Neighbourhood Plan Process
In order that a Neighbourhood Plan holds actual weight in determining planning applications, it must go through a robust process to be adopted (or ‘made’). There are several steps involved:
Following on from previous attempts to develop a Plan, we have a wealth of information about what the community thinks is important and what the future should look like in Tiverton [link to document]. We’ve used this to create a vision for Tiverton and our volunteers have used this information and other evidence to develop draft policies.
We expect to have a draft Plan – called the ‘Pre-Submission Plan’ – ready in the Autumn and this is when we will invite the community to comment on it. This will be a formal consultation of at least six weeks and we will want as many people to respond as possible as it is our opportunity to make sure the Plan reflects local wishes as much as possible.
All comments received will be carefully reviewed and we will amend the Neighbourhood Plan accordingly.
At this point, we are ready to submit the document – now the ‘Submission Plan’ – to Mid-Devon District Council, which will embark on a further formal consultation for six weeks.
During this time, we will work with Mid-Devon to select an Independent Examiner to formally examine the plan. He or she will visit Tiverton and may want to hold sessions on some of the topic areas covered in the Plan. The Examiner’s job is to check that the Plan meets what are known as ‘the Basic Conditions’ – in other words, does the plan comply with national planning policy and also Mid-Devon’s policies.
A report will be issued to us, and we will possibly have some final amendments to make to the document before it goes to the final stage, which is a local referendum.
Everyone who is registered to vote within Tiverton will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want the Tiverton Neighbourhood Plan to guide planning policy in the parish. A simple majority is required for it to be successful.
Our current thinking about when we might get to the different stages of the plan process looks like this:
Updated 8 June 2020 to take account of the impact of Coronavirus public health restrictions …
|June to mid-July 2020||Continuing work on the draft Pre-Submission Neighbourhood Plan|
|Throughout July 2020||Informal public consultation – taking account of Coronavirus restrictions|
|July to end October 2020||Health-check and screening by Mid-Devon District Council – subject to MDDC Local Plan activities|
|November to December 2020||First formal round of public consultation on the draft Plan – again depends on public health restrictions|
|January to early March 2021||Revising the Plan based on the feedback from the consultation and submitting to Mid Devon District Council|
|March and April 2021||Second formal round of public consultation|
|May to June 2021||Independent Examination and Report|
|June/July 2021||The Plan is finalised for the referendum|
|August 2021||Further publicity about Referendum version of The Plan|
|September 2021||Referendum takes place and Plan is ‘made’ (adopted)|
We have contracted Alison Eardley, an independent Planning Consultant, to help us prepare the Plan and its supporting documents. Alison has worked with many Neighbourhood Plan groups on their plans and brings a great deal of experience to the team locally. She is funded largely through Government grants, which helps us keep our Town Council precept costs to a minimum.
We are also contracting a consultancy called AECOM to help us put together some of the evidence for the Plan. So far, they have prepared for us a HNA Tiverton Final, which reveals the challenges we face when it comes to housing locally and what we can do to overcome this. This will help us to prepare our housing policies. In addition, we have asked them to prepare a Character Appraisal of the parish, which will reveal more about the local history and heritage of Tiverton. The outcome of this work will be the development of Design Guidance that will underpin the Neighbourhood Policies on Character and Design. In turn, this will help us protect the special features of the parish.