Update to residents on the Neighbourhood Plan

You may be aware that there has been a substantial delay in processing the Plan to its next stage, i.e., submission to West Devon Borough Council (WDBC) for final review (known as Regulation 15) before it can move forward to a Parish Referendum and ultimate approval for inclusion as a statutory planning document and, by design, added protection against uncontrolled building development in the Parish.

This delay began with the Parish Council narrowly voting to cease support for WDBC’s Green Hill affordable housing scheme and instead opting for an independent review of sites back in May 2019.  The independent review conducted by AECOM was discussed by the Parish Council on the 18th November 2019 and thereafter Councillors voted “for” or “against” each site assessed.  Court Barton (The Old Dairy) and Green Hill were confirmed by the Council as the two sites to be included in the Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan.  Following the Councils decision, we are pleased to advise you it is now possible to get the Neighbourhood Plan back on track.  Details of the next steps to be taken are now being determined.

Inevitably not all parishioner’s will be pleased with the Councils site selections.  The correct procedure for objectors to follow now is either to vote against the Plan at the point of referendum and/or to submit objections to planning applications as and when they come forward.  

Unfortunately, a group of residents primarily concerned about the Green Hill development appear to be doing everything possible to derail due process. Both the Parish Council and the Lamerton Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group have listened to their views, given them immense freedom in public meetings to express their concerns and have publicly responded to them at length.  Regrettably they appear intent on disrupting Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group activities through the excessive and uncontrolled use of the Freedom of Information Act requests. This is causing great disruption and expense, since the impact of complying with these vexatious and frivolous requests absorbs much time, predominately that of our Parish Clerk.  Whilst we respect their democratic right to object, we would respectfully ask that they follow due process and respect the decisions taken by the Parish Council who are mandated to act in the best interests of the parish as a whole.

The proposed Green Hill development has been allocated within the Plan for well over two years and has been discussed, outlined and explained in detail at numerous Parish and public meetings. It has been a preferred site chosen by residents at public meetings and the parish councillors are fully aware of the pros and cons of all the evaluated sites.  

Developers associated with sites which the Council voted against are now looking to exploit the fact that an approved Neighbourhood Plan has not yet been achieved.  Now is the time to do everything possible to help expedite the plan, not to have it delayed further.  

We would ask that all parishioners now get behind the plan to protect the parish from indiscriminate and unwanted further development. 

 

20.01.2020

 

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Statement for Councillors and Public display re.,Motion to Rescind 

 

Councillors Edgar and Green have deferred the Motion to rescind the previous Council vote rejecting further support of the WDBC Green Hill proposal, (Agenda item 8) from the Council meeting on July 8th 2019, at this moment in time.

 

This concession has been determined as a key element in the need for village unity, since the decision has been taken by Council to await the conclusion of the independent third-party site assessment procedure shortly to be implemented.

Ultimately, this is intended to enable continuation of work on the Neighbourhood Plan once a suitable site is determined and can be incorporated into the Plan as the site which can provide community / truly affordable housing for local people.

 

Proposers of the motion to rescind, Councillors Edgar and Green hereby commit their full support to the result of this new assessment of all potential sites within the parish and it is anticipated that all other Councillors and residents will do the same when the survey is concluded.

While the Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group awaits the outcome of this review, its time will be spent responding to various comments and communications which have been received in accordance with Regulation 14 consultation. 

Details and updates will be posted as applicable on the Parish Council website under the Neighbourhood Plan section and we would encourage you to refer to this periodically.

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Neighbourhood Plan Statement – to be recorded in the Minutes of the Meeting June 4, 2019

Implications to future success of Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan (the Plan) following recent Parish Council decision to terminate its support for the WDBC-led Green Hill project.

Green Hill has always been one of the two allocated sites integral to the Draft Plan since the Public Meeting site preferences were made in August 2017 and the specific West Devon proposal has been discussed at eight Council meetings since December 2016.

In all consultations with West Devon, the Parish Council has been consistent, insisting on a justifiable need and for houses to be made available to Lamerton residents or people with a strong parish connection only. 

Whilst recognising that Councillors are at liberty to change their minds, it should be noted that no Councillor has previously expressed ANY concern about this site in all that time. West Devon have, however, consistently demonstrated a justifiable need and confirmed publicly once again the allocation of housing methodology.

