Category Archives: Reports to Parish Council

Neighbourhood Plan Report February 2020

Report from Chairman of Steering Group

Just when we thought it was nearly all over… we learned last week that we have to carry out Reg 14 Formal Consultation, and not SNC.

We have worked hard, without exaggeration, to get the draft Plan to the point where we are happy to submit it. Having discovered what we did, we have been scurrying round to find out what’s required and to get everything ready for the start of the process, on March 6th. No mean feat! The consultation will last 8 weeks and it will be followed by amendments as required.

Basically, we have to consult with every person, body and organisation that might have an interest in the Plan. This includes all of those we contacted last October (for the Informal Draft Consultation) plus many others, such as:

  • adjoining parish councils and parishes
  • the Coal Authority
  • Natural England
  • The Environment Agency
  • Historic England
  • Network Rail
  • Telecoms providers
  • Utilities
  • Health organisations
  • Voluntary bodies
  • Faith, disability and minority groups
  • Other village groups
  • Local businesses, landowners, etc.

We are going to be busy!

We have been preparing publicity material, acquiring templates for the consultation process and, through Alison, booking the Annexe for drop-in sessions and meetings. We need to do more printing, of course, but we should remain well inside our budget for consumables.

Michael has been extremely helpful. Unfortunately, liaising with SNC is not as easy as it was. They should be able to provide us with contact details for all of the organisations listed above – because every other PC that has undertaken a Plan will have gone through the same procedure. Fingers crossed!

We are confident that our Plan is exciting and challenging, that it will be robust – and that it will serve the community well when it is finally ‘made’. We hope that the Parish Council will be proud to own it and will use it accordingly.

Do I regret calling that initial meeting way back in April 2017?  No, I don’t!

Roy Hawkesford

24th February 2020

Neighbourhood Plan Report January 2020

Maz and I had a meeting yesterday with Alan Munn (SNC Planning) in Towcester. We talked through the remaining issues that we are working on before we submit the Plan to them in the next month or so. These are the two aspects we are working on:

Non-designated Heritage Assets. We produced a list of non-listed buildings a while ago, but SNC Heritage officer, Dr Garry Campion, recommended that we beef up the case for them based on Historic England criteria. I have written to three people, who may have the kind of knowledge we lack, to meet with us. I’ve sent them the HE criteria and the pro forma we have produced in the hope that we will be able to complete the task when we meet.

The people I’ve contacted are Liz Friendship-Taylor, Maureen, and Jo Wilde.

Green spaces and wildlife corridors. This is often a contentious area, so we have been working with Michael (our consultant) to define an hierarchy of areas that will satisfy SNC and, ultimately, the examiner. At the meeting we talked through what we needed to do in order to ‘justify’ the areas and corridors we have included in the Plan. We should be able to complete this in the near future.

All in all, we hope to complete the above tasks within the next month. Michael is now working with the Mapping Officer and SNC to complete that aspect of the Plan, especially with regard to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) which is otherwise complete.

So, the frustration of the prolonged Christmas + New Year break is hopeful behind us. We just need a push now to get to the next stage. Once we have sent the Plan to SNC formally, they will send it out their various departments for comment and possible amendment. That will take usually six weeks. Once the Plan has been revised, SNC will appoint an examiner who will in turn make comments and return it to SNC. After any/all amendments have been done and the Plan has been approved, it will go the final stage, the Referendum. For the Plan to be made, we just need more than 50% of those who respond to vote YES. Judging by the feedback from our consultation events, this should not present a problem.

The future, after the Plan is in place, is never going to be certain. Obviously Local Government Reorganisation will have an impact, though the Plan would have legal status unless overridden by subsequent higher level decisions – e.g. the government decides to allow developers to build wherever they like… but that would be a big vote loser for the government in rural areas! Other than that kind of eventuality, we will be significantly better placed than we would be without a Plan.

Roy Hawkesford

Chair Neighbourhood Plan Committee

23rd January 2020

Chairman’s Report to the Parish Council

Please note that this recommendation was discussed by a full Parish Council meeting on 19th November 2019 and the council has formally approved the recommendation by the Neighbourhood Plan Committee.

