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. 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. 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.
As a consequence of 1) the Parish Council’s intense activity with regard to HBC’s Local Plan proposals on a number of potential development sites within the parish, 2) the Local Plan not being finally underwritten by HM Government Inspector until March 2019 and 3) the 2020 / 2021 Covid-19 pandemic, work on the development of the Neighbourhood Plan could not be effectively resumed until Spring 2021.
In parallel, a detailed Project Plan has been developed identifying everything we need to do to put a Neighbourhood Plan in place.
We recognised that the views and input of as many parish residents as possible is of crucial importance, and so a key major activity was the Policy Intentions Document and Questionnaire incorporating the Focus Group work that went out to the entire community in 2021. This was a critical communication that provided 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 go out to the community for the reasons outlined above.
The results of the Policy Intentions Document consultation have been used to prepare a full draft Neighbourhood Plan (known as the Pre-Submission Version Plan) and accompanying Policies Map. This will be subject to a 6 week statutory public consultation (the ‘Regulation 14’ consultation) commencing Friday 22nd April and running till Friday June 3rd 2022. Full details of the plan and consultation can be found under the ‘Development of the Neighbourhood Plan’ and ‘Consultation’ headings respectively.
Neighbourhood Development Plan Q&A
The Q&A about the NDP (as produced for Pannal Gala) is here: NDP Facts Q&A
Following detailed analysis of the Regulation 14 consultation results, the Neighbourhood Plan has now been amended, as considered necessary, and formally submitted, as required, to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) for a six week Regulation 16 publicity period, accompanied by a Basic Conditions Statement and Consultation Statement. There will then follow an independent examination. Subject to a successful outcome, and any amendments as required by the examiner, the plan will then proceed to a community referendum of all registered voters on the electoral role within the Neighbourhood Area. If a majority are in favour, the Neighbourhood Plan will then be "made" (ie adopted) by HBC or its successor North Yorkshire Council as part of the statutory development plan for the area. From that point onwards, it will become a starting point for deciding on planning applications within the Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Area.
Planning Regulation 15 – Submission of Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Development
In accordance with Regulation 15 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012, Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council have now submitted the Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Development Plan (‘The Neighbourhood Plan’) to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC).
Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Development Plan Submission Version
Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Development Plan Policies Map
Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Development Plan Consultation Statement
Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Development Plan Basic Conditions Statement
Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Development Plan SEA and HRA Screening Opinion Report
This Submission Neighbourhood Plan is being submitted by a qualifying body, namely Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council. The plan proposal relates to planning matters (the use and development of land) and has been prepared in accordance with the statutory requirements and processes set out in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011) and the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012. The Neighbourhood Plan proposal does not deal with county matters (mineral extraction and waste development), nationally significant infrastructure or any other matters set out in Section 61K of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The Neighbourhood Plan proposal relates to the designated Pannal and Burn Bridge Neighbourhood Area and to no other area. There are no other Neighbourhood Plans relating to that area.
The Neighbourhood Plan submission documents, evidence base and historical documents can be viewed on the Neighbourhood Plan pages of this website, by clicking on the Neighbourhood Plan tab at the top of this page.