What is neighbourhood planning?
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.
For those that want to know more the Government provides more information at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/neighbourhood-planning–2
And why we need one!
The parish, as we know it, is under threat from the wishes of developers to develop all the land between the boundary of Northampton and Salcey Forest.
At present we are protected by the South Northants (SNC) Local Plan and there are ‘promises’ that our parish will not be significantly affected. However this protection may not continue as there is a new Local Plan being prepared.
A Neighbourhood Plan has status in law and once passed would form part of the SNC Local Plan. It is the most effective way that parishes can gain some protection against hostile developers, but it involves much more than that:
- It puts the community in the driving seat of development in its parish, in terms of housing and the environment;
- It has by its nature, to represent and involve all aspects and members of the community;
- It necessitates wide consultation and requires expert input;
To create this plan will take a lot of time and commitment and it will be done by a flexible steering group working under the auspices of the parish council. ,It will be a flexible working group that carries out the work, not a committee – or anything which suggests that only a few people would be involved, like a club.
As the plan is developed there will be public meetings, web based information and newsletters to involve as many people as possible. The people of the parish will be encouraged to share their views and desires and to be involved at all stages and once approved the Plan would be put to the parish in a referendum before it is adopted.
The completed Neighbourhood Plan would contain deliverable commitments, not least in terms of housing; we would be obliged to fulfil that commitment. But it would be our Plan… not something done to us.
We now have approval to develop a Neighbourhood Plan from SNC. This is not equivalent to Brexit; SNC welcomes Neighbourhood Plans and we would be partners with them in their Local Plan (once we have an approved NP).