Relationship between Woodcote Parish COUNcil and the neighbourhood plan advisory group
The first Neighbourhood Plan (NP) was prepared by an ad hoc group of residents concerned about the development of housing in the village. Following extensive consultation, the draft plan was accepted by WPC, passed the formal examination and was submitted to a referendum in 2013. The plan was approved by the village with a 60% turnout and a 90% vote in favour and the plan was made by SODC in 2013. This first plan has been successfully used to manage development in the village since that date.
In 2015, SODC began to prepare a new Local Plan based on a new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).
In September 2016, WPC invited Geoff Botting to reform the group to consider the changes necessary to the NP to make it compliant with the emerging Local Plan and give the village as much control over development as possible, and to make recommendations to WPC.
The NPAG was re-formed with some of the members of the original NPAG and some new members and Geoff Botting was elected as Chair of the NPAG.
Legally, WPC is the designated body and has the responsibility for the NP and some tasks can only be carried out by WPC:
- Agree the designated area with SODC – currently the Parish boundary.
- Apply for grants to provide the funds for preparing the NP.
- Reimburse the NPAG for expenditure incurred in preparing the NP.
- Ensure that the grants are properly used and accounted for.
- Receive the draft NP and associated documentation from the NPAG.
- Approve or reject, in part or whole the recommendations from the NPAG.
- When the draft is approved, publish the draft NP and initiate the statutory six-week consultation.
- Review the comments received from the consultation and revise the NP, as necessary, in response to the comments.
- Submit the draft NP to SODC who submit the draft NP for examination.
- Make such changes as are identified by the examiner and submit the revised draft to SODC.
SODC publish the final draft NP and organise the referendum. If approved at the referendum, SODC “make” the NP, i.e. the NP policies become part of the planning documentation and take precedence over policies in the Local Plan, where appropriate.
WPC has delegated the following tasks to the NPAG:
- Seek the views of residents of the village through surveys, public consultations and/or workshops.
- Identify potential sites for development for housing or other uses.
- Assess the sites, taking into account national planning policy, sustainability, EU regulations and residents views.
- Recommend a list of sites suitable for development.
- Assess the need for housing and the type of housing required taking into account the demographics of the village and the impact on infrastructure.
- Review the existing policies in the first NP and recommend any changes that may be necessary.
- Identify new policies, particularly those relating to new sites.
- Prepare a draft NP and associated documentation.
- Periodically update WPC on progress and key issues.
- Submit the draft NP and associated documentation to WPC.