Neighbourhood Plan Review- Public Consultation
Introduction to our Review of Southwell Neighbourhood Plan
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is a policy document developed by a community and ratified by the local District Council, setting out rules and policies about how housing and economic development should take place in an area. The Southwell Neighbourhood Plan establishes the scale, design and type of housing
we should have, and also includes sections on Environmental policies, Design & Heritage, Transport & Access, Community Facilities and Green & Open Spaces. It cannot cover roads, medical services or schools Having an approved Plan gives Southwell a set of tools to use for developers to plan the types of development we believe are appropriate to meet our community’s needs. Not only that, it provides protection against alternative developments which may not be desirable to the local population. It also increases the percentage of the Community Infrastructure Levy the town receives from 15% to 25%. This is collected from developers by the District Council. Since the plan was adopted, the Town has received an additional £100,000 as result.
Some examples of the use of CIL money in the town adult exercise area at the War Memorial Recreation Ground, rejuvenation of Squires Pond, new play equipment at Norwood Gardens Play Area and new co-ordinated covers for the market stalls.
Why have we reviewed the Plan?
Southwell’s original Neighbourhood Plan was published in 2016. The Plan required it to have a partial review around 2021/22. There have been many updates to both National Government and District Council planning documents. These required a review and appropriate adjustment to wordings in our NP to reflect relevant changes to these policies. The revisions tighten up policies which have an impact on the natural environment in light of the Climate Emergency declared by the County, District and Town Councils. The District Council has been uneven in applying Neighbourhood Plan Policies and general guidance so we are tightening up other policies relating to, for example, flood mitigation measures. We have turned the Design Guide into Design Codes.
What has changed?
There are many minor changes and these are shown in the “Comparison Report on the Review of the Neighbourhood Plan”. The Evidence Base has been updated and planning laws and policies have been updated to the latest documents. The narrative about the town has been brought up to date. Environmental policies have been reinforced and new ones introduced to improve standards and in many cases where the plan previously stated “should” this has been changed to “shall” or “must”” to make policies stronger. The Flood Risk assessment and Mitigation policies have also been strengthened.
The Design Guide in the original plan was largely ignored and this has been re-written as Design Codes Additional protection has been added to many open spaces which are not covered by the District Council’s Local Plan, in the form of an updated “Green and Open Spaces” map and appendix 4 gives illustrated justifications for the inclusion of the additional areas.
Do the changes being proposed change the nature of the Neighbourhood Plan?
The regulations that apply to Neighbourhood Plans require that when consulting on proposed changes/modifications to a neighbourhood plan, the “qualifying body” (in this case Southwell Town Council) must state whether they believe that the modifications are so significant or substantial as to change the nature of the plan and give reasons for their opinion.
Southwell Town Council’s opinion is that although the modifications being proposed are “material” they do not change the nature of the Southwell Neighbourhood Plan, as originally made in 2016.
As outlined above, the proposed changes are intended to strengthen the Southwell Neighbourhood Plan. The proposed changes do not allocate any substantial additional areas of land for development, and they do not seek to alter in any fundamental way the Neighbourhood Plan’s approaches to development and conservation in Southwell. In the opinion of the Town Council, the proposed changes will improve the Neighbourhood Plan’s effectiveness in guiding and influencing decisions on development proposals, but they are not so significant or substantial as to change the nature of the Neighbourhood Plan. This means that, before they can be formally approved, the changes will require independent examination but not a referendum.
The above statement that Southwell Town Council is of the opinion that the modifications do not change the nature of the Southwell Neighbourhood Plan, as originally made in 2016, was inadvertently omitted when consultation on the proposed changes first began. The period for responding to the consultation has, therefore, been extended by 6 weeks, to end on 29th September 2023. If you responded before the consultation period was extended, there is no need to make any further response unless you wish to comment on the Town Council’s opinion on this particular matter. If you do wish to comment on this please do so by sending an email to “email@example.com”.
Our Neighbourhood Plan will be a constantly evolving document always taking account of new legislation and local circumstances. It is anticipated that the next review will start in 2029 For any further information please contact:-
Southwell Town Council
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