Report from Hackleton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

In the light of the planning permission recently granted to Larkfleet Homes to build 21 houses at Lyne Walk, and comments by South Northants Council, the Neighbourhood Plan Committee believes that the allocation of a site to build housing in the Neighbourhood Plan should be withdrawn.

I believe the case we have made is irrefutable, in the light of the changes to planning guidelines (NPPF) and the decision to approve the Lyne Walk development. Given that SNC is adamant that it has a 7.54-year land supply, they see no need for excessive development in the countryside. They were partly opposed to the Lyne Walk development on these grounds, so to double the allocation of housing in Hackleton would not be acceptable at the present time. 

We can include in the Plan the possibility of allocating a site in the future, subject to need and in accordance with a subsequent housing needs survey conducted in conjunction with the Housing Officer. This could be reviewed when the Plan comes up for review in three years’ time.

Following comments, in particular from SNC, we are making some amendments to the Draft Plan, but most of these are to do with clarification and providing further evidence; they are not things that necessarily require the approval of the Council at this time. I have requested a meeting with Jennie Johnson at SNC to talk through these amendments and the nature of the extra evidence required.

I should point out that SNC, in their response, seemed impressed with the Draft Plan: “The Council appreciates the amount of work that the Neighbourhood Plan Group have put into the draft Neighbourhood Plan, and just has the following comments in order to ensure consistency with national and local policy.”  Those comments are not insurmountable and, by removing the site, the task for the steering group is made much simpler.

While Housing/Oak Way was inevitably the main focus for most who attended the two consultation events in the Village Hall Annexe, the overwhelming response was favourable to the Plan as a whole. The only appropriate negative comments received were in respect of the allocated site, which was only to be expected.

Finally, we will continue with our work on the draft Plan once Parish Council approval for the site to be withdrawn has been given.

Roy Hawkesford

Chairman Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan Committee.

Chairman’s Report to the Parish Council – October 2019

Hackleton Neighbourhood Development Plan

Steering Group Chairman’s Report

The first session of the Informal Consultation on the Draft Neighbourhood Plan took place on Saturday, 5th October, 10.00 until 4.00, in the Annexe of the Village Hall. More than 60 people attended, looked at the presentation and discussed the content with members of the steering group.

Obviously, much of the attention was focussed on our policies and the choice of Oak Way as our preferred site. As far as I’m aware, there were no negative comments, and there was general surprise at the detail and range of the Plan – and appreciation of the amount of work that had gone into it. A summary of the written comments will follow shortly.

The second public session will take place on the 16th at 6.30, following which the steering group will make amendments and our consultant will produce the next Draft for formal consultation, under Regulation 14 of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations. This will take about six weeks and may result in further amendments being made and the production of another Draft which will be submitted to SNC, under Regulation 16.

Following that, the Plan will subject to an independent examination by a jointly appointed Examiner, to consider if the Plan meets the basic conditions. This will lead to further amendments, following which the Plan will be the subject of a Referendum. A straight majority vote (50% of turnout +1) of those on the Electoral Register will be required before SNC “make” the Plan. It will then be used to help determine planning decisions in our neighbourhood are, alongside SNC and National Planning Polices.

From that point on, the Parish Council will take ownership of the Plan and act accordingly. It may be that a presentation is made to the Council by the steering group about how the Plan should inform their decision-making.

It will be clear from the timeline outlined above that the process will take a few months yet to complete, though the Plan will have some weight once formal consultation begins. The steering group will continue its work until the Plan is finally made.

The Council may wish to call upon the services of the steering group when the Plan is due for review, which is currently after three years. The Clerk will keep all associated documents in the meantime.

Roy Hawkesford

6th October 2019.

Chairman’s Report to Parish Council – September 2019

This last month has seen a huge leap forward in the development of the Neighbourhood Plan. The Steering Group and our consultant, Michael Wellock, have been working hard to produce successive draft plans to include everything we wanted to include and to refine the content taking on board his comments and advice.

As a result, and following last night’s Steering Group meeting, we will be sending our remaining amendments to Michael today, which will result, hopefully, in the following timetable.

16th September   All of our amendments and comments to be sent to Michael.

23rd September   Michael send his final draft to us.

27th September  The Steering Group signs off the final draft / sends any final comments.

