What is a Neighbourhood Plan - what is in it and what is not in it?
A Neighbourhood Plan (NP) provides an overall vision for land use in a particular area. It helps to provide evidence to help the local and regional Council make better decisions on planning.
- identifies a vision for the area
- helps understand how land is used
- helps provide detailed planning policies setting out for example, how new development should be designed and where it should be located
- sets out proposals for improving the area as well as proposing sites to host key facilities
- helps to allocate sites for different types of development
- is not a tool to prevent development proposals
- does not cover the quality of public utilities and services (e.g. water, Royal Mail)
How often can they be reviewed?
There should normally be a short review after five years, a fuller review after ten years and, also, five years before the end of the Plan’s period.
Why does Bollington wish to review theirs now?
When the original NP was adopted in 2018, although Cheshire East Council had completed their Local Plan Strategy document, they had not completed their Site Allocations document, which was only finally completed in 2022. Although no specific allocations of housing number were made, there remained targets for new houses up to 2030 for Cheshire East, including Bollington. As we are 13 years into the present Local Plan period, we need to be considering how we wish to see Bollington develop after 2030 and to start considering the period up to 2040. There has been a significant increase in the need to consider the effects of climate change, as well as to evaluate the impact of Covid and to assess social and demographic changes.
Does a Neighbourhood Plan form a policy document?
Once adopted, Neighbourhood Plans are effectively part of the higher tier Local Authority Local Plan and the policies of the Neighbourhood Plan must be taken into account in any planning decisions.
What exactly is the process?
The Neighbourhood Plan (NP) has to conform to the National Planning Policy Framework and to the Cheshire East Local Plan. However, the Neighbourhood Plan can set out policies which reflect the wishes of the local community for the future development of its own area within the constraints of the higher-level planning documents. In order for the NP to reflect wishes of local people there must be a process of consultation of the community and when proposals for the policies of the NP have been decided they have to be checked by an independent Planning Inspector as being consistent with Government and Local Authority requirements they then have to be approved by a referendum amongst residents of the NP parish area.
What can I do to help?
In order to review the policies and objectives which were adopted in 2018 and take a forward look to 2040, we need to recruit a number of keen and interested residents to join one or more of the Working Groups we are setting up to review specific sectors in the Plan and to establish whether there is additional material that needs to be added. These sectors comprise Employment Business & Retail, Housing, Built Environment, Heritage Tourism & Leisure, Green Environment and Climate Change, Moving Around, Green Belt and Settlement Boundary Review. Also needed is help in creating publicity or communication.
Therefore, please come along to one of the public meetings in December 2023. When the questionnaire is published, it will be essential for as many people to fill it in as possible. This will provide a rich data source which can then be built into the new Neighbourhood Plan.
Email [email protected]
Where does a Neighbourhood Plan fit in with Cheshire East Council as well as with Bollington Town Council planning?
The Planning Authority which determines all planning applications for developments is Cheshire East Council (CEC). Bollington Town Council (BTC) is consulted and given the opportunity to comment on all planning applications within its parish boundary but final decisions are taken at CEC level. The policies of Neighbourhood Plan document must be taken into account in the recommendations of BTC and in the decisions of CEC.
What is the timeframe to produce the updated Neighbourhood Plan?
The Steering Committee intends to hold two preliminary public meetings in December 2023 to get initial views from the community on relevant topics and to recruit members from the community to join Working Groups to develop updated Objectives and Policies. It is hoped to issue a questionnaire in about February 2024 to all houses in the parish area seeking views on topics such as the needs for future Housing, Business and Retail, the Green Environment, the Built Environment, Culture & Leisure, Travel & Transport. After a consultation period of 4 to 6 weeks, the results from the Questionnaire will be analysed and the Working Groups will consider and recommend what changes are needed to the Objectives and Policies of the NP and produce a draft of a revised Plan. It is hoped that this will be achieved by about the end of March 2024.
There will be consultation with the Cheshire East Council Neighbourhood Planning Advisory Team to determine what statutory processes are then required. If the changes from the existing Plan are substantial, it will be necessary for the revised Plan to have a formal examination by an Independent Planning Inspector and for there to be a referendum amongst Bollington residents. The target for completion of these procedures and adoption of the Updated Plan will be about mid-2024.
Who is involved?
There is a Steering Committee (SC) of 14 members, 4 of whom are either or both Bollington Town or Cheshire East Councillors, and 9 independent volunteers from the community including an independent Chair and Secretary plus the Town Clerk who acts as Treasurer / Finance Officer. The overall membership of the SC has been approved by the Town Council. The Working Groups will involve other members from the community but will be chaired by members of the Steering Committee
When was the last Bollington Neighbourhood Plan?
The last one was published in 2018.
I heard it goes to a vote in the community. When will that be and how will it work?
The formal requirements for development of a Neighbourhood Plan have a series of set stages prescribed in the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations from 2012. The draft Plan is submitted to Cheshire East Council (CEC) at Stage 15 for it to publicise the Plan and seek any representations about it as Stage 16. At Stage 17 the Plan is submitted by the Local Authority for Examination by an Independent Planning Examiner who may well require amendments to the Plan to ensure that it conforms with legal requirements. Stage 18 is the publication of the Examiners Report and at Stage 19 the Local Authority must publish their decision to make or refuse to make the Neighbourhood Plan. A referendum open to all adult residents in the community is held after the Plan has been confirmed as acceptable by the Independent Examination.
Where can I find the draft documents?
The Steering Committee will be publishing a series of draft documents so that interested parties can have a look at them before they are finalised and included in the new Neighbourhood Plan. You can take a look at them by clicking the link below. Please be advised the contents in these documents are likely to change, and you can tell this by the date and version number which will be included on each one.
Who does the Steering Committee consult with?
The Steering Committee will consult relevant statutory authorities as necessary and the local community will be consulted through a questionnaire and through public meetings and the final referendum.
What are the legal requirements when producing a Neighbourhood Plan?
All neighbourhood plans must meet ‘the basic conditions’ set out in planning legislation. These relate to having regard to national policy, achieving sustainable development and general conformity with strategic local policy. The plan must also comply with human rights law.
Who are the people on the Steering Committee and what are their roles?
Chair – Michael Burdekin
Vice Chair – Cllr Judy Snowball
Treasurer – Julie Mason (Town Clerk)
Communications – Sandra Macartney
Secretary – Marion BoSmith
Cllr Ken Edwards
Cllr Nigel Macartney
Cllr John Place
Nicole Roberts Morris
Are the Minutes of the Steering Group available for me to see?
The Minutes of the Steering Group will be published on the website.
How can I get in touch with you?
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 01625 572985 (Town Hall)
Or write to Bollington Town Council and address your correspondence to:
Bollington Town Council
34-36 Wellington Rd,