Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a neighbourhood plan?

A neighbourhood plan is a community-led planning framework 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. 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. It is for those producing the plan to decide on its scope and content.

A neighbourhood plan will be part of the statutory development plan for the area, if successful at referendum. This statutory status gives neighbourhood plans far more weight than some other local documents, such as parish plans, community plans and village design statements.

A neighbourhood plan must meet certain ‘basic conditions’. These include compliance with European and national legislation, contributes to the achievement of sustainable development, having appropriate regard to national policy and being in general conformity with existing strategic local planning policy. It should not promote less development than that identified in the development plan for the local area (such as new housing allocations). It can allow greater growth levels. Also, it can specify policies and guidance on how new development should be designed, orientated and located. neighbourhood plans can be a powerful tool in shaping the development of a neighbourhood. The timeframe for the neighbourhood plan will be for communities to decide, for example whether it is a five, 10, 15 or 20-year plan.

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 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 or Neighbourhood Development Orders (including Community Right to Build Orders) are subjected to an independent examination and any necessary modifications are then made to ensure they meet legal requirements. They are then subjected to a public referendum. It is necessary that more than 50% of those voting in the referendum vote “yes” in order to bring the plan or order into force.

I thought all that was laid down by the Government, Chichester District Council and The South Downs National Park.

The Government sets broad development and housing plans which local Councils (and in our case the South Downs National Park) must follow and put into action. A Neighbourhood Plan is a new part of this ‘planning chain’ giving local communities more say, for example over where new homes and other facilities are built, the type of housing (for example affordable, sheltered or starter homes) and what it should look like. The plan can also set out the aspirations of our community for the future and identifies what we want supported and protected in planning policies.

Once the plan is agreed it will have the force of law behind it. Planners and planning appeal inspectors will have to refer to it when making decisions on planning applications and it will carry additional weight to the South Downs National Park Plan.

Why is this plan important?

This plan will have legal force, unlike previous similar documents.  It will mean that any change must take into account the wishes of our community as set out in the plan we develop. A neighbourhood plan recognises that change is inevitable but gives us, for the first time, an opportunity to influence in advance the nature of that change. The plan will initially be for 15 years and will be regularly reviewed. 

What can the plan cover?

It can cover as much, or as little, as the community wants it to, including:

  • the type and style of future housing and its location 
  • community facilities and amenities that will make Bury and West Burton and the environs a more attractive place to live, work and visit
  • green spaces that should be protected
  • jobs, and the future of shops, pub and other local businesses
  • the ‘look and feel’ of the village and its buildings
  • exactly what it says will be down to us all to decide during the consultation process.

Can neighbourhood plans be used to block development rather than promote it?

No. Neighbourhood planning is about shaping the development of a local area in a positive manner. It is not a tool to stop new development proposals from happening and should reflect local and national policies. Neighbourhood plans and orders should not promote less development than set out in the local plan or undermine its strategic policies.

Who is drawing it up?

The Parish Council for Bury and West Burton and a volunteer Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. We are required to consult widely with residents and special interest groups. We want to involve everyone in the villages and rural areas and will be asking lots of questions and holding events to find out your opinions. 

When will the plan be finished?

We held an Open Event in November 2015 followed by a Survey Questionnaire in February 2016. We intend to consult you on a draft plan in the summer of 2016 and finalise it in the Autumn/Winter of 2016.

Who will decide if it’s what the residents want?

The plan has to be put to a referendum for all residents to vote on. It will only be adopted if more than 50% of voters approve it. Before the referendum the plan has to be approved by the South Downs National Park Authority and an independent examiner to make sure it complies with various laws and policies and that there has been sufficient public consultation. 


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