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Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood Planning in East Northamptonshire

COVID-19: Implications for Neighbourhood Planning

The Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government (MCHLG) has released information, to explain the implications of the current Coronavirus legislation upon Neighbourhood Planning.  There are some important matters that we need to bring to your attention:

  • Regulations linked to the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean that no elections or referendums can take place until 6 May 2021. This includes neighbourhood planning referendums. These provisions will be kept under review and may be amended or revoked in response to changing circumstances.
  • We understand this will be frustrating for communities that have dedicated significant time and effort to the neighbourhood planning process and naturally want their plans to come into force as soon as possible. With this in mind, we have updated current planning guidance to set out that neighbourhood plans awaiting referendums can be given significant weight in decision-making.
  • We recognise there will be delays in progressing neighbourhood plans due to the social distancing measures currently in place across the UK. The updated planning guidance also provides further advice on the implications for conducting publicity and consultation, and examinations.
  • Grants and technical support will continue to be available to support communities during the next financial year, and Locality’s advice service continues to operate as normal.
  • As set out in the recently published Chief Planner’s newsletter, we will allow local authorities to make claims for new burdens grants at an earlier point in the neighbourhood planning process.

The MCHLG has also produced a FAQ document, which provides further information regarding the implications of COVID-19 for neighbourhood planning.

Overview

A number of Parish and Town Councils are now preparing Neighbourhood Plans for their respective parish areas. Details for each of these Neighbourhood Plans are set out below and more information on each can be found by clicking the purple links.

Summary tables, showing Neighbourhood Plans under preparation and "made" (adopted) Plans (as at July 2020) together with their respective status in development management (determining planning applications), may be viewed through the links below:

Barnwell

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 12 Feb 2014

Brigstock

  • Brigstock Neighbourhood Development Plan 2011-2031 "made" on 21 January 2019 

Barrowden and Wakerley

  • Barrowden and Wakerley Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2036 made by Rutland County Council on 17 October 2019, and East Northamptonshire Council on 9 December 2019

Chelveston cum Caldecott

  • Chelveston cum Caldecott Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2031 “made” on 17 July 2017

Collyweston

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 9 May 2016

Deene and Deenethorpe

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 18 May 2015

Duddington with Fineshade

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 23 August 2016

Glapthorn

  • Glapthorn Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2031 "made" on 30 July 2018

Great Addington

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 8 April 2020

Hargrave

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 6 September 2019

Higham Ferrers

  • Higham Ferrers Neighbourhood Plan 2011-2031 “made” on 11 April 2016

Irthlingborough

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 10 December 2014

King's Cliffe

  • King’s Cliffe Neighbourhood Development Plan 2018-2031 “made” on 14 October 2019

Oundle

  • Oundle Neighbourhood Plan Examiner’s Report published 21 December 2019

Raunds

  • Raunds Neighbourhood Plan 2011-2031 “made” on 27 November 2017

Ringstead

  • Consultation upon 1st draft (Regulation 14) consultation version of Neighbourhood Plan, 17 July – 31 August 2020, inclusive

Rushden

  • Rushden Neighbourhood Plan "made" on 4 June 2018

Stanwick

  • Stanwick Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016-2031 “made” on 17 July 2017

Twywell

  • Neighbourhood Area designated 9 May 2019 

Warmington

  • Warmington Neighbourhood Plan “made” on 17 December 2019

Neighbourhood Planning Toolkits

Protocol

East Northamptonshire Council have produced a Neighbourhood Planning Protocol detailing what help and guidance the council will provide for communities wishing to develop a neighbourhood plan. 

Timetable of Key Stages

East Northamptonshire Council have produced a timetable highlighting key stages that Town/Parish Councils will need to go through when preparing a Neighbourhood Plan.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) and Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA)

Once adopted (or "made"), a Neighbourhood Plan will become part of the statutory development plan for East Northamptonshire. It is therefore critical that all relevant legal requirements arising through the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan are fully met.

Neighbourhood Plans will therefore need to be prepared in accordance with the following legislation

These items of legislation all require a Neighbourhood Plan to be "screened" for SEA, HRA or EIA; i.e. tested to see whether a full assessment is deemed to be necessary in each case. To assist with the process, we have prepared "model" SEA, HRA and EIA pro-formas. Relevant bodies (i.e. East Northamptonshire Council, Town Council(s), Parish Council(s) or Neighbourhood Forums) may use these three toolkits to screen an emerging Neighbourhood Plan for SEA, HRA or EIA. 

We will review any completed forms and send these onto the relevant bodies (English Heritage, Environment Agency, Natural England and/ or the Local Wildlife Trust etc), as appropriate. It is important that this screening is undertaken as early as possible in the Neighbourhood Planning process. This will enable Neighbourhood Planning groups (Town Council(s), Parish Council(s) or Neighbourhood Forums) to secure timely feedback and to address any issues arising from the screening exercises at an early stage.

If the SEA, HRA or EIA screening indicates that more detailed assessments will be required, it is advised that the responsible body should contact East Northamptonshire and/ or their appointed consultant (in the event that a consultant has been employed to prepare the Neighbourhood Plan). It is likely that a specialist consultant would be needed to undertake the necessary full assessments.

Neighbourhood Planning in other areas

Bedford Borough Council has received an application from Dean & Shelton Parish Council for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area. This area adjoins East Northamptonshire.

Useful Links

The following organisations can also provide some support and advice:

Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO)

Local people can choose to draw up either a neighbourhood plan, or a neighbourhood development order, or both, however they must follow the same rules as a neighbourhood plan.
NDOs can grant planning permission for specified developments in a neighbourhood area, for example, certain types of household extensions, shop fronts, ‘green energy’ proposals. Where there is a neighbourhood development order in place there would be no need to apply to the council for planning permission for the development it covers.

With a NDO, the community can grant planning permission for new buildings they want to see go ahead without the need for planning applications.

For further information on Neighbourhood Plans, please contact the planning policy team on 01832 742010 or email: planningpolicy@east-northamptonshire.gov.uk