Horsham District Council is working with parish and neighbourhood councils to help fulfil its legal requirement to have Local Plans for development and planning in every area of the district.
All Local Planning Authorities such as Horsham District Council are required by law to prepare Local Plans for their areas. These documents set out the Council’s vision for their areas and make provisions for development needs, including new homes, over a 20 year period.
At the moment only seven per cent of all English planning authorities have Local Plans in place while the rest are at varying stages of producing theirs. Until a local authority has a new plan in place it is proving very difficult to resist appeals against planning decisions brought by developers.
As part of producing its Plan, Horsham District Council is working with parish and neighbourhood councils across the Horsham District and asking them each to prepare their own Neighbourhood Plan so that they can take ownership of planning and development in their particular areas, while at the same time being able to control money paid directly to them for infrastructure improvements they believe are needed under the Government’s new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
A Neighbourhood Plan is a plan that sets out where any development could go and what that development could look like in a particular area.
The production of a Neighbourhood Plan would be led by a parish or neighbourhood council, with the involvement of the local community. It would need to be an evidence based document and be in keeping with the overall District Plan.
While the formal stages of Neighbourhood Plans cannot be carried out until Horsham District Council publishes its own draft plan, the initial stages of gathering evidence and engaging with the community can take place now.
Neighbourhoods joining in this process and taking a proactive approach by drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan, securing the consent of local people in a referendum, will receive 25 per cent of the revenues from the Community Infrastructure Levy arising from any developments in their areas.
Community Infrastructure Levy will be paid directly to parish councils and can be used to back the community’s priorities, for example, to refurbish a village hall, provide new leisure facilities or to take over a community pub.
The parish council will be able to decide how the money will be spent - although members will be expected to work with the local planning authority.
It is intended to hold a Neighbourhood Plan seminar for district and parish/neighbourhood councillors on April 24, 2013.
There is also a regular slot for updates on Neighbourhood Planning on the agenda for Horsham District Council’s Strategic Planning Advisory Group.
For more information on Neighbourhood Plans, Horsham District Council’s website has up to date information, which can be found here: http://www.horsham.gov.uk/environment/planning_policy/14807.aspx