Neighbourhood Planning - A Local Authority Perspective Beryl Guiver Principal Planning Policy Officer Tom Rice Planning Enquiry Officer
South Oxfordshire Approach • South Oxfordshire provides positive support and encouragement for NP • Some funding available to each group • Each NP group has a liaison officer • Advice on process • Ensure they know national and local strategic policy constraints • Help with policy formulation • Help ensure plan meets local community aspirations • Help ensure plan will succeed at examination
Area designation • Parished area so all relevant bodies are parish councils • LA role to ensure NP area appropriate • Encourage some NP areas to extend across 2 or more parishes • Assist in brokering agreements between PCs • Advertise and approve NP area • Formal confirmation letter
Plan Production Low key involvement as required by parishes: • Attending progress meetings • Advice on consultation • Advice on national and local strategic policy • Help with evidence and plan production When plan near completion • Assist with policy writing • Help prepare basic conditions statement • Assist with comments from statutory consultees
Pre-submission LAs are a statutory consultee and can comment formally on the plan: • Positive approach • Set out any conformity issues • Provide more informal advice on policy wording, whether plan is likely to achieve what the community wants, issues likely to arise at examination
Submission LA must check all appropriate information submitted including content: • The plan or map • Consultation statement • The proposed neighbourhood plan • Basic conditions statement • HRA and Appropriate Assessment LA can advise on changes required to ensure information is suitable
LA check and publish plan In addition LA checks whether: • PC is authorised to act • proposal meets definition of an NDP and scope of NDP provisions • PC has undertaken correct consultation procedures If the plan fails any of these checks LA should not continue Publish plan for comment for 6 weeks Decide if comments will be made public
Appoint Examiner • Tender process - RICS list of potential examiners • Appointment agreed with the PC • Examiner must: • be independent, • have no interest in land, • have appropriate qualifications and experience
Indicative timetable to appoint examiner and for examination • Invites to quote sent/advertised 28.11.2012 • Submission of the draft plan 29.11.2012 • Deadline for quotes submission 17.12.2012 • Evaluation of quotes 17.12.2012 • Interviews (if required) 19.12.2012 • Agreement with qualifying body 20.12.2012 • Appoint Examiner 21.12.2012 • Publicise Plan Proposal 7.12.12 –24.1.2013 • Evidence to Examiner 24.12.12 – 28.1. 2013 • Commence Examination 28.1. 2013 • Examiner’s fact check report 18.2. 2013 • Examiner’s final report 22.2.2013
Examination • Examiner decides: • Does plan meet basic conditions • Comply with definition of an NDP and what can be included in an NDP • Referendum area • Compatible with convention rights • If hearing necessary I.e. assessing process more than content
Examiner’s Report Examiner recommends: • draft plan goes to referendum • specifies modifications, then draft plan goes to referendum, or • proposal is refused LA considers examiner’s report, it can: • Agree changes if any and go to referendum • Not agree if the draft plan does not meet basic conditions or is incompatible with Convention rights
Referendum LA must: • Give 28 days notice (excl weekends) • Publish information statement • Publish relevant documents Regulations set the question: Do you want SODC to use the neighbourhood plan for Thame to help decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area? Only residents vote except in business areas >50% vote yes LA make plan.
LA make plan • What does this mean? • Governance arrangements – Cabinet/council decision?
Legal Challenges 3 challenge periods/opportunities: • the Examiner’s recommendations and LA decision on them • conduct of the referendum • if LA refuse to make plan after >50% vote in favour All within 6 weeks of relevant decision
Issues and lessons learnt • Legislation limited information, light touch • LA governance procedures • Referendum influences plan content • Trust between LA and NP group • Involvement of statutory consultees • Pressure from landowners • Keep an open mind