The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) Temporary page until the new NDP website is set up

THE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN - FULL STATUS REPORT OCTOBER 2018

One of the first acts of your new parish council, back in early 2016, was to formally request approval from Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) for the parish to develop a Neighbourhood Plan (also called a Neighbourhood Development Plan).

In August 2017, over a year after the parish council submission, HBC approved the request. A Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group (NPSG) was immediately formed from volunteer residents of the parish, plus two parish councillors, one of whom chairs the group. The NPSG is responsible for delivering the Plan.

A Neighbourhood Plan is a new type of community-led planning document introduced by government in the 2011 Localism Act. It is a statutory document with legal standing and part of a raft of new community rights to enable local communities to play a much stronger, positive role in shaping the area in which they live and work. The Plan takes a 20-year view about how a community sees itself developing and encompasses a wide range of topics, from land use to commercial development, from transportation to nature reserves.

There are no hard and fast rules about what should go into a Neighbourhood Plan, although it is subject to a number of constraints. There are however hard and fast rules over how it is developed. The process of producing it takes place under the watchful eye of the local council, in our case HBC, and the contents have to pass the eagle eye of an examiner appointed by HBC who will ensure it meets European obligations, has regard to national planning policies, is in general conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan, is compatible with adjoining Neighbourhood Plans, and contributes to the achievement of sustainable development. It must also be accepted by a majority of votes in the parish before it can be adopted. This is obtained via a formal referendum conducted by HBC. To achieve the latter will obviously require considerable engagement with the community along the way including a formal 6-week consultation exercise.

It is perhaps appropriate at this point to say what a Neighbourhood Plan is not:
It is not a tool that can be used to oppose the Local Plan. It sits alongside the Local Plan and must conform to the latest version.
This may be a message that some will not like to hear but it is the reality. In fact, there is no advantage in producing our Plan in advance of the emerging Local Plan as if we did it would only have to be modified to conform when the new Local Plan is formally adopted. We do need to have our Plan in place shortly after this.
As I hope our readers will appreciate by this point, there is a considerable body of work to undertake if we are to get to the point where we have a Plan that will get a favourable vote from the community, a sign off from HBC, and will also pass the necessary government examination.

Such an activity is challenging enough for those with experience. For the volunteers who undertake neighbourhood planning in many communities like ours, the activity presents a steep learning curve and requires many hours of extra-curricular activity. As with any volunteer activity there is considerable turnover. In our case, all but one of the original Steering Group have resigned at various points over the year. Others have been recruited to fill the gaps, and this has put a delay in proceedings until they are up to speed. A further challenge comes from recruiting sufficient local residents with survey distribution, project management, planning, public relations, website development, questionnaire development, data entry, statistical analysis, photography, and report layout and design skills who are willing and able to devote the many hours of (unpaid) work needed to achieve a signed-off Plan. Many are happy to criticise while few are willing to volunteer. Needless to say, with few volunteers the process will take longer and some activities, such as the all-important public relations, may be neglected.

So where are we with our Plan?

As noted earlier, a Steering Group was formed at the end of 2017. Members immediately went on courses and consulted with various experts, including others who had produced plans for communities with similar characteristics to ours. In parallel, volunteers were sought (all parish residents) for five Focus Groups (Housing, Transport, Landscape, Environment, Facilities). By the beginning of 2018, each group had been formally tasked with producing a report that identified existing issues, took account of the wishes of residents as contained in the 2015 Community-Led Plan Survey, and further contained the members’ personal suggestions about how they would like to see the community develop over the next 20 years. Reports were requested by the end of March 2018. But this was a volunteer activity with a significant learning curve and the timescale proved not realistic in all cases. The current status is that by the end of September reports have been received from four out of the five groups. Obviously these reports are not representative of the parish as a whole. They are the ideas of a very few people, and as such, contain suggestions that may or may not be used in the final Plan. One example of the latter is suggestions that would not pass the required examination. The Steering Group is taking advice in this regard from a qualified experienced planning consultant.

