Neighbourhood Plan Report May 2020


Report from the Steering Group chairman

A lot has happened since the last report on 24th February. That report outlined the process of Regulation 14 Formal Consultation and what we were required to do. I can confirm that the process has been completed and has been reviewed by the Steering Group and our consultant, Michael Wellock.

Initially, we allowed eight weeks from the date of publication of the Reg 14 Draft, given that the Easter break would have come in the middle of that period; in the end we allowed a little more time because of COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, most respondents still left it until the end of period before sending their comments!

I can confirm that we did get a modest number of replies from statutory bodies, members of the public, a landowner and a property developer. All of the comments from the public were highly positive about the Plan. The landowner commented on the inaccuracy of a map, and that detail has now been corrected satisfactorily.

The property developer made an argument for the inclusion of the Oak Way site, but we believe that – following consultation with our consultant and SNC – we should not amend the Plan to accommodate his comments. We are not required to present a site, given the land bank and the terms of the WNJCS and SNC’s Local Plan. (N.B. SNC’s approval of the Larkfleet Homes planning application was for the same number of houses that we had originally proposed.)

We are now waiting for a decision from SNC on whether or not we can proceed with the next stage, Regulation 16, purely online – because of the restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 outbreak. We aren’t anticipating an adverse response, but SNC are checking the legality of this. Other Local Authorities have proceeded purely online.

You may be aware that all Neighbourhood Plan Referenda have been put back until May 2021. While there is no rush to proceed, however, the various stages of the process take some months to complete. We would like to proceed to Reg 16 – at which point SNC formally takes our Plan forward – as soon as we are ready. We will be at that stage within a few weeks. We are still working on important environmental aspects, but all other amendments following Reg 14 have been incorporated.

Roy Hawkesford

May 19th 2020