The Councillors of Mawgan Parish Council are considering whether to produce a Neighbourhood Plan and request feedback and input from their parishioners on the matter.
Neighbourhood Plans were brought into law by the Localism Act (passed in April 2012)1 and they give parishes the ability to shape the future of housing development in their area. These plans differ from the Parish Plans produced a decade ago as, when they are approved, they become part of local planning law and must be considered when applications go through the planning process. Neighbourhood Plans are “permissive”2, so they can’t be used to stop planning per se, however they can specify where development is wanted, what new properties should look like, what services they should have access to, and even if the dwellings should be the primary residencies of the home owners3.
As of March 2014, 67 out of 213 Cornish parishes were considering or had started producing a Neighbourhood Plan, however they are not to be undertaken lightly. Cost estimates vary wildly4: ranging from £3k to £20k for a parish of our size, and they could take up to two years to produce depending on the scope and ambition of the project. Although grants are available5 community driven fundraising or other money raising initiatives would probably be considered if the parish decided to produce a Plan.
The process of drafting and approving a Neighbourhood Plan requires a lot of community involvement. Drafting a plan can involve surveys, questionnaires, meetings, community forums, all of which produce data that needs to be collated and shaped into a document. Before a draft plan can be accepted into law it must be reviewed by an independent examiner and then approved in a local referendum of parishioners6. To this end, if the draft plan does not represent the views and wishes of a majority of parishioners it will be rejected.
Mawgan Parish Council recognises the potential cost and effort that is required to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, but also sees then potential benefits one could bring. As the process is heavily community driven we need your ideas and support if we are to proceed. Please forward your thoughts to the Parish Clerk, Grace Hatton Lsc.firstname.lastname@example.org.
References and further reading