During the past 3 years, the Plan Steering Group has thoroughly assessed all potentially-approvable sites in full accordance with WDBC guidelines which could provide affordable homes development. The special reduced land price offered by the landowner made the Green Hill site unique and ideal for the construction of truly affordable homes.

Lamerton’s young residents who are unable to afford local house purchase and/or rental prices, will now be forced to seek homes out of our village and Councillors should be reminded that, in responses to our Questionnaire submitted to all residents in July 2016, affordable housing was a key public requirement for the long-term sustainability of our village. Our responsibility must, and must always be, to the whole Parish.

Now that the Council support of WDBC proposal has been rejected, the owner of the site has already verbally indicated his feeling that the Green Hill site now be developed for more market-price properties. In the absence of a Neighbourhood Plan, the Parish will have minimal opportunity to control this sites future development, as the number of houses sought could now be considerably more than the rejected WDBC proposal in which there was some measure of control.

Coincidentally, numerous developers’ have already made enquiries to this Council seeking available building sites in the few weeks since Council rejected support of the WDBC Green Hill project.  It is, however, no coincidence that Green Hill is one of those sites.

In light of the Councils decision, I fear that Lamerton generally and Green Hill specifically, will now be ‘open house’ for developers, since the Neighbourhood Plans is on hold for an indefinite period, (possibly permanently) despite clear warnings in previous Steering Group reports to Council that a Plan without affordable homes would be doomed to failure.

I feel this Council has failed the Parish and its residents who voted unanimously to bring forward a Neighbourhood Plan including Affordable Homes and I, on behalf of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, hope that Councillors will now reflect upon this and work to help get the Plan back on track. 

It is the protection offered by an approved Plan, working in conjunction with the Joint Local Plan, which would prevent all unwanted development.

Hopefully a site acceptable to all will be identified by an independent third -party assessment reviewing all available sites, but it should be re-stated that the West Devon proposal was unique for truly affordable homes. 

Whether any other land owner is willing to offer such advantageous terms remains to be seen.

Residents meeting held at the Village Hall on Monday August 7th, 2017

Very many thanks to those of you who came along to the residents meeting to be updated with a progress report on the Neighbourhood Plan. During the meeting, we sought your assistance in determining the best sites for future development.

Click the link to view a summary of results: Summary of Preference Results.pdf

This is your Plan and we are grateful for your help in enabling us to move forward. We sincerely hope you found it an informative and beneficial meeting.

By selecting the following links you will see the actual documentation that was given out at that  meeting. 

FINAL-Public-Meeting-NP-Reserved-Sites.pdf

Preferred-sites.jpg

 

Update

It has been noted that, despite our best efforts which involved our use of the latest mailing list for Lamerton addresses (extrapolated from the last Census report), some residents did not receive the flyer advertising the recent August 7th residents meeting held at the village hall.

As we wanted to have the largest turnout we could to reflect the wishes of our community, we were disappointed to hear this news following the efforts expended by Plan Steering Group members who manually delivered the flyers.

It is important for you to ensure that you are recorded on the Census database for numerous reasons that will future contact with all residents.

Our Neighbourhood Plan flyers are usually printed on pale blue paper, so please be vigilant to spot them amongst general mail.

As always, if you have any questions about this or, indeed, any other aspect relating to the Plan, please do not hesitate to contact me at 01822 618512.

John Edgar, Lameron Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

22.09.2017

Neighbourhood Plan

 

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What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

 

 

What is a Neighbourhood Plan? 

 

A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework with statutory powers for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area.  It is about the use and development of land and may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, or allocation of key sites for specific kinds of development.   

Neighbourhood planning, introduced by 2011’s Localism Act, gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. It allows communities to choose where they want their homes, shops and local industry to be built, what they should look like, what infrastructure should be provided and what needs to be protected.

More than 1,500 communities across the country have taken first steps towards producing a neighbourhood plan for their area. This represents over 8 million people, or 15% of the UK population.

All 81 of the neighbourhood plans proposed at local referendums to have been held so far have resulted in ‘Yes’ votes, on average by an emphatic 88% on a 34% average turnout.

Your Lamerton Parish Council is proposing that we (the community) produce such a plan to help guide and shape the design of our village in the future.

It may deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport) or it may focus on one or two issues only. These may be issues that are relevant to the whole neighbourhood or just to part of the neighbourhood.  This is for those producing the plan to decide. 

