Preston Parish Neighbourhood Plan 2018 - 2031 - February 2019

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2. How the Neighbourhood Plan was Prepared – Our Journey Begins

June 14 2016

Designated Area approved

June 26 2016

Village Meeting decision to produce a Neighbourhood Plan

July 14 2016

Steering Group Inaugural Meeting

September 8 2016

Neighbourhood Plan website launched

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October 2016

CPRE Training Day

November 5 2016

Drop in session – draft of Adult Questionnaire piloted

November 6 2016

The Insight Fountain engaged

December 2016

Young Residents' Questionnaire piloted Questionnaires designed and printing commissioned

January 12 – 15 2017

Main delivery phase of Questionnaires

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Jan 16 – Feb 7 2017

Continued delivery of outstanding Questionnaires

Jan 28 – Feb 10 2017

Collection of completed Questionnaires

February 13 2017

Analysis begun

March 6 2017

Initial analysis results review with The Insight Fountain

March 9 2017

Additional analysis of open questions

April 2017

Report completed and printed

April 30 2017

Report presented to Parishioners


October 5 & 7 2017

Village 'Drop In' Sessions: Proposed Vision and Objectives

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October 8 - 21 2017

Online Village Consultation: Proposed Vision and Objectives


Jan 1 – Feb 18 2018

Publicity for Regulation 14 Consultation (electronic, print and posters)

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Jan 8 – Feb 18 2018

Regulation 14 Consultation


January 11 & 13 and

February 8 & 10 2018

Village 'Drop In' Sessions: Regulation 14 Consultation. A total of 36 people attended: 9 in January and 27 in February

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January 8 2018

Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening Determination Consultation, organised by NHDC


February – March 2018

All comments considered. Spreadsheet of comments and actions prepared. Regulation 14 draft amended to Submission draft


April 27 2018

Submission Version – 2018, submitted to NHDC


May 24 – July 5 2018

Regulation 16 Consultation



2.1 The Steering Group recognised that effective communication and community engagement were essential to informing and involving residents in the development of the Plan. The mechanisms to achieve this are summarised below.

2.2 The Preston Parish Neighbourhood Plan Website www.preston-np.org.ukhas been central to the Neighbourhood Plan communication process. The website keeps residents and other interested parties informed during each phase of the development of the Plan. It contains up to date news, information on developing the Plan, all Steering Group papers, minutes of meetings, consultation results, all Neighbourhood Plan documents and contact information.

2.3 Updates on progress have also been provided in the free parish magazine which is hand delivered monthly to all households in the parish, as well as being published on the village website. www.prestonvillageherts.com

2.4 Throughout the development of the Neighbourhood Plan the Steering Group has kept in close communication with Officers and local Councillors from NHDC.

2.5 The Steering Group has also used posters displayed on notice boards within the parish and flyers delivered to every household, updates at all Parish Council meetings, drop in sessions to share updates and garner opinions from parishioners and word of mouth to spread news of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan. Please see examples in the Consultation Statement Appendix.

2.6 Following the Parish Meeting, the Parish Council asked residents to come forward if they were interested in being part of a Steering Group to guide and produce a Neighbourhood Plan. The first meeting of the Steering Group took place on Thursday 16 July 2016 comprising a Chairman, Vice Chair, Parish Council representative, Clerk and 2 other members. During the following two months the Steering Group developed a Constitution, Code of Conduct and Project Plan.

2.7 Between August and the end of the year the focus was on the development of a comprehensive Questionnaire. During the drafting stage, five key themes emerged: Quality of Life, Amenities and Facilities, Housing and Development, Environment and Heritage and Transport and Communication.

2.8 In January 2017 the Questionnaire was personally distributed to every household in the parish. One Questionnaire for each adult of 16 years or older, one Youth Questionnaire for each young person aged 10-15 and all under 10's were invited to write or draw something that depicted why they liked living in Preston. The results were again collected personally by a band of volunteers. 150 out of 165 Households took part with a 91% response rate. 302 out of 336 adults took part, giving a 90% individual adult response rate. 24 out of 28 young people took part giving an 86% individual youth response rate.

2.9 The results were analysed during February and March by Becky Lewis of The Insight Fountain who said "We can be confident that the data is robust and is based on a sample that is representative of the population of Preston in 2017 giving reliable and valid results." The full Questionnaire and Analysis Report can be found in the Consultation Statement Appendix.

