All posts by Maz Woolley

WNC Confirm Referendum on Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan

At a Cabinet Meeting last Tuesday, 12th October 2021, West Northants Council (WNC) confirmed that a referendum on the Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan will take place.

All those on the Electoral Register for the area will be sent full details by West Northants Council by post, but key details confirmed by WNC Electoral staff are:

  • Voting will take place on Thursday December 2nd 2021
  • There will be a single polling station which will be at Dudley Winterbottom Memorial Hall, Chapel Lane, Hackleton, NN7 2AH
  • This polling station will be open from 7AM until 10PM

More Information

  • If you are not yet registered as a voter but wish to vote you need to register with WNC by 16/11/2021
  • If you wish to apply for a postal vote the deadline is 17/11/2021
  • If you wish to apply for a proxy vote the deadline is 24/11/2021

The referendum will ask you if you wish the Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan to be used to help decide planning applications within the Parish.

West Northants Council will provide details of where copies of the plan will be available for inspection and will also have all the documents which need to be made available by law on their website. We will add links to the documentation on the Council’s site here on when it is available.

How to see the Planning Examiner’s Report on our Neighbourhood Plan

The Examiner’s report is now available to read on the West Northamptonshire (South) Planning team’s planning portal (September 2021). Just follow the link shown below. You will find the final version of the report together with some of the discussion documents created after the draft report was submitted.

The Examiner has made many suggestions for change and these have generally been seen by the team as positive. Our Consultant is now working on creating the final version of the plan incorporating all the Exmainer’s suggestions.

The Examination is finished – Just waiting for the results!

The Examiner has now submitted his completed examination to West Northamptonshire Council (WNC). He has made a considerable number of recommendations for changes to be made to the plan submitted to him to ensure that it is consistent with national planning policy, and the higher level plans it must conform to like the Local Plan and West Northants Strategic plans. The Examiner has also made a number of constructive suggestions that will make the plan clearer and better suited to be used for planning purposes.

Once appropriate WNC will be posting the Examiner’s report on their planning portal and when we know that the documentation is there we will provide links from this website.

We now need to work with our Consultant to get the plan amended as recommended by the Examiner, and passed to WNC Planning Team. The WNC Planning Committee will then need to consider the final amended plan, the examiner’s recommendations, and the recommendations of their own Planners. Should they decide that all is in order they will allow their staff to organise a referendum within the Parish to decide if local residents are happy for the plan to be put in place.

Once we know when the referendum will take place we will be looking to offer opportunities to inspect the plan and ask any questions that they may have.

Working Party Meeting 6th August 2021

In attendance: Cllr Roy Hawkesford (Chair), Cllr Carol Lloyd, Cllr Jo Willmer, Maz Woolley

This meeting was called to answer a follow up set of questions raised by the Examiner and our Consultants response to them.

We considered our Consultants suggested responses to be entirely appropriate.

Two areas needed further discussion within the team. The first was the comments on Views and we decided that we needed to seek guidance from the Examiner as to whether his comments meant that views each needed a few words of explanation.

The second topic was the boundaries of two green spaces. Here although we thought we could identify one being referred too we were not sure about the other. Again we need to seek guidance on exactly which areas are of concern and then we can ensure that the final plan has boundaries clearly identified.

MW was tasked with writing up the suggested response to Examiner and RH will check this with our Consultant before it is passed to the Examiner via the Parish Clerk.

The Examination begins Now!

We’ve done all our work and now it is the turn of an independent examiner to review our Neighbourhood plan and make sure that it meets a number of criteria set by the Government in Town and Country Planning legislation.

West Northamptonshire (South) Planning Team have sent our plan and all the supporting information about consultations to the recently appointed independent examiner who will now spend some weeks undertaking an examination which will include a detailed examination of our plan, questioning the neighbourhood planning team where clarification is needed, examining our communications to date and any representations, and even visiting the parish where required to get a fuller picture of the impact of the plan.

Once the independent examiner has completed the review they will issue a report to West Northamptonshire (South) Planning Team who will then publish it. If the local planning authority is satisfied that the report complies with planning considerations then West Northamptonshire Planning will send the plan to a referendum within the Parish.

We will share the progress of the examination on this website as we are updated.

Chairman’s Report May 2021

There is little to report this month other than to confirm that, at the time of writing, the process of External Examination is proceeding. Alan Munn (WNC)  was in the process of finalising the contract with Examiner, Andrew Matheson, when we last spoke. Mr Matheson had stated that he expected the process to last four weeks, including any site visit he felt was necessary. My expectation would be that he will have completed the process by the time of the next Parish Council meeting, June 8th, but his report may not be available to us by then.