Over the coming weeks you will see and hear more on this subject as we move towards  calling a village meeting to discuss and hopefully gain your approval for the proposal that we undertake creation of our own Neighbourhood Plan.

 

 

 

 

Why is it important?

 

Why is a Neighbourhood Plan important?

 

Producing a Neighbourhood Plan has advantages over other kinds of plan (such as parish or community plans) because it enables communities to take the lead in their own neighbourhoods in producing part of the statutory development plan for the area (see below).  Neighbourhood Plans have real statutory force whereas, without a Neighbourhood Plan, there is little potential for local input to new development proposals.

Community groups or parish/town councils preparing plans have the opportunity to engage properly with the wider community right from the beginning of the plan-preparation process, to make sure it genuinely represents the range of wants and needs in the local area. It is a plan prepared by a community that helps shape development in the area in which they live and community involvement should be an on-going process of engagement and refinement rather than a stop-start series of exercises.

Important first steps are to make sure that the proposal to produce a Neighbourhood Plan is known about by as many people as possible and to identify those local partners who can support the plan-making process and help to get local people involved.

Neighbourhood Plans set policies and make allocations for development. These plans or orders have statutory weight and decision-makers will be obliged, by law, to take what it says into account when considering proposals for development in the area that the plan or order covers.

A Neighbourhood Plan must comply with European and national legislation and must have appropriate regard to national policy and be in general conformity with existing strategic local planning policy.  It should not promote less ​development than that identified in the​ development plan (West Devon Borough Councils present draft ‘Our Plan’) for the local area (such as new housing allocations).  It can allow greater growth levels, but it can specify policies and guidance on how new development should be designed, orientated and located. 

Effective community engagement and involvement is essential right from the beginning of the process.  Good community engagement will create a well-informed plan and a sense of ownership.  A failure to do so may increase the risk of an adverse outcome at the referendum stage.

A robust programme of community engagement and proportionate evidence base should help to make sure that a neighbourhood plan is based on a proper understanding of the local area and of the views, aspirations, wants and needs of local people.  Producing a clear project plan with key milestones could be very helpful in guiding the plan-making process.

Once a Neighbourhood Plan has been completed, it will have to be submitted to the local authority and then be subjected to an independent examination.  This will make sure that the proper legal process has been followed and that the plan meets the basic conditions, including general conformity with strategic local policy.

Neighbourhood Plans can be a powerful tool in shaping the development of a neighbourhood.  The time frame for the Neighbourhood Plan will be for communities to decide, for example whether it is a 5, 10, 15 or 20-year plan. 

Summary of Opportunities and Advantages

 

Summary of Opportunities and Advantages

A Neighbourhood Plan offers several major advantages over simple reliance on the regional plan produced by the local council or on more informal plans, like community plans or parish plans, because:

It is more Relevant

Whilst the Local Plan covers the whole district, a Neighbourhood Plan would be focused on the needs of the neighbourhood and would allow the local community to specify in more detail what they expect from development.  For example, it could contain more detail on things like urban design, affordable housing, and preferred sites/locations for housing and other development.  This is about guiding and shaping development, not undermining the delivery of development in that area.

The plan could also guide the provision of infrastructure, for example, setting out priorities for new development such as improving pedestrian links, upgrading paths and open space. 

It establishes a Dialogue

Those producing Neighbourhood Plans will need to speak to a range of organisations, departments and local partners.  This will establish a range of dialogues which would otherwise probably not take place, potentially influencing the activities of the various organisations involved

It allows Site allocation / preferences

Depending on the level of details in the Local Plan, the Neighbourhood Plan allows the community to develop criteria and choose which sites are allocated for what kind of development.

The plan could include things like improvement of streets and public spaces of where community facilities should be located.  This would provide the context for negotiations with local authority departments (e.g., highways) and could help to influence their future works or development 

and, significantly, it is Community - led

Neighbourhood Plans are led by authorized local ​community organisations (parish or town​ councils or neighbourhood forums) rather than the local council’s planning department. This means that community representatives write the plan themselves (or ask others to write the plan but under their control).

The Neighbourhood Plan would be part of the statutory development plan for the area.  This means that local authorities or planning inspectors would have to make decisions on the basis of the Neighbourhood Plan and any other material considerations when considering planning applications or appeals in the neighbourhood area.  In other words, the Neighbourhood Plan would carry more weight as a consideration in planning decisions, effectively giving the local community more influences and control over the development of their area.