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Neighbourhood Planning Champions – Introduce Yourself!

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Amy Shepherd Amy Shepherd 1 year, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 26 total)
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  • #12132
    Profile photo of Gemma
    Gemma
    Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m Gemma, and I’m the Network Officer for My Community Network.

    This thread is for Neighbourhood Planning Champions to introduce themselves, get to know each other and to learn more about what others are up to across the country, as well as in their region.

    This is also a great place to practice with using the forum if it’s all a bit new and you’d prefer not to post in one of the live discussions before you’ve had a chance to try it out!

    You’ll need to be registered on Just Act to post in here. If you’re new to being a Neighbourhood Planning Champion, keep a look out for an email arriving shortly with a activation link to complete your registration as a Network member.

    If you need any help getting started please email communications@cdf.org.uk

    Once you’re registered, log in and introduce yourself! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

    Gemma

    #12135
    Profile photo of Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    **Gemma**

    Hi Gemma.

    NALC strongly encourages all Neighbourhood Planning Champions who are parish councillors to join in with this thread.

    Thanks,

    Chris (NALC)

    #12136
    Profile photo of Guy
    Guy
    Participant

    I am Cllr. Guy Martin and have been a Neighbourhood Planning Champion for Derbyshire for the past four years or so, originally by the CPRE/NALC set up and when that shutdown I carried on myself.

    I have visited Councils all over Derbyshire as well as Staffordshire & Yorkshire. My own Council has a NP in place since July 2015.

    I am hoping that we get much better support now than I had in the past when I had to produce most of the documents I handed to councils myself and would like to hear from other Champions about their experiences and if they have a NP in place in their area. My council area is responding to an appeal against a desision to refuse permission for around 200 houses on a very controversial piece of land and will have to cover the costs of a QC for the three day appeal in front of a Planning Inspector. .

    My email address is martinguy@aol.com

    Regards to all,

    Guy Martin

    #12137
    Profile photo of Guy
    Guy
    Participant

    Hi Chris,

    It would be very helpful if you could list what documents NALC can provide for NP Champions – through their membership of County Association of Local Councils . I am A Vice President etc. of DALC.

    Regards

    Guy

    #12164
    Profile photo of Chris
    Chris
    Participant

    **Guy**

    Dear Guy.

    Thank you for the message. Please see the separate e-mail I sent you offline about this.

    Thanks,

    Chris

    #12176
    Profile photo of Dan
    Dan
    Participant

    Hi,

    I am Daniel Stone and I’m a chartered town planner, working for the Centre for Sustainable Energy, a national charity working to combat climate change and fuel poverty.

    We’re halfway through a 2-year project, giving support to neighbourhood planning groups who are keen to develop “Low Carbon” neighbourhood plans.

    So far we have developed a Guidebook, collating all the best policy examples from different neighbourhood plans, covering issues such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, flooding and green infrastructure.”

    We’ve been updating the guidebook roughly once every 4 months to keep up with events (!) and the latest iteration, published this week, also includes suggested policies for retro-fitting historic buildings to improve their energy efficiency, and some tips we’ve picked up on community engagement & consensus building.

    The guidebook can be viewed on the following link: http://www.cse.org.uk/news/view/2012

    In addition, we’ve been giving hands on support to neighbourhood planning groups, both over the phone and in person including:

    – Support with the delivery of public events/consultations
    – Research for developing an evidence base
    – Support with drafting policy and reviewing draft policies

    We’re in touch with about 30 neighbourhood planning groups and have given detailed support to about 20 groups so far.

    Any groups who are interested to develop their own low carbon neighbourhood plan are welcome to get in contact for support. Likewise we would welcome further low carbon policy ideas for inclusion in the next edition of our guidebook.

    Many thanks for your time

    Daniel Stone

    0117 9341400
    dan.stone@cse.org.uk.

    #12178
    Profile photo of Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    Hello,

    I’m Jeff Rhodes, I’m a local resident volunteer rather than a Parish Councillor. I was asked by my Parish Council (Gnosall Parish Council in Staffordshire) to Chair the Neighbourhood Plan Working group, primarily for two reasons: (a) I’m a Chartered Town Planner and have worked in planning and development for around 30 years, both public and private sector and (b) I was an independent local resident, not on the Parish Council or part of any action group. That was in late 2013 and our Neighbourhood Plan is now in place, being adopted in November last year, the first NP in Stafford Borough. We were then approached to nominate a couple of Champions – hence me being here.

