The Localism Act of 2011 gave new rights and powers to communities. It introduced Neighbourhood Planning into the hierarchy of spatial planning in England, giving communities the right to shape their future development at a local level. Crucially, it is designed to enable local people and communities to strongly influence how development will occur locally.
Neighbourhood planning has the potential to:
All Neighbourhood Plans must:
Unlike Parish Plans - Wistaston launched their Parish Plan in 2010 - a Neighbourhood Plan becomes a formal part of the planning system. It forms part of the Local Development Plan and sits alongside the Local Plan prepared by the local authority. Planning applications will need to be decided against both the Local Plan and any appropriate Neighbourhood Plans, and any other material considerations.
The Parish Council believes that without strong planning policies any future developments run the risk of being unsuitable, unsustainable and potentially damaging to the parish over the long term. The Parish Council strongly believes that a Neighbourhood Plan will address concerns surrounding future development.
A Neighbourhood Plan supplements Cheshire East Council’s planning policies, and sets out our community’s vision on development and use of land in the parish.
The Parish Council is the responsible body for developing the plan. Councillors will lead the Steering Group, but they will also involve community groups, businesses and residents.
There are several stages which have to be completed when preparing a Neighbourhood Plan and the purpose of the Residents Survey is to give the Steering Group a broad outline of the issues residents would like to see contained within a Neighbourhood Plan.
There will be further public consultations - for example, Questionnaire, meetings and events, website, notices in the Village Newsletter which the Steering Group will use to help them engage with the community and to give you the opportunity to have your say as well as to see the progress of the plan.
Once the plan is prepared, it will be subject to independent examination to ensure it complies with all the planning regulations. The examiner will issue a report and if the Examiner recommends that the draft Neighbourhood Plan can proceed, then the local authority will organise for a referendum to be carried out. If a majority of over 50% of those voting support the Plan, then the local authority will adopt the Neighbourhood plan as part of the development plan.
Following the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan, planning applications will still be determined by the local planning authority in the normal way, but taking into account policies in our Neighbourhood Plan as well as the Local Plan.
The Neighbourhood Plan is ‘by the community for the community’ and it is important for us all to take every opportunity to help influence and shape how our Village develops and evolves over the next twenty years.