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Neighbourhood Plan Project 2013 to 2015

Background

Herstmonceux Parish Council is developing a Neighbourhood Plan for all or part of the parish. A Neighbourhood Plan is a mechanism for helping communities, including both local residents and businesses influence the planning of the area in which they live and work. It can be used to:

SCOPING REPORT FOR SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL

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Parish Responses

Click here to view responses received by the Steering Group.

Herstmonceux Neighbourhood Plan: Site Promotions

As you are aware, Herstmonceux Parish Council has applied to Wealden District Council to designate the parish as a ‘Neighbourhood Area’ under the 2012 Neighbourhood Planning Regulations.

The Parish Council expects to make speedy progress with the plan, aiming to submit it for examination in November 2013. It recognises the importance of providing the local community and developers with greater certainty in respect of how the parish will translate the strategic policies of the emerging Local Plan into local land use allocations, policies and infrastructure project priorities.

As a matter of principle, the Parish Council anticipates proposing a plan that seeks to accommodate the scale of housing development proposed in the Local Plan, for it to be in conformity with that Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). However, an initial review of the housing-related evidence base, and the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) in particular, indicates that land potentially suitable for housing in the parish may have a greater capacity than that required in the plan period.

The Parish Council will therefore have choices for which sites it allocates in the plan and it will seek to devise site selection criteria of a finer grain than the SHLAA for this purpose. A key feature in these criteria is likely to be the extent to which proposals can deliver clear and direct community benefits. This may be through the type and tenure of the housing provision or by enabling infrastructure improvements. For such potential to be properly and transparently assessed, the Parish Council will need to review all sites alongside its community survey and its review of the full evidence base, including SHLAA.

The Parish Council is mindful that developers may be considering submitting planning applications for housing development before the plan is submitted for examination. It is of the view that this will only hinder its ability to carry out such a proper assessment and will divert its scarce resources into commenting on applications. Most importantly, it may undermine the local community’s confidence in the plan being able to manage future development and may therefore be perceived as undermining the process.

In which case, should an application for any significant scale of housing be submitted in advance of the plan being submitted, the Parish Council will inform the district council of its objection. It will also strongly encourage a refusal of the application on the grounds of prematurity, in accordance with Government guidance, as the timetable for submitting the plan will show it is being prepared efficiently within the coming months and will not therefore unduly hinder the supply and delivery of new housing in the area.

The council very much hopes that developers with interests in the parish will heed this advice and take this early opportunity to provide the Parish Council with a written overview of those interests and of any development proposals in the pipeline. The council may invite developers to meet with it during the course of collating the evidence base and/or in preparing the Pre-Submission Plan.

I would therefore be grateful if you could provide such an overview to me by 20 May 2013. Your information will be shared by the Council’s Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and with its project consultants, Action in rural Sussex/rCOH Ltd.