Steering Group Chairman’s Report to the Parish Council September 2018

Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan

Steering Group Update


During the last month, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has met on three occasions.

On July 23rd we met with our consultant, Michael Wellock, to outline the findings from the Open Day event on June 2nd and to discuss the way forward. The two main tasks ahead are to conduct a Housing Needs Assessment and, following that, a Call for Sites Assessment.

Our application to have a (free) HNA conducted by Locality, the government sponsored organisation, has been accepted, and the work has already begun. We were pleased to learn that we will be consulted in this process; previously it was a case of waiting for the result, without any consultation. It will be useful to us to learn how it is carried out.

The Call for Sites exercise will follow logically from the HNA. This task will be challenging, but we have guidelines from SNC’s document on the subject. We could also apply to Locality for them to conduct the task. This has to be done with full consultation in order to demonstrate that we have conducted an objective assessment. If we fail to do this, speculative developers would be able to challenge our decisions.

On July 30th the Steering Group met to consider the sites from 2014 that were included in the presentation on June 2nd. This was a preliminary exercise to the task itself, which will be conducted when the results of the HNA are known. In theory, any site can be considered, but the rigorous process will involve consultation with landowners, developers and the community. In the meantime it is possible that some exploration of the availability of potential sites will be carried out. Infill remains the preferred option, but opportunities for that are becoming ever more limited.

This does not mean that there will be no work on the Plan while the above is carried out. There are several other parts of the Plan that are important, particularly to do with wildlife, important buildings, open spaces, design, the linking of footpaths to ensure access to all parts of the countryside, and so on. We have started to check out sources that will help us to progress. The hiatus in the housing issue will afford us the time to develop these aspects of the Plan.

I had a meeting with Ellie Gingell, SNC Senior Planning Officer (Neighbourhood Plans) on August 7th to talk through the issues around housing and other aspects of the development of the Plan. This was a very supportive and informative meeting which confirmed that – according to the requirements of the new National Planning Policy Framework – we were on the right track.

With regard to Local Government Reorganisation, we believe we should complete the Plan before any potential impact from LGR comes about. This could be very significant, given the news today that the decision has been taken to merge SNC, DDC and Northampton into one Unitary Council. I would like to remind you that our intention is not to be nimby: hundreds of houses within our parish boundary are built / being built / planned in the NRDA, to support the Borough Council; also, we will be identifying housing needs and sites as appropriate in our villages to keep them sustainable.

Finally, we are optimistic that the first draft of our Plan will be presented to SNC next spring. There is no fast track in the process of achieving our goal, neither should there be. We have to consider the history, concerns and future of the community. The members of the Steering Group are not full-time employees, but we are committed to maintaining the momentum.

This is a complicated, demanding process, and I wish to thank my colleagues for their time, enthusiasm, insightfulness and good humour in making it also a rewarding process.

Roy Hawkesford

17th August 2018.

Keep in touch

This website is an important way for the Steering Group  to communicate what is going on to the Parish. As we enter the important stage of  creating the draft Neighbourhood Plan we will be making material available on the website regularly and we welcome your feedback on anything that you see here. You may email or use the contact form page on this site.

Some important activities are now underway; A housing needs analysis (HNA) is being undertaken by consultants at Locality an independent organisation which supports the creation of Neighbourhood Plans; and, the sites available for development will need to be identified for consideration after we know how much housing needs to be provided. In addition work on our environment and heritage is underway with approaches being made to bodies who can help us identify what we have in the Parish and how it should be developed and protected.

This site will contain all our Agendas as well as the Meeting records for our formal meetings from now on. It will also hold many of the papers produced by our working groups and from our consultants.

If you expressed an interest in getting involved with the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee at the event and/or meeting earlier this year and haven’t been able to attend any of the recent meetings please get in touch with our Clerk if you still want to join us. Emails can be sent to her at or using the contact form on this website.

If we do not hear from people who expressed an interest in being involved before the next meeting on September 10th we will assume that they do not wish to join the steering group but are still interested in what is going on with the plan.