    As well as successfully producing a NP, start to finish in a couple of years I was particularly pleased to have done it at virtually nil cost to the local community. We had an initial £7K grant from Locality for some early stage planning consultancy support, but after that we did it ourselves. Obviously that was helped by the fact that I am a planner myself, plus a colleague on the group was skilled with document production and technical editing. That said, it did involve a lot of work in our spare time outside work, evenings and weekends. My first advice to any group starting off would be to think what skill sets you need and then put a call out in the community for volunteers with those skill sets to help out, especially if costs are a concern, which they always are. You may be surprised what local talents you have on your doorstep, which can save you a small fortune as well as providing better local knowledge than an external consultant.

    Details of our Neighbourhood Plan are on Gnosall Parish Council website
    http://www.gnosallparishcouncil.org.uk/index.php?page=Submission_Pack&MASH=

    I also did an article about it for the West Midlands RTPI branch newslwtter “Tripwire”
    http://www.gnosallparishcouncil.org.uk/index.php?page=NHP_JR

    The Parish Council has offered to host a “show and tell” type evening for other local NP groups as we’ve had a few enquiries.

    All the best

    Jeff

    #12226
    Profile photo of John
    John
    Participant

    Hi
    I’m John Evans, I am a Parish Councillor for Nettleham in the Lincolnshire District of West-Lindsey. Our village has about 3,500 residents and a vibrant shopping area a medical centre and about 50 small businesses. We are only about 2 miles from the City of Lincoln and fortunately have good bus service. It is a pretty village and a desirable place to live. Thats why local land owners are keen to build large housing estates here, which would clearly change the character of the village.

    The Parish Council decided to start the Neighbourhood Plan process in 2012 so we could decide where new housing should go and what was the appropriate scale of housing numbers per site. I was asked to lead/chair that committee, following from my leadership of the group that produced our 2007 Parish Plan and 2008 Village Design Statement.

    The journey has not been easy as planning is so full of contradictions and opinions. Our Plan is now at Referendum stage with voting on the 28th January and hopefully adoption at the March District Council meeting. When adopted we will have the first NDP in the District so there has been a lot of learning for everyone, including the LPA, through this process.

    Our District Council now has approximately 20 plans at various stages of the process in the District.

    We also have an out of date Local Plan and uncertainty over a 5 year housing supply (sound familiar?).

    We find that Planning Officers and Planning Committee Members are often very poorly informed about the significance of NDPs and the appropriate weight which they should be afforded and it seems to me there is an urgent case here for and Planning education programme on the subject for our Planning Professionals.

    I look forward to sharing experiences with others

    Regards

    John Evans

    #12228
    Profile photo of Guy
    Guy
    Participant

    Hi John,

    It sounds very much the same as happened in my parish – Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire.

    As soon as we started off with our NP some 4 years ago several planning applications were submitted as our local Borough Council did not have a five year supply of land and we now have planning granted for over 900 houses when we expected only 400-500 !!

    Our NP passed Referendum last July and the last application for 210 houses was refused and is appealed – it will be heard in April and we and the Borough Council are standing the costs of a QC each to fight it.

    The same developer has just submitted another application for the same piece of land but for 200 houses !

    We have also had three applications to build on designated Green Spaces – two refused and one to be decided next month.

    I do hope your referendum goes through ok – I think every one has done so.

    Best wishes

    Cllr. Guy Martin

    #12241
    Profile photo of Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    John, I think your last paragraph is very pertinent. Some LPAs and developers appear a bit slow to grasp that a NP is fundamentally NOT the same thing as a Local Plan. It follows a different, simpler process and there is a lot more scope for local variation, indeed that is an inherent part of the process. With ours its probably fair to say there was some initial frostiness with the LPA, particularly when they wanted us to use a specific, complex methodology for housing apportionment which they had developed (in draft for the next stage of their LP process) for Key Service Villages (which ours was). As mentioned, I’m a planner myself and did not agree with the approach they were suggesting, so we stuck to our guns and followed a much simpler population based “apportionment”. After some debate they ended up agreeing with us, recognising that there was nothing in the Local Plan which specified the approach to be used and that local variation was quite acceptable. Our approach also made the whole process simpler and quicker for us. From that point on we were on the same wavelength and they were very supportive. I think it just took a little while for them to adapt to the variations inherent in the NP process and to see it as a help rather than a threat.