30th September  Draft Plan posted on our websites inviting comments.

5th October         Launch event at the Village Hall (Annexe, if available)

16th October       Second Launch Event, in the evening.

28th October       Close of Consultation.

During this time Michael will finalise and consult on the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

November          Publish first formal consultation draft – Regulation 14 Plan.

As a result of the above process the Draft Plan would be revised as required. It will go to SNC for formal consultation, for about six weeks, following which it will go to Examination and subsequently to a Referendum. Assuming the Plan receives more than 50% approval, it will be ‘made’.

So, there is still a way to go, but it will be clear that most of our work has been done – apart from making changes, etc, as necessary, as it goes through the stages. Nevertheless, the Steering Group members are able to breathe a temporary sigh of relief. We now feel happy with the way the Plan reads… With all the supporting evidence and paragraphs, the document will run to about 100 pages!

Chairman’s Report to Parish Council July 2019

Neighbourhood Plan – Update, July 2019

Work on the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) has been progressing at a more rapid pace recently, with the steering group members working to specific targets set by consultant, Michael Wellock. Much of this work is very detailed, gathering and evaluating information and photographs to inform Policies and to provide evidence for the appendices. Meanwhile the consultant is busy turning our work into the substance of the Plan itself.

An example of the work that the steering group has been undertaking is in the assessment of every property in the three villages – some 720 in all – in terms of history, architecture, materials, environment, landscape features; also the types of housing in each village, the way the villages have evolved and what kind of features and characteristics should inform a Policy on Design. This is not the simplest of tasks, as our villages are not typical of bijou or boutique single style villages. Our villages have evolved in a functional way, with housing taking place in the form of small housing estates, council housing as well as infill and small clusters of generically similar buildings. In short, we have many styles – some fine Grade II listed buildings and some handsome modern buildings.

Our analysis has revealed many differences – as well as similarities – between the villages, and these have been captured in maps, charts and photographic evidence. This has been one aspect of our work, but a significant one, in that our derived polices on Design will determine the nature of any future developments in the parish.

We have also being doing research into environmental aspects of the parish, including biodiversity, archaeology, important aspects of landscape, green spaces, village separation, wildlife and features such as ridge-and-furrow fields – as well as significant non-listed buildings and features.

You may be wondering why no mention has been made of Preston Deanery and Wootton St George’s Fields. This is because Preston Deanery is described as a ‘hamlet’ and lies in ‘open countryside’; as such it is protected by South Northants Council Local Plan Part 2 policies. Wootton St George’s Fields, while part of Hackleton Parish, comes under the Northampton Related Development Area (NRDA) and is not included in our Plan. (This situation will change, of course, when SNC and Northampton Borough Council become a Unitary Council, with Daventry District Council.)

I would like to point out that the steering group – and the Parish Council as a whole – is very much committed to the well being of all people in the parish, and the Plan will reflect this. We hope that the delivery of the new Parish Mag to every household in the parish is a demonstration of that commitment.

We hope to produce a draft plan for consultation in the near future, more than three years after the decision to embark on the Plan.

Roy Hawkesford

Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Neighbourhood Plan Report April 2019

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT – Neighbourhood Plan

APRIL 2019

Following a productive meeting with Michael Wellock, our consultant, things have started to move towards the next stage. Stage 2 has lasted a long time, but we were told at the outset that that would be the case. Fortunately, we have a strong core of Steering Group members who are working hard to produce the evidence for policies that will form the basis of the Draft Plan.

We have been gathering evidence on the housing types in each village, describing and taking photographs of each style. Work has also been done to plot biodiversity and we are anticipating an archaeology report very soon. The intention is to meet a timeline laid down by our consultant, the first stage of which is to furnish him with our work so that he can use it to produce the next Draft by mid-May.

Hopefully then, by the end of May, this Draft Plan will go forward for informal consultation for a period of three weeks.  The purpose of this is to get feedback from all appropriate organisations, following which – by the end of June – the Plan will be revised. Then, in July/August, the Plan will submitted for formal Regulation 14 consultation, which will take a minimum of six weeks. Finally, the Plan will be submitted to SNC and the (public) referendum will take place.

