As experts in policy development we can assist your community in developing a Neighbourhood Plan that meets your needs, conforms to requirements and will be passed by an Independent Examiner
It is likely that you’ll consult at least three times with your community whilst developing a Neighbourhood Plan. The first consultation will be to understand the issues relating to development and for resident’s ideas and views in relation to green spaces, important views, heritage assets, whether to allocate land for development within the plan, what type of housing is needed etc. The second consultation will be much more refined – specifically determining support for housing allocations or specific Local Green Spaces that will be designated. The third will be the Regulation 14 consultation on your draft plan and is the stage that has to follow specific requirements set out in national policy.
Design is a key area where the neighbourhood plan can have influence. This relates to the appearance of buildings, but also their layout, scale, density and how the building and area functions. We have in the past assisted communities to undertake Character Appraisals (see Tilney All Saints Appraisal), however, there is now a comprehensive package of technical support available to local communities through Locality, including Design Guidelines. Most communities we work with commission AECOM, through Locality to undertake this work, however, there remains real benefit from communities being heavily involved in this aspect. Ultimately the design policy within your Neighbourhood Plan will be underpinned by this evidence.
It’s increasingly common for the Neighbourhood Plans we support to include an ecological network – which becomes a focus of biodiversity gains achieved through development and also community actions to improve habitat. CCP has a good working relationship with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust who will support identification of the network. Below is a map of the green infrastructure corridors for the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan. A good example to review of a plan that strongly supports the natural environment is Filby Neighbourhood Plan – this received praise from Natural England at Regulation 14. Filby’s plan has recently been submitted to the Local Authority for Examination.
There are benefits to allocating sites for development within your Neighbourhood Plan so we always encourage groups to give this consideration, and ask for residents’ views during the first consultation. We’ve worked on a range of plans that allocate sites – from those allocating a small number of homes and those delivering the entire housing requirement (500 around Diss) on behalf of the district council. Rollesby’s Neighbourhood Plan allocated both residential sites and a mixed-use site for office / start-up business. Rollesby were very creative with their vision for the Neighbourhood Plan, seeking to join up two parts of the village through housing growth, and creating a new area of green space within the village centre.
Really special public views can also be given some protection in Neighbourhood Plans. We have developed a template to help communities consider which views can be included and have completed assessment work on behalf of some groups including Grimston, Congham and Roydon.
Local Green Spaces
It is common for Neighbourhood Plans to include a policy that protects special green areas within the community as Local Green Spaces (LGS). This gives them strong protection against future development that is equivalent to Green Belt. It’s important for each LGS to meet national criteria and we’ve developed a template to support communities to assess potential green areas. Below is the Policy Map included within Poringland’s Neighbourhood Plan which has been through examination, awaiting referendum, to demonstrate the LGS designations identified.
Non-Designated Heritage Assets
We encourage communities to consider whether there are heritage assets that they would like to include within their Neighbourhood Plan which do not already have some form of protection (ie listed building status). We support them to review the Historic Environment Record and assess the assets in line with Historic England’s guidance on local listings. This assessment will be required at examination to support their inclusion within the plan. CCP has good links with the Norfolk Historic Environment Service who can support this work for the plan. Below is a map of non-designated heritage assets identified within Fleggburgh Neighbourhood Plan which has just been through Regulation 14 consultation.
Principle Residence Housing
A number of communities we’ve worked with have included a policy on Principle Residence Housing in their Neighbourhood Plan. This introduces requires all new homes to be occupied as the sole or main home of the occupant – rather than be used as a second or holiday home. This needs to be supported by sufficient justification and evidence of impact which can be gathered by looking at data such as council tax and understanding views of local residents. For Winterton-on-Sea we produced an evidence document to support inclusion of such a policy (see Winterton Evidence).
Four of the plans we’ve worked with have identified village or strategic gaps that protect against development that would cause coalescence between settlements within the Neighbourhood Plan area. There has to be sufficient evidence to justify the identification of a gap, and district council support is useful. Below is a couple of gaps – Roydon/Diss and within Filby.