In parallel, a detailed Project Plan has been developed identifying everything we need to do to put a Neighbourhood Plan in place. On the Steering Group wish-list is the development of a website which will keep the entire community fully in the picture. We have made a start on this, but it has ground to a halt due to the lack of volunteers.

We recognise that the views and input of as many parish residents as possible is of crucial importance, and so the next major activity will be a Survey incorporating the Focus Group work that will go out to the entire community. This is a key communication that will provide the opportunity to validate, or otherwise, the views of the relatively small number of parishioners on the Focus Groups. It is not appropriate for the Focus Group reports in their entirety to go out to the community for the reasons outlined above.

Once we have the results of this Survey, then public meetings will be used to exchange views and define what goes into the Plan. We will again seek assistance from a consultant to ensure that the contents will pass muster both with HBC and their examiner, as well as receive a resounding ‘Yes’ vote in the community referendum – the last major activity before the Plan is adopted.

The above is a very high level view of the major milestones. The lack of volunteers makes predicting their exact timing challenging. If you feel you have skills that could be useful and are willing to devote some of your time to help, the Steering Group would be delighted to hear from you.

The Essential Information

Harrogate Borough Council has approved the Parish Council’s request to
develop a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). This is a big step for the parish and when
complete will confer benefits that far outweigh the time and effort required to
develop it. This page of the PC’s website will be dedicated to the NDP until such time as a separate website is set up – if needed.
The NDP can be a fairly long process but our aim is to complete the plan for approval within 15 months – that is by December 2018 or early into 2019.
The development of the NDP is led by the Steering Group (the NDPSG) of which the Chair is Councillor Cathy Burrell (cathyburrell@btinternet.com and 07912448732) and Deputy Chair. All correspondence on the NDP should go through Cathy although the Parish Clerk (parishclerk@pannalandburnbridge-pc.gov.uk) will also be closely involved as the PC’s Responsible Financial Officer – RFO.
Members of the NDPSG include: Howard West, Jane Chung, Ethne Bartup and Goeff Catley. Ian Birchall may be present when matters of finance are required to be discussed.
More information will be added to this page in due course but of great importance is that this is a community effort and we are looking for residents who wish to help develop the NDP. If you think you can help, please get in touch with Cathy or Jackie in the first instance.

Key Documents

Here are some key reference documents that should be useful for those wishing to know more about the NP.
The letter authorising the PC to proceed with an NDP. HBC Approval
The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the NDPSG. ToR.Note that these may be amended from time to time and the original signed by the PC's Chairman is held by the Parish Clerk.
The Parish Boundary (the area within which the NDP applies). Parish Boundary
The Community Led Plan (CLP). The CLP is a report of a community survey carried out in 2015 which comprises the initial parish consultation stage of the NP process. You can find the full CLP in the left hand column of our Home page. For the Action Plan, derived from the CLP findings, click this link CLP - Action Plan.

The Draft Vision Statement has been prepared by the NDPSG - Draft Vision Statement. This will be incrementally revised as we proceed.

Declarations of Interest. It has been confirmed that all non Councillor members of the SG or FG should complete and submit a Declaration of Interest form - downloadable here: Declaration of Interest Form. The forms when completed will be displayed on this website.

The Community Engagement Strategy is here: Community Engagement Strategy.

The Statement of Community Involvement is here: Statement of Community Involvement

The Q&A about the NDP (as produced for Pannal Gala) is here: NDP Facts Q&A

The P&BB NDP will draw heavily on the  Otley plan which, for reference is here: Otley NDP

NDP Meetings, Agendas & Minutes

27 Nov 2017

19:30 to 21:30

Agenda

Minutes

27 Feb 2018

18:15 to 20:15

Agenda

Minutes

26 Apr 2018

19:30 to 21:30

Agenda

Minutes

07 Jun 2018

19:00 to 21:00

Agenda

Minutes

05 Jul 2018

19:00 to 21:00

Agenda

Minutes

06 Sep 2018

19:00 to 21:00

Agenda

Minutes