Any changes required to the Plan would then have to be made before the process moved on to Referendum. WNC will then organise the Referendum. Alan Munn has stated that we will be involved throughout the process; I have no reason whatsoever to doubt that, as communication between us has been excellent.

Roy Hawkesford
19th May 2021

Working Party Meeting – April 7th 2021

In attendance: Roy Hawesford (Chair), Cllr Jo Willmer, Cllr Carol Lloyd, Maz Woolley

Due to Covid restrictions his meeting was held virtually using Zoom.

RH presented the meeting a grid of responses to the Regulation 16 consultation recently carried out by SNC and explained the feedback from Alan Munn at SNC/WCC and our consultant Michael Wellock.

A response sent within time but to the Parish Clerk and not SNC by Historic England will be passed to WNC and has been included in our review of feedback.

We reviewed all the comments and made further comment ourselves where this is appropriate. RH to do a final tidy and update with policy reference number in Historic England Section. Team was unanimous in all the responses. This will be sent to our Consultant to check, and discussed informally with WNC (South) planning team before being formally submitted via the Parish Clerk.

The Neighbourhood Plan website was discussed and MW agreed to update it and to create a brief meeting record. MW also agreed to write a short article for the Parish Magazine.

The next step in the making of the plan will be the appointment of an examiner and the formal review of the plan, and responses.

Our review will be passed to the examiner alongside the original responses. It will also be available at some point in the area covering our Neighbourhood plan on the WNC South Northamptonshire area planning portal.

The referendum following the examination is highly unlikely to take place before early in June. A brief discussion was held about whether virtual sessions could be offered for questions instead of meetings at the village hall if lockdown has not finished before the referendum takes place. It was thought that more clarity on exactly Covid regulations and timetable is needed before we can plan any publicity meetings before referendum.

The meeting closed.

Regulation 16 Consultation Complete

South Northants Council (SNC) has now completed the consultations on the Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan that they are obliged to do under Regulation 16 of the relevant planning legislation. If you wish to see the responses that were received please follow the following link

There you may find the version of the plan we submitted to SNC and the comments that they received.

The next step is for a suitable approved Planning Inspector to be engaged to carry out the next step of the plan approval process which is an examination of the plan, the representations made, and the process followed. The Inspector has to ensure that the plan is fully compliant with the Government’s National Planning Framework and that the policies and justifications are all appropriate and consistent.

This examination may take a few weeks as it is not a trivial task.

Once the examination is complete the Inspector will issue a report which may require changes to be made to the Plan which would need to be made before the plan becomes a final version. The final version will then be made available and SNC/WNC will arrange a referendum where residents in the Parish will get the opportunity to say Yes or No to the plan. If a simple majority of voters say Yes then the plan is ‘made’ and will apply to all planning applications made within the Parish from that point onwards with WNC obliged to take note of the provisions of the plan when making decisions on any planning applications within the parish.

The team hopes that we can publicise the final plan once the examination is over and before the referendum but with Covid restrictions still in place we may not be able to do this in person and may need to be creative about our approach to this.

What happens after the Regulation 16 Consultation Ends?

Roy Hawkesford, the Chair of our Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan Team, met virtually with Alan Munn of SNC on March 18th. SNC are still collecting representations and will continue to do so until the end of the official regulation 16 consultation period late in March. The SNC planning team will remain responsible for the plan although they will be operating under the new West Northamptonshire Authority name from April 8th.

Once R16 consultation ends the SNC/WNC Planning team will advertise for a qualified Planning Examiner. Our Neighbourhood Plan team will be consulted during the choice of Examiner and SNC/WNC will then appoint the Examiner. The Examination is expected to take about two weeks and the Examiner will consider our plan and representations made in the consultation. The Examiner will decide if there are any amendments needed to the plan to conform to Government planning policy and meet legitimate representations. If there are we may need to work with SNC/WNC Planning to make amendments to meet the Examiners requirements.

Once the final approved version of the plan exists SNC/WNC will organise a referendum within Hackleton Parish and parishioners will have the chance to vote for or against the plan. The Neighbourhood Plan team hope that will be able to put on an exhibition for residents to set out the plan and give people an opportunity to ask questions before they vote. However, that will be subject to the date of the Referendum and what Covid related restrictions apply at the time. In any event we hope to use the Parish Magazine and this web site to keep people informed before the referendum.

RegulatioN 16 Consultation under way

South Northants Council (SNC) has begun their consultation on the Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan. You will find the area dedicated to this consultation on the SNC website at

All responses must be made to SNC following the procedures set out there.

Posters issued by SNC giving advice on the consultation exercise may be found in the Parish Notice Boards as shown in the photographs below.

The consultation exercise ends on 26th March 2021.