Thursday, 2 July 2015

Neighbourhood planning @ Sidmouth Town Council >>> meeting Monday 6th July

The Town Council will be considering a Neighbourhood Plan at its next meeting on Monday:
Meeting of Sidmouth Town CouncilMonday 6 July 2015 at 6.30pm - Agenda 

Here is the outline scoping document to be considered by Councillors:

Agenda Item 11
A Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for Sidmouth?

An introductory paper prepared by Cllr. Louise Cole to inform discussion on this agenda item on the Monday July 6th 2015 Sidmouth Town Council Meeting.

Why is it important?
 Allows the community to address areas that are of concern and that there is a potential to influence e.g. Alexandria Industrial Estate, Port Royal, Beach Management, the Esplanade, Boundaries of the Conservation Area, the Ham, Town Centre Excellence sites, Knowle parkland, other areas that require improvement
 Gives community a voice in decision making, it is a transparent and accountable process to decide on and implement improvements according to a strong local ‘voice’
 Helps the community to set improvement priorities and achieve them within a planned timescale
 Once adopted, the policies become part of the development plan- holds legal weight in decisions.
 More focused on the local level - Local Plan covers the District –an NP provides useful detail
 Promotes Sidmouth and demonstrates the leadership and vision of the Council as a qualifying body
 Encourages groups that may not usually work together to do so for a common purpose
 Provides a way to bring together the many different ideas that are held into a clear and deliverable plan

How does it work with the Local Plan?
 Can help inform, add detail, direct and shape development in Sidmouth though must accord with the Local Plan
 An NP can be developed alongside a Local Plan – there is no requirement for a Local Plan to have already been agreed
 An NP cannot propose lower levels of growth and housing than that in the Local Plan.
 An NP can identify community priorities. e.g. promoting public transport & parking needs, regeneration of town centres or areas of concern, management of parkland
 Both plans must support sustainable development (environmental, social and economic objectives)
 The Local Planning Authority has a duty to support the process

What does the community gain?
 Potential to have more influence over the type, location, size, pace and design of development coming forward (including infrastructure, housing and commercial development)
 Can improve relationships between developers, local authority and the community
 Groups in the community can have significant roles in developing the plan and implementing it under the direction of the Council i.e. working with others as long as is transparent and agreed
 Bringing together of different interests for the common aim of improving Sidmouth where realistic influence is possible
 A clear understanding of the priorities for Sidmouth through involvement and consultation through various methods e.g. outreach to existing forums and organisations, online and hard copy surveys, facilitated community events, workshops, via the press
 25 % CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) money for adopted plans ring fenced for community priorities –the plan can provide the evidence of the communities agreement and priority for the allocation of the CIL
 Lympstone is the 1st in East Devon to have an adopted plan, 28 others are underway in East Devon

What should a neighbourhood plan address?
Different types of plans are emerging e.g. single issue, site specific, broad ranging or specific themes. In Sidmouth to make sure it is achievable and is influential where possible, it could for example focus on areas of most concern for Sidmouth (see first point)
 Existing work can be used to inform the plan e.g. plans, strategy, research, consultation
 A tight project brief, timescale and plan for working with a range of groups in the community will be needed to cover the key sectors in our community e.g. residents, business/tourist industry, community and voluntary groups, health and social care, young people, schools and families
 NPs take different amounts of time depending on the scope, size of designated area and themes to be covered

Who can fund and support the process?
National organisations and EDDC have support through:
 Guidance notes at various stages of the process on EDDC website (collecting evidence, engaging the community)
 £2000 EDDC funding, £8000 funding from Central Govt., STC can allocate funds to the process and community groups can provide in kind services to support the work, additional funds for complex areas can also be raised
 Providing templates including basic conditions statement, consultation statement & project plan
 Providing introductory sessions to parishes interested in commencing an NP
 Hiring a Neighbourhood Planning Officer/Attending steering group sessions/Regular newsletters
 Advising on any national updates

What weight does it have?
 Once adopted an NP has the same legal status as the Local Plan once it has been agreed at a referendum and is brought into legal force by the local planning authority. At this point it becomes part of the statutory development plan
 It must be in accordance with European Directives/legislation (Human Rights, Habitats Regulations and Equalities Impact Assessments
 It must be in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework/East Devon Local Plan

What are the main challenges?
 May need to raise additional funds to facilitate
 Time and input and making sure the plan is progressed with in the time allotted
 Meeting the regulatory conditions can be complex
 Ensuring the community (not just some groups) are involved
 Open communication and information at every step, in lots of ways to help to help all groups, interests and ages to receive the information and to have a realistic opportunity to get involved

What are the steps?
Step 1: Designating neighbourhood area and if appropriate neighbourhood forum
Step 2: Preparing a draft neighbourhood plan or Order
Step 3: Pre-submission publicity & consultation
Step 4: Submission of a neighbourhood plan or Order proposal to the local planning authority
Step 5: Independent Examination
Step 6: Referendum
Step 7: Making the neighbourhood plan or Order (bringing it into force)

Where can I find more information?

Here's a comparison with the Neighbourhood Planning process currently underway in Feniton:
First consultation exercise for Feniton’s Neighbourhood Plan | Susie Bond
Feniton Neighbourhood Plan powers ahead | Susie Bond
Feniton: Neighbourhood Plan event 5 July | East Devon Watch 

And here are some pieces of news on the Neighbourhood Planning process nationally:

The Court of Appeal has rejected a developer’s challenge over the inclusion of site allocation policies in a neighbourhood development plan 
Local Government Lawyer - Developer loses Court of Appeal challenge over neighbourhood plan
Pending Neighbourhood Plans: developers lose court case | East Devon Watch
Architects are calling for the government to rewrite planning legislation to stop developers dodging “affordable” housing commitments.
Architects call for NPPF reform over 'viability' concerns | News | Building Design
NPPF allows “practitioners of the dark arts” to cut new social housing | East Devon Watch

The new Government aims to increase housing supply and access to home ownership. A number of policies to boost housing supply were set out in the Conservative Party 2015 Manifesto and a Housing Bill has now been announced in the Queen’s Speech, to be introduced in this Parliamentary session. In terms of planning reform the Housing Bill is expected to introduce a statutory register for brownfield land, to help achieve the target of getting Local Development Orders in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020 and to simplify and speed up the neighbourhood planning system.
The Library briefing paper on Neighbourhood Planning provides further information about this area.
Non planning related policies to incentivise house building are outside the scope of this note, but are set out in Library briefing paper Stimulating housing supply - Government initiatives.
Research Briefings - Planning for Housing
NPPF and Neighbourhood Plans: new Government report | East Devon Watch

See also:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Town Council: first meeting following elections >>> reports >>> Neighbourhood Plan >>> Knowle Public Open Space
Futures Forum: Neighbourhood Plan @ Newton Poppleford: input needed: Monday 16th February
Futures Forum: Save Clyst St Mary: of neighbourhood plans and over-development: next public meeting: Thurs 19th February

No comments: