Why have a Neighbourhood plan?

HACKLETON PARISH COUNCIL

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

 

The Localism Act of 2011 meant that power to make decisions on housing would be devolved so that local communities have a say in their own future.

This meant that Parish Councils (and even smaller groups, in theory) could shape the way they saw their community developing, by conserving the best of what they have and looking forward to the needs of future generations.

The most effective form of devolution is the Neighbourhood Plan. This gives a Parish Council status in law and places it as a partner with its District Council and the government in making decisions about the important issue of housing.

Housing needs are a key feature of Neighbourhood Plans: what kind of homes and how many of them are needed to sustain the community and provide opportunities for young people and the elderly alike.

In consultation with the District Council, the Parish Council can also say where the new homes will be. This can be contentious, but there is no disputing the need for affordable homes in parishes like ours.
Developers and speculators are not as keen to build affordable homes as they are luxury houses. The legal force of a Neighbourhood Plan will give us strength in the challenges that lie ahead.

The infrastructure is also a key part of a Neighbourhood Plan: roads and transport, amenities, heritage and conservation, leisure, recreation and wellbeing, and so on. All will be considered in the formation of the Plan.

Four years ago, this parish did a lot of work for inclusion in South Northants Council’s Local Plan. The data that was produced by us still forms the basis of the data on Hackleton Parish in the Draft Local Plan 2(a). If you would like to view this, send an email to Roy Hawkesford, chair@hackletonparishcouncil.gov.uk, and he will send you the links.

A decision was taken at the time not to proceed with a Neighbourhood Plan which, in many ways, was an opportunity missed, as it would probably have been in place by now.
Nevertheless the Parish Council started the process in April and we now have status as a designated Neighbourhood Area. This area covers the entire parish council boundary and includes Hackleton, Piddington, Horton, Preston Deanery and St George’s Fields (aka, Woootton Fields).

SNC has already agreed to a further 525 houses on Hampton Green (the fictitious golf course, opposite St George’s Fields), of which 300 will be in our parish. The housing that borders on Wootton, therefore, will form a significant part of our Parish.

Roy is chairing the Steering Group that has been established, with members of the Parish Council and the community, from all parts of the parish. We have appointed a very experienced
consultant, Michael Wellock, to drive the process of formulating the Plan. He will help us through what will be a lengthy and demanding process, around two years – if all goes well. SNC have just appointed a very experienced Neighbourhood Planning Officer who will also be supporting and informing the work of the Steering Group.

There will be ample opportunities for you and all parishioners to be involved in the process and to have your voices heard. At the end of the process there will be a referendum. If we get more than
50% in favour, of all of those who voted, the Plan is deemed to be ‘made’.

There will be some contentious issues, mainly around housing – how many, what type, and where will they be built. The parish council is not regressive; it recognises the need for more, appropriate
homes, to keep the villages alive. Sustainability is the key word nowadays, but we wish to conserve the character of our villages, the
landscape, our heritage and history, while at the same time providing opportunities for the young to grow and live here.

We are blessed with a wonderful environment in Hackleton Parish. The Neighbourhood Plan will provide the best means for us, the people who live here, to keep it so, for ourselves and for future
generations.

Roy Hawkesford,
Chairman, Hackleton Parish Council
15th November 2017