Author: Cllr. Mark Howard, Barrow-cum-Denham Parish Council
Date: 15 September 2019
Subject: Neighbourhood Plan Announcement
Barrow-cum-Denham Parish Council is pleased to announce that a project to develop
a Neighbourhood Plan is underway.
A Neighbourhood Plan is a document which translates a community’s vision and aims
in to planning policies for a specified area – in this case, the area defined by the
Barrow-cum-Denham Parish boundary.
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the UK Government in 2012 to give
communities a greater role in achieving sustainable development.
The Plan will have a legal basis and will be subject to review by UK Planning
Inspectorate and a parish referendum, prior to adoption by West Suffolk Local
This short paper aims to provide further information by answering the 10 most likely
- Why is the Parish Council doing this?
The Parish Council would like clarity on future targets for the number and type of
houses and the most appropriate sites within the parish
- Who sets the number of houses to be built?
UK Central Government sets housing targets for the UK as a whole and these are
apportioned to regions, areas and then parishes. The number of houses is not set by
the Parish Council.
- What has changed since the PC decided not to develop a NP previously?
Two things changed – a grant to cover the costs became available and a new (West
Suffolk) Local Plan is underway.
- Who’s paying for all this?
The Parish Council has successfully applied for a grant to cover the costs.
- Can the Neighbourhood Plan be used to stop further development?
No. Absolutely not. The project will seek to find what the parish’s future housing
targets are and how the community’s vision and aims can be translated in to planning
policies for the Parish. In other words, the project will find out what the Parish’s
housing targets are; what parishioners would like to see in terms of new housing
development and where the most appropriate sites might be.
- Who’s involved in the project?
Various groups are involved including the Parish Council’s Steering group; an Advisory
Group which includes external consultants and a Working Group. The Working Group
will eventually include volunteers to carry out tasks such as delivering leaflets or
helping the elderly or infirm to complete questionnaires etc. We will publish further
information about how you can get involved in the Working Group in due course.
- What’s involved in developing a Neighbourhood Plan?
The project has only recently started but will include:-
• area designation (complete)
• liaison with the local planning authority (in progress)
• publicity, community engagement & consultation
• building the evidence base
• a call for sites
• setting aims & writing the plan
• site allocations & green space designations.
After review by UK Planning Inspectorate, the Parish has a referendum on whether to
accept or reject the Neighbourhood Plan. If accepted, the Neighbourhood Plan is
‘made’ and subsequently adopted by West Suffolk Local Planning Authority.
- Aren’t such consultations a waste of time?
Consultations carried out by developers and planning authorities don’t have a great
reputation. However, consultations in a Neighbourhood Plan are different because the
Plan directly results from consultations. UK Planning Inspectorate formally reviews
whether the Neighbourhood Planning process has been ‘fair & reasonable’ and so it
would not be possible for the Plan to ignore community consultations.
- Do Neighbourhood Plans really work?
Yes – Neighbourhood Plans have a solid legal basis and have been cited in many appeal
decisions by UK Planning Inspectorate.
- Why is the Parish Council spending money on external consultants?
It might be possible to develop a Neighbourhood Plan without external consultants
but this is a complex task and subject to external review. A consultant reduces the risk
of us not complying with the many formal requirements. This translates as reduced
risk of us having to repeat work. The consultancy fees are covered by a grant.