Neighbourhood Plan

Author: Cllr. Mark Howard, Barrow-cum-Denham Parish Council
Date: 15 September 2019
Revision: 1.0
File: Neighbourhood_Plan_Announcement_Rev_1.0

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
Planning Authority.
This short paper aims to provide further information by answering the 10 most likely
questions:-

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Who’s paying for all this?
    The Parish Council has successfully applied for a grant to cover the costs.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.