Our Neighbourhood Plan
Why do we need a Neighbourhood Plan? Read on to find out.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is, under the Localism Act, part of the statutory planning process. It aims to allow communities to have a significant role in shaping the development of growth in their local area.
Why a Joint Neighbourhood Plan?
Whilst a Plan cannot prevent a housing allocation for either parish, it can lay down some of the rules under which development takes place. This includes where new houses should be sited, the type of development which best fits in with the community and stipulating the infrastructure necessary to support the development that takes place. In addition, parishes receive a larger percentage of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) if there is a Neighbourhood Plan, providing additional financial resources for use in the parishes.
The Vale of White Horse Local Plan Part 2 will significantly affect both parishes by the proposed major development of Dalton Barracks. It was examined in July and September 2018 and the Inspector requested a copy of our Neighbourhood Plan and this is part of his evidence base. The Inspector published his conclusions on 30 October 2018 which can be viewed on the LPP2 examination web page (http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/services-and-advice/planning-and-building/planning-policy/local-plan-2031-part-2/local-plan-2031-par ). He questioned the soundness of the Plan and requested changes to the development at Dalton Barracks and Abingdon Airfield. The VWHDC considered the requested changes and responded on 19 November 2018 accepting that development should be limited to 1200 dwellings sited in the southern end of the Airfield. The inspector then responded on 20 November suggesting that not only the area for development be removed from the Green Belt but that also the built up areas of Shippon and Dalton Barracks are also removed. This appeared to contradict his statements in his letter dated 30 October 2018. The NP Steering Group and both Parish Councils have indicated their concerns over this. Letters have been sent to both MPs in which the designated area lies and can be viewed on the St Helen Without website (http://www.woottondrysandfordshippon.co.uk/st-helen-without-parish-council/ ). It is now anticipated that a new version of LPP2 will be published in Jan 2019 after which there will be a 6 week consultation period. It is likely that the Local Plan Part 2 will be adopted in early 2019.
Furthermore, indications are that the direction of travel in development pursued by central and local government would suggest that communities without a Neighbourhood Plan could be at a significant disadvantage compared with communities that have one and may also be more vulnerable to being subjected to unwanted development.
Community involvement in the preparation of the Plan
Developing a Plan does involve a sustained effort by the community over at least a year or two. The two Parish Councils did not have the manpower and administrative resources to develop the Plan on their own. It was essential, therefore, that volunteers from both communities stepped forward to get involved in either the Steering Group or other Sub-Groups which discussed specific issues. We were fortunate to have local residents with relevant professional expertise who devoted a large amount of time to the process. We also had a large number of people who were prepared to help with areas such as researching information, minute taking and the delivery of community survey questionnaires within the two parishes. We could not have achieved our Neighbourhood Plan without them.