Category Archives: SNC Meetings

Meeting with SNC January 22nd 2020

Venue: SNC Offices Towcester
Present: Alan Munn (AM) Planing Policy and Growth Strategy
Manager, Roy Hawkesford (RH) Hackleton Parish Neighbourhood Plan Chair, Maz Woolley (MW)
Notetaker: MW
  • AM informed us that due to the current staffing issues whilst the transition to Unitary takes place he would be assisting us progressing our Neighbourhood Plan for the moment
  • AM informed us that Neighbourhood Plans are still going on in SNC area. At present one is ahead of us and one just behind.
  • A discussion was held on the potential impact on the next stages of our Neighbourhood Plan as a result of the transition to Unitary Authority. AM was of the opinion that if our plan continues to progress it should be in place before significant changes as a result of the Unitary Authority take place.
  • AM did draw attention to the likelihood of new plans emerging once the Unitary Authority was in place and the potential for them to override the local plan at some point. AM agreed that where they did not modify our plan, or supersede it, the Neighbourhood Plan would still be in force for its lifetime. 
  • RH handed over the latest working version of our plan to AM noting that there is still work to do before it comes back to SNC for the formal review process.
  • A discussion was held on the green spaces defined in the plan. An area where AM suggested a better level of justification is needed is the green areas defined to prevent coalescence. The area to the north of Hackleton which was formerly a possible strategic development site needs consideration for removal. Those at the edge of Hackleton and Piddington need to be clear as to why coalescence between the villages is undesirable and why these areas have been chosen. AM suggested we read the Inspectors report p58 on the Daventry plan which has wording on coalescence
  • AM suggested that green verges etc may need to be shown in different colour on map from other spaces and it made clear that these are of a lower significance
  • A discussion was held on non-designated Heritage Assets and RH passed over a sample of the new table we hoped to use for comment by Dr. Gary Campion.
  • RH stated that the meeting had been useful and thanked AM for meeting with us.

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



Meeting with SNC Planner

Ellie Gingell of South Northamptonshire Council is a Planner with special responsibility for supporting those creating Neighbourhood Plans within the county. She has attended our Steering Group Meetings and provides advice and support. The notes below were provided by her following a  meeting on 20th February 2018 betwen Ellie, the Chair of the Steering Committee and the Parish Clerk. 

“Thank you for a positive meeting this morning regarding the Hackleton Neighbourhood Plan. I have sought to try and summarise the main points of conversation, below, to help with your meeting on Monday and as a record you can look back on.


A thorough questionnaire was carried out in 2011. Rather than repeat this stage, I suggest that you use this as an opportunity to ‘report’ on the findings and check that that information is still relevant e.g. nothing has altered. There may be different ways of doing this but you just need to build on it so it doesn’t seem like you’re asking the same questions again. It would be a good opportunity to ‘test’ any preferred options before issuing a draft plan.  I will speak with Paul (Housing) to get a copy of a Housing Needs questionnaire and a sample report, ideally ahead of your meeting on Monday. As noted, it would be helpful if this could go out with the Neighbourhood Plan information so people aren’t bombarded with information.

Housing figures:

We will look to use a ‘Local Housing Needs’ figure (the traditional definition) that identifies the needs from those that live/have a connection with the area. This approach is most consistent with the policies of the current Core Strategy (R1) and the emerging Local Plan part 2.  It will be up to Hackleton Parish/ NHP steering Group to determine how they would like to accommodate this e.g. in one village, all villages, single sites/ multiple sites etc.

As discussed, we would not support your ‘local needs’ being allocated adjoining Northampton and it should be accommodated within/adjoining the village(s).

Site Identification/assessment:

I recommend assessing all sites that have been promoted to SNC through the ‘Call for Sites’ process. I have a map of these I will print/provide for you. There is guidance on how to undertake an assessment in the Neighbourhood Planning Guide (the final version will be taken before members in March). In addition, you could consider including a question in the consultation that asks if there are other sites not known to SNC due to their size etc. This will give you a good basis from which to assess all sites and make your decision(s).

You can, of course include local criteria- but ensure all sites are assessed against this.

Green Wedges:

The Planning Portal defines green wedges as follows:  Green wedges comprise the open areas around and between parts of settlements, which maintain the distinction between the countryside and built up areas, prevent the coalescence (merging) of adjacent places and can also provide recreational opportunities.”

Green Wedges should, therefore should be distinct, and each one should perform a specific function. Green Wedges provide an additional layer of ‘restrictive’ planning policy so should be used sparingly to ensure that the approach is consistent with the NPPF and the strategic policies of the Local Plan. I would generally be comfortable with green wedges between settlements e.g. Hackleton and Horton; Hackleton/ Piddington, where there is a clear rationale and basis to keep these settlements separate. It would be helpful if the group could consider their preference/ criteria for identifying green wedges and share this with SNC. In drawing up criteria, it would be helpful to consider boundaries based on permanent features- hedges, roads etc and draw on the Landscape Work prepared for the Part 2 Local Plan and the ‘landscape sensitivity’ assessment carried out to support the Core Strategy (this included Hackleton Parish).

With regard to a wedge between the Preston Deanery and Northampton we would need to consider this carefully as there is quite a distance between the village and NRDA boundary. The hamlet is also open countryside and thus any development proposal is going to need to meet some very rigorous policy tests. It is also worth bearing in mind that any significant development would be a strategic matter for the review of a Core Strategy and so we could also find ourselves in difficult territory trying to address this in the NH Plan. I’m sure this is something we will come back to!

Local Green Spaces:

There is guidance in the NPPF (para 77) and also the Local Green Space form ( for the methodology. I tend to find it easier to consider spaces as ‘publically accessible’ or of ‘community value’ e.g. a publically accessible ‘wood’- it may be in private ownership (e.g. the cricket field), but serves an important function to the community. There is a helpful flow chart on page 6 that shows how the spaces can be designated.

Future meetings:

As indicated, I think it is helpful for you to have discussions as a group without me present- particularly where you want to debate something openly! However,  I am here to help and I’m more than happy to come to meetings where task/details of approaches are being finalised, or if there is a particular issue that we need to work through.  Do keep in touch- either via email or telephone.

Eleanor Gingell
Neighbourhood Planning Officer
Place and Growth Directorate
South Northamptonshire and Cherwell Council