We would encourage anyone who wants to keep in touch with what is going on with the Neighbourhood Plan development to subscribe to receive all the postings from this site by email. Just scroll down to the bottom of this page and on the bottom you will see a box similar to the screenshot below.

Just enter your email address and then press the subscribe button. You will get an email asking you to confirm that you want to receive the mails from us and once you have returned that any new posts on the site will be sent out to you by email.

That way you get to see all activity as we post it and you can contact us if you wish to comment or respond using our contact page.




Meeting with SNC Neighbourhood Planner – 7th August 2018


Ellie Gingell is the South Northants Council (SNC) Planner whose role includes advising those creating Neighbourhood Plans in the South Northants area.  She has regular meetings to help review our progress with the Chair, Cllr Roy Hawkesford, of the Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. We will post Roy’s notes on these meetings as they contain items of interest and which will influence the way we create our plan.

Meeting 7th August 2018

Attending: Ellie Gingell (South Northants Council), Cllr Roy Hawkesford Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

A number of topics were discussed:


Ellie thought that the idea of ‘access to the countryside’ and links between conurbations was a good one, as we are a polycentric parish. This includes footpaths, cycle ways and tracks. We could make use of SNC’s and the county’s Interactive Mapping service – which contains details of all paths, archaeology sites, geographical information, and so on – to see how these could be linked.


Ellie said that SNC can only issue general guidance on the volume of housing growth that is appropriate in the parish. Somewhere between 25 and 50 units might be an appropriate level to consider subject to the findings of the Housing Needs Assessment.

If the NP does not include an appropriate level of growth then Developers may challenge it at enquiry and SNC would have difficulty supporting it. If it has an appropriate level it would fit within SNC Local Plan and SNC would be able to back NP if conflicting development is applied for.


Ellie advised reading SNC’s Guide to Neighbourhood Planning which gives a template for doing structured site assessment. She recommended that the Steering Group start a dialogue with local landowners to see what they might be willing to put forward as Sites and which have been withdrawn from consideration. This should be done in writing, and then we should assess the sites using the template proposed in the Guide. Ellie said she would be happy to sit in on meetings with landowners – but not to run them – to clarify issues that emerged during discussion. She indicated that we should be imaginative when looking at potential sites; we can assess any potential site. SNC would support us with anything we came up with so long as it passed the test in the Guide. Basically, it would have to be defensible!

We always have to be aware that what we come up with will also have to be approved by the public!


Ellie agreed that the majority of any proposed new dwellings within the parish should be in Hackleton. Piddington and Horton are regarded as appropriate only for infill or very small sites (even a site of 1 in each village) to be allocated. Cases could be made for not allocating sites in Piddington or Horton. Any additional dwellings should be single, adjacent, well-related, infill. A design statement should be made for each village, to include photographs of what we consider appropriate.

Clearly, Hackleton is more sustainable for development, having more infrastructure, being on the main road, etc.

There should be a section in the NP for the housing policy in each village.


Just a bit about this. When we’re writing the NP, we should include a statement (which Ellie will send us) referring to Options 1 & 2 as “strategic”, so not suitable for Neighbourhood Planning. That way we would not get embroiled in the debates over them. We can make ‘statements’ about what should happen on our side of the NRDA boundary.


This can be tricky. We should look imaginatively at what characterises all of our parish, not just buildings… bridges, walls, barns, anything. We should do a long list and whittle it down. Photographs are clearly essential! We need to be able to justify every one of them.

Unlisted buildings of interest: Historic England has advice on non-designated buildings; we would need evidence and evaluation to show to SNC. If approved , a non-listed building (bridge or wall) would be treated like a listed building by SNC. (Not all house owners might be impressed by this!)


Wedges are difficult to justify, but not impossible. A very good case has to made for them. They have to be obvious!

Green Spaces are as good as set in stone, which is why it’s so important to identify them. If it isn’t already included our Rec should be identified – it’s also a green space between Old and New Hackleton.

