look to use a ‘Local Housing Needs’ figure (the traditional definition) that identifies the needs from those that live/have a connection with the area. This approach is most consistent with the policies of the current Core Strategy (R1) and the emerging Local Plan part 2. It will be up to Hackleton Parish/ NHP steering Group to determine how they would like to accommodate this e.g. in one village, all villages, single sites/ multiple sites etc.
As discussed, we would not support your ‘local needs’ being allocated adjoining Northampton and it should be accommodated within/adjoining the village(s).
I recommend assessing all sites that have been promoted to SNC through the ‘Call for Sites’ process. I have a map of these I will print/provide for you. There is guidance on how to undertake an assessment in the Neighbourhood Planning Guide (the final version will be taken before members in March). In addition, you could consider including a question in the consultation that asks if there are other sites not known to SNC due to their size etc. This will give you a good basis from which to assess all sites and make your decision(s).
You can, of course include local criteria- but ensure all sites are assessed against this.
The Planning Portal defines green wedges as follows: “Green wedges comprise the open areas around and between parts of settlements, which maintain the distinction between the countryside and built up areas, prevent the coalescence (merging) of adjacent places and can also provide recreational opportunities.”
Green Wedges should, therefore should be distinct, and each one should perform a specific function. Green Wedges provide an additional layer of ‘restrictive’ planning policy so should be used sparingly to ensure that the approach is consistent with the NPPF and the strategic policies of the Local Plan. I would generally be comfortable with green wedges between settlements e.g. Hackleton and Horton; Hackleton/ Piddington, where there is a clear rationale and basis to keep these settlements separate. It would be helpful if the group could consider their preference/ criteria for identifying green wedges and share this with SNC. In drawing up criteria, it would be helpful to consider boundaries based on permanent features- hedges, roads etc and draw on the Landscape Work prepared for the Part 2 Local Plan and the ‘landscape sensitivity’ assessment carried out to support the Core Strategy (this included Hackleton Parish).
With regard to a wedge between the Preston Deanery and Northampton we would need to consider this carefully as there is quite a distance between the village and NRDA boundary. The hamlet is also open countryside and thus any development proposal is going to need to meet some very rigorous policy tests. It is also worth bearing in mind that any significant development would be a strategic matter for the review of a Core Strategy and so we could also find ourselves in difficult territory trying to address this in the NH Plan. I’m sure this is something we will come back to!
Local Green Spaces:
There is guidance in the NPPF (para 77) and also the Local Green Space form (https://www.southnorthants.gov.uk/downloads/download/257/local-green-space) for the methodology. I tend to find it easier to consider spaces as ‘publically accessible’ or of ‘community value’ e.g. a publically accessible ‘wood’- it may be in private ownership (e.g. the cricket field), but serves an important function to the community. There is a helpful flow chart on page 6 that shows how the spaces can be designated.
As indicated, I think it is helpful for you to have discussions as a group without me present- particularly where you want to debate something openly! However, I am here to help and I’m more than happy to come to meetings where task/details of approaches are being finalised, or if there is a particular issue that we need to work through. Do keep in touch- either via email or telephone.
Neighbourhood Planning Officer
Place and Growth Directorate
South Northamptonshire and Cherwell Council