That is, of course, if everything goes to plan!  The steering group is meeting again on April 26th to review our work and to start feeding it through to our consultant. At the Draft Plan stage, the public will be able to see the draft and to comment on it. Regarding the allocation of sites, we present them with maps, the rationale and a summary of the pros and cons of each one, enabling the public to make informed comments. How we do this has yet to be arranged. (We trust that it will NOT resemble the Brexit process in any way! Though the final referendum will be a straight yes or no to the Plan, with 51% required for it to be ‘Made’)

Generally, the threat to any Plan comes from contentious housing proposals. Whatever we decide will be in keeping with the views expressed at our public event last June and the evidence of our external, advisory assessments; they will provide the rationale which we will present to the public.

Housing, though potentially – but not necessarily – contentious, is just one part of the final Plan. We hope to demonstrate to the community what a great parish they live in, one they can be proud of and continue to enjoy beyond the duration of the Plan.

Roy Hawkesford

March 2019

Neighbourhood Plan Report, February 2019.

During the last month, the Steering Group has had three meetings, and we have made arrangements to meet with Jacqueline Brooks, Ellie’s replacement at SNC, and with Michael Wellock, our consultant. We have received replies from the four landowners / agents we approached following the completion of the Sites Assessment. The Housing Needs Assessment has yet to be signed off, though the content is clear to us.

We have also started the business of writing Policies that we trust will fit the unique nature of our parish. This covers several areas, including housing, biodiversity, traffic, employment, buildings of interest, design characteristics and green spaces, while Roy and Liz Friendship-Taylor are preparing a report on archaeology. We intend to start gathering evidence for the Plan, walking the villages and taking photographs of housing types and anything that characterises the parish.

The next informal meeting will take place on March 1st, which Jacqueline Brooks (SNC) will attend. The next formal meeting will take place on March 4th, when Michael Wellock, our consultant, will be in attendance. It is hoped that, following these meetings, a new draft of the Plan will be prepared and we will have a clear direction for the work to be undertaken.

We hope to engage Hackleton School in a project to enhance the Plan by getting the children to make paintings of what the parish means to them. The intention is to include pictures in the Plan itself and the final referendum exhibition. The aim of the Neighbourhood Plan is, of course, to increase the wellbeing of the community and to help create a sustainable future for our villages. Children are the future, and we would like to involve them – and their families – in what we are doing.

Roy Hawkesford

February 14th 2019

Steering Group Chairman’s report to the Parish Council December 2018

This month’s report is relatively short. In fact – apart from work on biodiversity being carried out by Jo Willmer – the main thing to say is that by next month there will be quite a lot to report.

By end of December we should have the final versions of the Housing Needs Assessment and the Sites Assessment. These will form the basis of consultation with the owners or agents of the most suitable sites to ascertain availability, followed by consultation with the public to seek their views before we develop the Plan accordingly.

During themonth we have continued to provide information and consult with our consultant, Michael Wellock and with Ellie Gingell of SNC. The latter has scrutinised the drafts of the two Assessments and, between the three parties, we have sent amendments and comments to the people preparing the reports.

We have to bear in mind that the assessments are based on the period up to 2029. Projections of housing needs are even more difficult at this time owing to the problems caused by Brexit and the impending formation of the unitary councils. The situation regarding the houses in Wootton Fields/St Georges is still the white elephant in the room, but any projections at the current time will not take account of the NRDA. Assuming the merger of SNC, DDC and Northampton Borough goes ahead, there will no longer be a NRDA within SNC… Food for thought!

All we can do at the moment is develop our Plan in accordance with guidelines from the West Northants Joint Core Strategy (WNJCS), the SNC Local Plan and the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). These provide the context of our emerging Plan.

At our next meeting, on Monday 10th December, the principal aims of the steering group will be to consider our action plan – who is going to do what and by when– and to agree the procedure on dealing with the two Assessments referred to above.

The only disappointing news this month is that Ellie Gingell has decided to move on at the end of January. She has offered to provide informal support after that, for which we will be grateful. She has provided considerable support and has provided momentum to what is, quite frankly, an onerous task. While she will be missed, she will tell us who will be her replacement – with regard to assisting us with the Plan – at SNC.

May I wish you a happy Christmas and all the best for 2019.

Roy Hawkesford