SNC do take archaeological sites seriously when considering Sites – which is why Piddington is largely exempt, in their view.


This is due for agreement on September 19th. Whatever happens regarding Local Government Reorganisation, the Local Plan 2a will not be in contravention of the Government guidelines, so it won’t threaten or invalidate our NP.

From what she’s seen, Ellie says we won’t be in conflict with Local Plan Part 2a.

We will need to work with our consultant to ensure that a “screening and sustainable appraisal” is undertaken (She can give us more info on that!).

We should also structure the plan to include sections on each village and not just the Village Characteristics.


Ellie drew attention to page 7 of the newly updated NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) which describes the criteria for Neighbourhood Plans to be robust. Ellie thought we were on track to meet all of the criteria.


Ellie said that there are now just a couple of parishes still ‘going for it’ in SNC area. That’s understandable given the amount of work and endeavour involved.

However Ellie made it clear that it is worth having one for our parish as because of our location alongside Northampton’s popular southern boundary we will have significant pressures for development in the parish if we don’t have a robust, defensible NP in place.

I suggested that Ellie might attend our formal meeting on October 8th, after the SNC September 19th meeting to approve Local Plan Part 2a. We may also have some feedback on the HNA process by then.

We should use her expertise to help us formulate the draft plan for submission to SNC as well as using Michael’s consultancy.

Cllr Roy Hawkesford

(revised for web by Maz Woolley)

August 7th 2018



Steering Group informal meeting 30th July 2018

Hackleton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Informal Meeting: 30th July, 2018, 7.00, at The Spread Eagle.

Present: Roy Hawkesford (Chairman), Maz Woolley, Carol Lloyd, Tina Charteress, Tom Peterkin, Gary Youens, Jo Willmer.

The chairman explained that, as the steering group is a working group, the parish clerk would not normally be expected to attend. However, her attendance at future meetings with our consultant might be a good idea. She should be kept up-to-date with developments.

It was agreed that we should ask Michael for an updated Draft Plan.

Roy to ask Ellie (SNC) if she could send the most up-to-date list of potential sites.

It was agreed that the new version of the National Planning Framework strongly encourages the provision of additional housing and encourages Neighbourhood Planning groups to do a housing needs assessment. The Steering group agreed that some development is needed to help keep the parish sustainable and to offer the opportunity to extend recreational space.

Using the maps from the June 2nd Open Day, there followed a detailed discussion about the known potential sites and the following conclusions were reached:

  1. Horton has had a lot of infill development and scope for any further infill within village boundary is limited. No sites exist for small groups of additional houses within the confines.
  2. Some of the sites in Piddington are unsuitable due to the potential impact on existing buildings, the fact that they would be out of scale, impact on potential Roman Fort site, or that they would threaten important local views. It is considered that the traffic restriction near Chapel end where two small vehicles struggle to pass means any substantial developments would be unsuitable for the village. There are some sites, mainly smaller ones, which may be worth further consideration if Housing Need is shown.
  3. Again Hackleton has sites which are unsuitable due to environmental factors, impact on views/green space etc. In some other cases sites may be worth consideration for development provided that factors like additional recreation space for the village are taken into account
  4. Housing development in the rural areas outside village confines is not expected to form part of the Neighbourhood plan.

It was agreed that the next step is to wait for the Housing Needs Assessment to be completed by Locality and  the scale of housing required identified. Once that is known sites can be evaluated by a outside experts and they can then be considered in detail.

Maz Woolley agreed to do more work on the design statements, starting with Piddington – as a template for the other villages.

Jo Willmer agreed to contact wildlife organisations about that aspect of the Plan in general.

Tina Charteress agreed to revisit the list of buildings.

Carol Lloyd agreed to do more research into aspects of Horton relevant to the Plan.

There was some discussion afterwards about the purpose and content of the next formal meeting on August 13th.

The meeting finished at 9.30.

Roy Hawkesford
31st July 2018