To update the Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee on the progress of Ardleigh Parish Council and Alresford Parish Council in producing ‘Neighbourhood Plans’ for their respective areas and to advise on the next steps in the process.
Councillor Scott had earlier in the meeting declared a personal interest in relation to Agenda Item 9 – Report A.3 – Update on Neighbourhood Plans for Ardleigh and Alresford insofar as he was both a Ward Member and a parish councillor for Alresford. He participated in the discussion of this item but took no part in the voting on the Alresford Neighbourhood Plan.
The Committee had before it a detailed report (and appendices) of the Corporate Director (Place and Economy) (A.3) which updated it on the progress of Ardleigh Parish Council and Alresford Parish Council in producing ‘Neighbourhood Plans’ for their respective areas and which advised on the next steps in the process.
· Ardleigh Parish Council had begun the process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan and was seeking the District Council’s agreement to designating the whole of the Ardleigh Parish as the ‘Neighbourhood Development Plan Area’. Officers had recommended that the Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee agrees to this in order to allow the Parish Council to continue work on its plan.
· Alresford Parish Council was at a more advanced stage of preparing its Neighbourhood Plan, having prepared a draft and undertaken public consultation. The Parish Council now had to formally submit its final version to the District Council in order to initiate the next steps including final consultation, independent examination and local referendum.
· Neighbourhood Plans were designed to supplement the policies and proposals in the District Local Plan. Officers work constructively to assist the Parish Councils in preparing their Neighbourhood Plans to ensure this, as well as compliance with the various legal and policy requirements.
Members were informed that Neighbourhood Plans could be prepared by either Town and Parish Councils or other recognised neighbourhood forums in order to set out specific planning policies and proposals for their local area. Neighbourhood Plans must support and not prejudice the delivery of strategic policies in the District Local Plan but they could add an additional level of guidance and could propose additional developments aimed at addressing locally identified needs and aspirations. Once formally adopted, a Neighbourhood Plan formed part of the Statutory ‘Development Plan’, alongside the District Local Plan and became a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
It was reported that there was a formal process for preparing a Neighbourhood Plan that included the identification and confirmation of the ‘Neighbourhood Plan Area’; public consultation; independent examination; a local referendum; and formal adoption by the District Council as the Local Planning Authority. To date, Ardleigh Parish Council and Alresford Parish Council were the only bodies in Tendring that were actively involved in preparing Neighbourhood Plans.
Members were made aware that Ardleigh Parish Council was at the very beginning of the Neighbourhood Planning process having submitted an application to Tendring District Council to agree the proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan Area (NDPA). As was common with many Neighbourhood Plans, the Parish Council had applied for the whole of the Ardleigh Parish to be designated as the NDPA.
The Committee was advised that the proposed NDPA had to be formally approved for designation by the Local Planning Authority, although regulations and Government guidance dictated that where a Parish or Town Council simply applied to designate its own administrative area, the Local Planning Authority was expected to agree. Furthermore, an eight-week consultation on the proposed NDPA had been carried out earlier this year and it had attracted no objections. The Committee was therefore being asked to agree to the designation of Ardleigh Parish as a Neighbourhood Development Plan Area, thus allowing Ardleigh Parish Council to progress within the preparation of its Neighbourhood Plan.
It was noted that Neighbourhood Plans must compliment and not prejudice the policies and proposals in the District Local Plan. Therefore, Ardleigh Parish Council would need to ensure the policies and proposals in their Neighbourhood Plan did not prejudice the delivery of, amongst other schemes, the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community of which, pending the final outcome of the Section 1 Local Plan examination, a large proportion would be located in Ardleigh Parish.
The Committee was also informed that Alresford Parish Council was at a more advanced stage in the process and had prepared a draft Neighbourhood Plan that had been the subject of a seven-week public consultation. Officers had been assisting the Parish Council with comments and advice and had commissioned a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulation Assessment required as part of the process.
It was reported that some of the key policies and proposals in the emerging Alresford Neighbourhood Plan included new open spaces; additional protection for existing open spaces; the identification of important non-designated heritage assets; encouragement of developments of new housing for older people; and additional policy requirements aimed at incorporating wildlife into new development.
Members were advised that the Parish Council was now considering the comments received as part of the consultation exercise in order to determine whether any further changes to the Neighbourhood Plan were required.
It was further reported that the next step for Alresford was for the Parish Council to formally submit the revised draft Neighbourhood Plan to the District Council so that Officers could check that it complied with all relevant legislation. If it did, this Council would then hold a formal consultation exercise and appoint an independent Inspector to undertake an examination-in-public.
Having duly considered and discussed the contents of the report:-
It was moved by Councillor G V Guglielmi, seconded by Councillor Turner and:-
RESOLVED (a) that the application from Ardleigh Parish Council to designate the whole of the Ardleigh Parish as a Neighbourhood Development Plan Area (NDPA) be noted and that that designation be approved.
It was then moved by Councillor G V Guglielmi, seconded by Councillor Turner and:-
RESOLVED (b) that the progress of the Alresford Neighbourhood Development Plan be noted.