Ashwell Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 16 Submission

Ended on the 15th April 2021
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1 Purpose of The Neighbourhood Plan

1.1 This document presents The Neighbourhood Plan ('the ANP') for the parish of Ashwell. It represents one part of the development plan for the parish over the period 2021 to 2031, the other parts being saved policies from the North Hertfordshire District Local Plan No. 2 with Alterations (April 1996). North Hertfordshire is well advanced in the process of developing a new Local Plan, which sets out a development strategy for the district up to 2031.

1.2 North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC), as the local planning authority, designated a Neighbourhood Area encompassing the parish on 24 March 2014 to enable the Parish Council to initiate the ANP.

1.3 The ANP is being prepared in accordance with The Town and Country Planning Act 1990, The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, The Localism Act 2011 and The Neighbourhood Development Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended). A Working Group, comprising local residents and councillors, has prepared the ANP to establish a vision and framework for the future of the parish and to set out how that vision will be realised through planning land use and development change over the plan period 2021 to 2031.

1.4 The purpose of the ANP is to structure development within the parish and provide guidance to any interested parties wishing to submit planning applications for development within the parish. In some cases it mirrors policies in the planning authority's Emerging Local Plan because that plan has not yet been 'made' and the village supports those policies. The ANP also provides a local context, clarifying how policies at a national and district level can operate at a parish level.

1.5 The process of producing the ANP has sought to involve the community as widely as possible and the different topic areas reflect matters that are of considerable importance to the parish, its residents, businesses and community groups.

1.6 Each section of the ANP covers a different topic. Under each heading there is the justification for the policies presented, which provides the necessary understanding of the policy and what it is seeking to achieve. The policies themselves are presented in the blue/grey boxes. NHDC will assess planning applications against both its own Local Plan and these policies. Supporting text and evidence documents have been compiled to underpin the ANP and each policy must be read in conjunction with them in order to understand its full meaning.

1.7 In addition to the policies, the ANP identifies a number of local needs and community aspirations that are not met through the planning system but which are important to the well-being of the community. It is proposed that these projects will be met through community action supported by other organisations.

1.8 Figure 1.1 below shows the boundary of the ANP designated area, which shares its boundary with the Parish of Ashwell.


National policy

1.9 The ANP must have regard to the policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

1.10 The NPPF states:

"Neighbourhood planning gives communities the power to develop a shared vision for their area. Neighbourhood plans can shape, direct and help to deliver sustainable development, by influencing local planning decisions as part of the statutory development plan. Neighbourhood plans should not promote less development than set out in the strategic policies for the area, or undermine those strategic policies. (para 29)

Once a neighbourhood plan has been brought into force, the policies it contains take precedence over existing non-strategic policies in a local plan covering the neighbourhood area, where they are in conflict; unless they are superseded by strategic or non-strategic policies that are adopted subsequently". (para 30)

1.11 This Regulation 16 version of the ANP has been prepared and submitted to NHDC in accordance with the revised NPPF published in February 2019.

Local policy

1.12 The North Hertfordshire District Local Plan No.2 With Alterations[1] (the Saved Plan 1996) was adopted in 1996 and sets out the planning policies for the District. Under The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, many of the policies in this plan expired on 27 September 2007, with the exception of those which were given permission from the Secretary of State to endure beyond this date. That permission has been granted in respect of 33 of the policies.

1.13 An updated Local Plan for NHDC to 2031 is currently being developed which will supersede the current documents. The pre-submission consultation (Regulation 19) for the Emerging Local Plan has taken place and it was submitted for examination on 9 June 2017; the examination process is ongoing.

1.14 The Emerging Local Plan is seeking to deliver a minimum of 15,950 new homes, and at least 30.5 hectares of B-class employment space and associated sui-generis uses, across the district over the period to 2031. Approximately 80% of housing delivery will be focussed on the larger settlements, 11% on villages identified for growth and the remainder on smaller villages, including Ashwell.

1.15 The ANP must be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the adopted Local Plan. It must conform to the saved strategic policies in the Saved Plan 1996 and the Emerging Local Plan. Whilst the Emerging Local Plan is not yet adopted, it has reached the examination stage, and the NPPF (2019) para 48 states that "Local planning authorities may give weight to relevant policies in emerging plans" according to a set of criteria including what stage it has reached. The 'Emerging Local Plan' is therefore a material consideration and has provided much of the strategic context for the ANP.

Consultation

1.16 The ANP has been produced by a Working Group comprising local residents and parish councillors, on behalf of the Parish Council. They have consulted within the community by means of village surveys, consultation events and direct discussion with a number of special interest groups. The Working Group has taken into consideration previous community consultations such as the village appraisals done in 1976 and 1994, the Ashwell Village Design Statement 2000, as amended in 2018 (Appendix E) and the 2007 Ashwell Parish Plan (see Figure 1.2 ).

1.17 The ANP encompasses those matters that are of most concern to the community, including:

  • Housing and development.
  • Design.
  • The local economy.
  • Sport, leisure and recreation.
  • Health.
  • Education.
  • The natural and historic environment.
  • Traffic and transport.

1.18 The emerging document has been shared with the local community at regular stages in the development allowing the parishioners to be included in the ANP's direction and progress. The policies that have been developed are influenced by the results of three village surveys undertaken in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The ANP represents the views of parishioners, as expressed in these surveys.

1.19 Regular meetings and close liaison with North Hertfordshire District Council have taken place on each of the topic areas covered by the ANP. In addition, regular updates have been provided to the parishes bordering the neighbourhood area.

1.20 The Consultation Statement is part of the ANP submitted documentation.

Year

Nationally

Locally

1976

Ashwell Village Appraisal

1986

North Hertfordshire Rural Settlements Study

1990

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 ('the Act'),

1994

Ashwell Village Appraisal

2000

Ashwell Village Design Statement, revised 2018.

2007

Ashwell Parish Plan

2012

The Localism Act (2011) passed into law

2012

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

2012

The Neighbourhood Plan Regulations 2012

2013

Creation of the ANP Working Group

2015

Housing survey for the ANP

2016

Business survey for the ANP

2017

General survey for the ANP

2018

First village consultation on the ANP

2019

Submission of the ANP to NHDC Regulation 14 v1

2020

Second village consultation for the ANP

Submission of the ANP to NHDC Regulation 14 v2

2021

Submission of the ANP to NHDC Regulation 16

2021

Submission of the ANP to the Inspector

2021

NHDC consultation on the ANP

Figure 1.2 Dates relevant to the ANP

Sustainability of the ANP

1.21 The ANP has been screened to determine whether a Strategic Environmental Assessment and/or a Habitats Regulation Assessment are required. Three statutory bodies were consulted – Historic England, Natural England and the Environment Agency. They determined that the ANP did not need an SEA or HRA.



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