2.10 In April 2017 the Report was completed and printed and on 30 April it was presented at a Village Meeting following which every household in the parish was given a full copy of the Report. The meeting was publicised: online, in newsletters, via e-mails and with flyers – as part of which any business, resident in the parish, were also asked to express their views.

2.11 In October 2017 two drop in sessions (one on a weekday evening and one on a Saturday morning) were held, to gain residents' views on the draft Vision and Objectives for the Neighbourhood Plan. The drafts were also hosted on the website for residents to leave views and comments. All known local landowners were also invited. Not all of these acknowledged our communication and of those who did only the St. Paul's Walden Estate attended.

2.12 A Consultation Statement has been produced to accompany the Neighbourhood Plan. The statement outlines the process of community engagement, lists consultees, and describes the consultation techniques used and events held, including reports of events.

2.13 The extensive community engagement in the Neighbourhood Plan survey helped to prepare a draft vision and set of objectives that were subsequently supported by residents. In particular, the presentation that was given to residents on April 30 2017 used the survey results to draw out what was important to the community and what improvements they would like to see. For example, the survey provided evidence on the preference that was expressed for small developments of homes to suit a variety of local needs; this was translated into Objectives H1 and H3. (The Neighbourhood Plan Survey Meeting Results Presentation can be found at Appendix 10 of the Consultation Statement).

2.14 The policies in the plan set out how these objectives will be achieved in order to fulfil residents' aspirations. For example, Policies HD1, HD3 and HD4 have been written to guide the size, type and tenure of new homes.

2.15 Regulation 14 Consultation took place between 8 January and 18 February 2018. This included four drop-in sessions with 36 attendees. Comments were received from a total of 75 individuals and organisations. In addition to the comments which provided support for the Neighbourhood Plan, over 120 helpful suggestions were made.

2.16 The publicity for the regulation 14 consultation included contacting parishioners through the Village Newsletter, by email through the Parish Council and Preston Trust email lists, posters throughout the parish and via the Preston Parish Neighbourhood Plan Website. The website hosted a copy of the draft Neighbourhood Plan and a comments form. Hard copies of the draft Plan were also available to borrow and a copy was available in The Red Lion. There was also a telephone line (01462 434403) open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Four drop in sessions were held in the Village Hall on 11 and 13 January and 8 and 10 February 2018 (two on a Thursday evening and two on a Saturday morning) and the community were encouraged to attend to talk through the draft Plan and ask questions to clarify understanding or to discuss specific issues. Three computer stations with monitors were set up for anyone who wished to run through the draft Plan and complete the comments form there and then.

2.17 In January 2018 a Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening Determination report was commissioned by North Herts District Council which concluded that The Preston Neighbourhood Plan is not likely to have significant effects on the environment and therefore a SEA is not required.

2.18 The Regulation 16 Consultation, organised by NHDC, was conducted for a 6 week period from May 24 to July 5 2018. Responses were made available online by NHDC and were used by the Steering Group to amend and enhance the Neighbourhood Plan and to ensure it complied with the policies of the emerging NHDC Local Plan 2011- 2031.

2.19 Following the publication of the Inspector's main modifications to the NHDC Local Plan Submission, the Parish Council decided to review the modifications and make appropriate changes to this Neighbourhood Plan in line with the emerging Local Plan. The Second Submission draft was sent to NHDC on February 11 2019.

2.20 In January 2019, a second Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening Determination report was commissioned by North Herts District Council.

Evidence Base

Evidence to support the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan was gathered continuously throughout the preparation process. The analysis, objectives and policies in the plan have drawn on a wide variety of sources. These include:

  • The evidence base for North Herts District Plan
  • The NPPF published in July 2018
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • The Office for National Statistics: 2011 Census
  • English Heritage
  • Hertfordshire Environmental Records Centre
  • The views of local residents, landowners and businesses from questionnaire responses, exhibitions and meetings
  • Neighbourhood Plans from Parish Councils throughout England
  • Environmental research on the Wildlife of the Parish carried out by Dr. Jane Sears
  • Information from a History of Preston in Hertfordshire by Philip Wray
  • HCC: Hertfordshire Historic Environment Record
  • NHDC: North Hertfordshire Museum
  • Ordnance Survey
  • National Biodiversity Network data
  • Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
  • The Hertfordshire Gardens Trust

More detailed information on the evidence base can be found in the Consultation Statement and in the Appendices and supporting documents accompanying the Neighbourhood Plan.

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