    When it came to Examination, one of the housing developers also fell into the trap of thinking of our NP as if it were a Local Plan, complaining we hadn’t done this, that and the other and trying to rubbish our approach to housing allocation. We pointed out that their objections just proved they did not understand the difference between a NP and a LP. Thankfully the Examiner (Nigel McGurk no less) agreed with our approach and found the document and our methodology sound.

    #12242
    Profile photo of Guy
    Guy
    Participant

    Hi Jeff,

    Interesting your last sentence – we used Nigel McGurk for advice on finalising our NP and he was very useful to us – we are again using him to brief our QC to fight an appeal in April in Chapel-en-le-Frith Town Hall for 200+ houses.

    We also had similar problems with developers saying our NP was wrongly drawn up and that we should wait until our LPA produced their Local Plan !!

    Regards to all

    Guy

    #12243
    Profile photo of John
    John
    Participant

    Hi Jeff/Guy

    My key issue is when a NDP is made (adopted) it is then treated like a Local Plan. The lack of the 5 year supply means that the Local Plan is considered to be not up to date, so is ineffective against a “Sustainable Development”. This is then also applied to a NDP thus making the NDP ineffective until the 5 year supply is proven, or so I have been told. I feel this is fundamentally wrong and that once the NDP is in place it should not be subjected to the 5 yr supply issue which is strategic. The NDP has already been proven to comply with NPPF, Local Plan etc. I feel this approach/interpretation of the NPPF undermines the whole concept of localism.

    Guy – Was your comment about wrongly drawn up and waiting for the LPA to be finished sent in by Gladman Developments? We had a similar and lengthy submission from them at our reg 14 stage. They are apparently fighting NDPs all over the place (they have quite a reputation). They usually come up with legal sounding, but spurious arguments which our planning consultant Ann Skippers quickly put to bed.

    Regards
    John

    #12244
    Profile photo of Guy
    Guy
    Participant

    Hi John,
    Re Gladman Developments – I think that it was this company but not absolutely sure as it was some time ago, but certainly I recognised the name!!

    Regards

    Guy

    #12248
    Profile photo of David
    David
    Participant

    Hi, I’m David Baxter and we have set up a Neighbourhood Forum for Abram Ward, a ward within Wigan Borough. Having set up the Forum and chosen our designated area, we completed the 6 week public consultation in July 2015 and were approved by the Wigan Council cabinet to proceed in August 2016. We have commenced with further consultation via a survey, plus have designed a Minecraft curriculum in partnership with local schools to teach Year 5 primary school students in Neighbourhood Planning.

    We have received Technical support via AECOM and have looked at examples from other Plans from other parts of the country to see if our aims for the Plan are also taking place across the country.

    #12251
    Profile photo of Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    John
    Unfortunately I think that sort of situation is just going to be a fertile battleground for lawyers going forward until the inter-relationship between the NP and LP processes matures, possibly on the back of growing case law. Not an uncommon situation with any new system but you’re right, its far from ideal and does not give communities who have “done their bit” NP-wise much future confidence. I think all you can do is have a NP strategy towards housing/housing allocation which is as robust as it can be, in the context of the NP area in question. What you can’t be and aren’t expected to do through an NP is sort out the issue for the whole Local Plan area and other NPs in progress within that wider LP area. There is no statutory duty to co-operate when it comes to NPs, unlike LPs, so as long as you can justify your own approach and are not overtly anti development or relying on other areas to soak up too much then I think that’s all an NP can be reasonably be expected to address.

    Gladman are notorious, they also lodged a JR challenge to Stafford Borough’s Local Plan on 5 year HLS, but lost, thankfully, which then obviously gave our NP a solid LP platform when it came to Examination shortly afterwards.

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