Our Vision “ To maintain and enhance a vibrant community which is an attractive location to live, work and visit”The Neighbourhood Planning Group has been set up by Somerford Keynes Parish Council to produce a Neighbourhood Plan to guide future development within the parish. The area of the parish has been formally designated a Neighbourhood Area, for which a Neighbourhood Plan can be developed containing locally-driven and legally enforceable planning policies designed specifically for us.In these pages you will find lots of information about the Neighbourhood Plan •Where it fits into the whole planning process•What it can do and what it can’t•What we’ve been doing to gather the evidence needed to develop the plan•The evidence we’ve gathered so far by research, public consultation and analysis•How to get involvedBelow we give the legal nitty-gritty to the National and District Planning scene. Other pages can be accessed with the links to the left, or you can follow on page by page with the links at the bottom. Steering group membership and contact details are pop-ups from the links at left. The pop-ups will close if you click on them.
Neighbourhood Development Plan
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?A Neighbourhood Development Plan (or “Neighbourhood Plan”) is a framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. It typically deals with social, economic and environmental issues, such as planning, employment, heritage and transport. Who produces the Neighbourhood Plan?The Neighbourhood Plan will be produced by Somerford Keynes Parish Council (as the “qualifying body”), in consultation with residents, local groups , local businesses and landowners. This will help to ensure that the Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led activity and that it includes a wide range of interests. Is it compulsory to produce a Neighbourhood Plan?No. Every town or parish has the right to produce a Neighbourhood Plan but it is recognised that not all areas will want to.What is the benefit of having a Neighbourhood Plan?Having a Neighbourhood Plan will enable Somerford Keynes to have greater influence over its future. Crucially, unlike the Parish Plan, the Neighbourhood Plan must be consulted by CDC while determining planning applications. How long does it take to produce a Neighbourhood Plan?It is up to individual areas to decide on the pace at which they wish to progress their plans. It is known that on average the process is likely to take around two years. However we have only recently adopted our Parish Plan, much of the work is done and we hope to have our referendum at the same time as the Parish Council, District Council and General Election on 5th May 2015. [CDC now says it cannot cope with yet another vote on this day, so a date will be set a few months later, to coincide with one or two other parishes]Does the Neighbourhood Plan have to conform to the Cotswold District Local Plan? One of the basic conditions that all Neighbourhood Plans need satisfy is that they are in “general” conformity with the strategic policies of the adopted local development plan for the area. The Cotswold Local Plan is still in development and can be viewed on the CDC website The plan must also conform to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) - see below.Can Neighbourhood Plans be used to stop development rather than promote it?No. Neighbourhood Planning is about shaping the development of a local area in a positive way. It is not a way in which to prevent local development from happening. It must reflect local and national policies and our Plan must not, therefore, promote less development than required by the Cotswold District Local Plan. The number of houses by which Somerford Keynes must grow will be given to us by CDC. This is likely to be zero; the Neighbourhood Plan will, however, enable us to specify where any development could take place. What is the important evidence in the Neighbourhood Plan?Unfortunately there is no check-list specifying what should appear in a Neighbourhood Plan. The contents will come from various sources such as existing reports, local interest groups, businesses and developers. Who will pay for neighbourhood planning? Government funding is available for the creation of NDPs. The Parish Council has been successful in securing £4875 for the creation of the plan and to ensure that it conforms to all the necessary standards.When will the community be consulted?Somerford Keynes Parish Council commits to early engagement to ensure that key issues are identified to inform the Neighbourhood Plan. Initial dates have been set in July. See Public Consultation page for latest information. Once a draft Plan has been produced, it will be subject to further consultation. How can I get involved or find out more information? Most information should be reasonably up to date on these pages, with meeting notes on the Documents page and other information in Parish Council Minutes. The next public consultation is listed on the Consultation page, where you will find feedback from previous consultations. You can send your ideas to the steering group at any time, or talk to steering group members.
The National Planning Policy Framework
The new National Planning Policy Framework 2012 introduced Neighbourhood Plans, whereby communities can now set out local planning policies for their area which will take precedence over non-strategic policies in the Local Plan set out by the local Planning Authority.Currently planning decisions are taken by the District Council based on policies set out in their Local Plan for the whole District. The Parish Council is consulted, but its opinion currently has little weight.For our Neighbourhood Area this means that, once our Neighbourhood Plan is formally adopted, planning decisions made by Cotswold District Council (CDC) affecting development within the Neighbourhood Area will have to be made on the basis of the policies we put in our Neighbourhood Plan. The only exceptions to this are where policies in the Neighbourhood Plan conflict with strategic policies in the Local Plan (roughly those which affect the whole district so a change here would have knock-on effects elsewhere) or where they conflict with statutory national policies. A key consequence of this is that policies within the Neighbourhood Plan could not stop or artificially restrict development. National policies have imposed development quotas on all Planning Authorities - so Cotswold District has an allocation of houses that it has to deliver. It currently has identified 17 settlements where development should take place. Any development in villages such as ours, without shops or schools is not expected, and would be termed “windfall” development.What we can do is have policies to define what and where those new developments should be and how they should be integrated into and contribute to the future of our Parish.More information and download a copy of the NPPF on the government website here.
Page last updated 29 July 20162016
The Final Draft is published on the Documents Page. Consultation is now closed. The responses are now being considered.