What is the Neighbourhood Plan?
In the Localism Act of 2011, the Government gave communities the right to shape development in their areas via the production of a Neighbourhood Plan.
A Neighbourhood Plan can be used to: -
Develop a shared vision for a village or town
Influence where new homes, shops, offices and other development should be built
Identify and protect important local green spaces
Influence what new buildings should look like
Influence the infrastructure and amenities that support the area
Neighbourhood Plans are generally prepared by either Parish Councils or Neighbourhood Forums. In our case, the Codicote Neighbourhood Plan is being prepared by Codicote Neighbourhood Forum, under the authority of Codicote Parish Council. To find our more about the Forum, please click here.
A Neighbourhood Plan is prepared in consultation with local residents and businesses and with the support (but not interference) of the local Planning Authority. Once the draft Plan has been written, it will be presented to the local authority, who will ensure that the proper process has been followed and then appoint an independent inspector to check it.
Once approved, the Neighbourhood Plan will be submitted to the community by way of a referendum. If more than 50% of voters are in favour of the plan, the local authority must the adopt it.
Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan has legal force in setting our what development is acceptable in our Parish and for what reasons. Developers and local planners will have to take notice of it.
What about the Local Plan?
As most readers will be aware, our District Council is in the process of preparing a new Local Plan. This Local Plan includes Codicote Parish and indeed recommends significant housing growth, in particular via four large development sites.
The NHDC Local Plan will shortly go to the Government's independent inspector and the inspector's verdict is not expected until the end of 2017.
Our Neighbourhood Plan is not allowed to contradict the strategic policies of the Local Plan. If the Local Plan is approved, the Neighbourhood Plan is unlikely to be able to stop the proposed development. It will however give us a much stronger voice in guiding the development to ensure that it is as suitable as possible for the Parish, that it comes in tandem with the required infrastructure and that it produces the greatest possible benefit to the community. Without a Neighbourhood Plan in place, we will have very little influence over any of these matters.
Naturally the Neighbourhood Plan will seek to promote sustainable levels of housing growth in the Parish and may yet be able to have a significant influence on this, especially if the Local Plan is not approved.