NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN “VIRTUAL MEETING” – 15th March 2021 – 7.00 pm.
PRESENT: Mrs B Heathcoat-Amory, Mr D Broad, Mr J Sleightholme, Mrs S Moore, Mr M Harrison, Mr I Robertson, Mrs J Todd, Mr R Young, Ms S Williams
Mr Joseph Walker (JW) (Cotswold District Council – Neighbourhood Planning)
Mr James Brain (JB)
Cllr Jenny Forde attended for some of the meeting.
APOLOGIES: Cllr Clive Weaver
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: The need to declare interests as necessary.
Cotswold District Council presentation.
JW and JB gave a presentation explaining local plans and neighbourhood plans and what they can achieve in terms of planning law and what they cannot achieve. JB stated that the main goal of planning policy was sustainable development. In regard to the Local Plan (LP), an aspect of planning was allocating land for development but also safeguarding the environment and adapting to climate change, nature recovery and biodiversity net gain. He stated that the Local Plan was also interested in high quality design. The LP also looked at habitat regulations and flood risk in terms of development.
As regards the LP’s policies that related to Chedworth – JB highlighted DS3 and DSA – Development Strategy Policies, SA2 – infrastructure policy, EN5 – AONB and EN11 Conservation Area.
JW stated that that Neighbourhood Plans (NPs) are community led. They do not need to cover all of planning policy. He stated that NPs cannot be used to restrict development but can state what development is appropriate to the locality.
JW stated Somerford Keynes and Kemble have new NPs that are in the process of being “made”. JW stated that there is Planning Practise Guidance that lets you know what Neighbourhood Plans are able to actually do.
JW stated that the NP has to fit in with the strategic policies of the LP. The LP doesn’t actually categorise what is a strategic policy but in essence they are policies regarding the distribution of growth across the Cotswolds. JW emphasised that the NP can put in local detail for high design.
JW stated that the NP has to fulfil certain legal requirements (EU regulations about habitat protection and priority species). He also stated that as the LP deals with planning only, it has a narrow legalistic focus. He also stated the NP has to comply with the LP, it can’t be at odds with it.
JW stated that as regards scope: the NP is to do with land use. There might be local priorities and concerns beyond those dealt with in the Local Plan e.g. Protected views, protected green space, design code, non-designated heritage assets to give them additional weight and protection.
JW stated that traffic/streets are generally County Council matters but it may be helpful to ask questions for the PC. Parking can be a feature in new residential development design code. i.e. all parking has to be within the development, on site, not on the street.
Para 16 of NPPF is an important statement to consider. He advises the Steering Group to read this.
JW stated that there were a number of organisations/resources that would help the Steering Group: GRCC, CDC, Gov.uk and Neighbourhood Planning Toolkits (Run by Locality).
There was a discussion with the Steering Committee. Mrs Todd was concerned that the NP would not be taken notice of. JB stated that government has stated development needs “to be a positive process.” Not “we seek to prevent” but “planning permission will be granted subject to the following”:” JB stated that NP can add to the Conservation Area, but there was no point duplicating it. JB stated that the NP has equal status in planning law. It is given equal weight to the LP.
There was discussion as to why we should have a NP at all. JW stated that small communities such as Preston and Somerford Keynes have done plans not just the principle settlements in the Cotswolds. As Chedworth is a linear village and has interesting topography it might benefit from a NP. JW stated that NPs protect key views (look at the Malvern Hills NP for viewpoints).
Mr Broad felt that the NP could lead the CDC in regard to paving the way for a carbon neutral future. He stated that there are long views worth protecting. Flooding issues that need to be considered, electrical charge points for cars need to be thought about, drainage facilities for new developments need to be considered.
JB stated the NP could have a community actions/priorities section to the NP to talk about issues of concern to the village (such as drainage). These should be a different colour (green for example) to the land policies which are in blue. It is only the land policies that have statutory force.
JB stated that it is helpful to build engagement with the landowners. He mentioned the importance of Natural Capital in flood prevention and the need for water retention in order to slow it down and mitigate flooding.
He stated that the Design Code could include no hard landscaping, it should all be to absorb water.
Elect Chairman/Vice Chairman: Mrs B Heathcoat-Amory was elected Chairman. No Vice-Chairman was elected. It was agreed that if Mrs B Heathcoat-Amory could not attend meetings then someone would be acting Chairman in her place. Mr J Sleightholme was elected as Treasurer.
Contact GRCC for housing needs survey? It was agreed that no housing needs survey from GRCC was required. The last three housing surveys conducted had shown that there was a decreasing need for housing in Chedworth.
Create an evidence gathering master document. It was agreed to use google docs to create a master document that everyone could add to. Mr I Roberstson will do this. JB had also added to this.
Consider traffic issues – parking, speeding It was agreed that this was an issue in Chedworth and should be addressed in the questionnaire.
Apply for design code to be done on by locality. This was agreed.
Create a master document that explains planning applications and affordable housing. Mr Harrison stated that Ms Chapman had misunderstood. There were no applications for affordable housing in the village. So, there is no need to do the document.
Consider questionnaire for first public consultation It was agreed to use google docs to create a master document that everyone could add to. Mr Harrison stated that he will deal with the question regarding the need for a NP or not. Everyone agreed to look at this ahead prior to the PC meeting so it could be reviewed by them in April.
OPEN SESSION FOR THE PUBLIC:
No public present.
It was agreed to create budget for NP. Mrs B H-A stated that there was one invoice to be received from the planner, Sally Chapman, but the majority of the funds received from Locality would have to be handed back. Mrs B H-A stated the Steering Committee would have to reapply for funding.
NEXT MEETING: Monday 19th April 2021 at 7.00pm.