Published October 2020
Why have we produced a Neighbourhood Plan?
In 2011 the Localism Act gave parish councils the opportunity to prepare Neighbourhood Plans. The adoption of the South Worcestershire Development Plan in February 2016 identified several strategic locations for housing, employment and infrastructure growth in and immediately adjacent to the parish. This highlighted the need for the local community to have more influence over that future development. Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council applied to designate the whole of the parish as a Neighbourhood Plan Area in October 2016 and the designation was secured on the 11 January 2017. The Parish Council subsequently successfully bid for funding from the Government to help prepare the Neighbourhood Plan.
Neighbourhood planning provides an opportunity for local people to influence the planning and development of the area in which they live and work. It gives the community a real say over local decision making, it can help to achieve goals through the planning system and address the challenges and opportunities facing the future vitality of the parish. Our draft Plan is intended to last until 2030 and provides:
– a shared vision for the parish;
– some broad objectives which we think we help to deliver the vision; and
– a set of policies which will make the vision a reality.
Our Neighbourhood Plan once adopted will become part of the statutory Local Development Plan alongside the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) 2016, the adopted Worcestershire Waste Core Strategy and the saved policies of the County of Hereford and Worcester Minerals Local Plan . In simple terms this means that any planning decisions in the parish will have to be taken in accordance with policies in our Neighbourhood Plan.
What has happened so far?
The Parish Council established a small Steering Group which comprised councillors and local residents; membership of this group has evolved over time but core members have continued to meet regularly over the past three years to produce the Plan and report back to the Parish Council. In November 2018 the Parish Council instructed BPA independent planning consultants to guide the preparation of the Plan and to provide professional planning advice.
The Steering Group sought to formally designate the parish as A Neighbourhood Area in October 2016; this was subsequently approved in January 2017. Throughout the Plan preparation process the Steering Group has engaged with members of our community to gain an understanding of the issues affecting them and any opportunities for development in the parish. Information has been gathered through a residents’ questionnaire delivered to every household in the parish in April 2018 and a business questionnaire delivered to every known business in the parish in April 2019. Once results of these questionnaires had been analysed and the key issues identified and researched, the community were invited to attend a consultation event held on 21 and 22 February 2020 at two venues in the parish. This sought the community’s views on the overarching Vision and Objectives of the Plan and the shortlisted sites that the Steering Group had identified to designate as Local Green Space.Conversations have also been held with Norton Juxta Kempsey C of E Primary School as it changed to primary status (increasing its intake to include children in years 5 and 6); this was to ascertain whether there were any land use issues or requirements that could be delivered through the Neighbourhood Plan. A constant and open dialogue has been maintained with Wychavon District Council with regard to the emerging Local Plan review and also with Worcestershire County Council in relation to the Worcestershire Parkway development and its associated infrastructure.
Updated information has previously been shared here on our website, through features in the Norton-juxta-Kempsey Neighbourhood Plan parish newsletter, and promoted on the Facebook pages of various community groups in the parish.
We have used local opinions to shape the content of the Plan and have undertaken extensive research to support our policy development. We are now in October 2020 able to share the draft Plan with you and hope that you take the opportunity to tell us what you think. Any responses we receive from you have to be responded to though a Consultation Report and we will then make any necessary changes to the Plan before submitting it to Wychavon District Council as set out in the diagram below.
What happens next?
Wychavon District Council will carry out a further statutory six week consultation before appointing an independent examiner to consider the plan and any representations made during their consultation stage. The independent examiner’s task is limited to considering whether the Plan meets the basic conditions. A Plan must:
- conform with EU and UK law;
- conform with the requirements of Chapter 8 of Part 6 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017;
- conform with the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 (NPPF);
- be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Development Plan, the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP); and
- contribute to sustainable development.
The independent examiner will prepare a report that can recommend that the Plan proceeds to local referendum; proceeds to local referendum with appropriate modifications; or does not meet the basic conditions and should not proceed to referendum. Assuming it proceeds to referendum, Wychavon District Council will organise for a parish referendum to take place; this is a public vote where all parishioners on the electoral roll are invited to vote on the Plan. If the referendum vote is in favour of the Plan, then we can go through to the final stages needed for it to become part of Wychavon District’s statutory Development Plan, which means it must be taken into account when planning applications and appeals are determined in the parish.