Parish councils are the unsung heroes of house building

England’s parish councils are the unsung heroes of neighbourhood planning and key to putting communities in control of shaping future development and housing, according to their umbrella body the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).          Neighbourhood planning is giving “local people an even greater ability to decide where new homes go and what they look like”.

Anston does not have a Neighbourhood Plan.                                                                  Neighbourhood planning gives communities the power to:                                                  Make a neighbourhood development plan. Make a neighbourhood development order and make a Community Right to Build order.                                                                      Neighbourhood planning was introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Neighbourhood planning legislation came into effect in April 2012.                                               Neighbourhood planning powers give people the chance to decide how their local area should develop and what should be built, with the community choosing where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built and what they want them to look like.

The reason why Anston does not have a Neighbourhood Plan is costs. To develop a NP will cost anything between £50,000 and £70,000. (This equals about £12 from every person living in Anston) Drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan requires a referendum, people with specialised skills and a Planning Consultant but,and here’s the rub; Even if Anston residents drew up a NP. an Independent Examiner could kill it off simply by declaring it does not meet or match the requirements of the Local Development Plan.     Why should the residents plans for their parish be subject to a veto?                                    What is needed is a commitment to funding and supporting every parish and town council which wants to develop a neighbourhood plan over the lifetime of this Parliament, the introduction of new statutory rights on planning and licensing consultation and planning and appeal rights for parish and town councils with neighbourhood plans.

There are a couple of alternatives to a Neighbourhood Plan.                             Neighbourhood Development Orders; A neighbourhood development order allows the community to grant planning permission for development that complies with the order. This removes the need for a planning application to be submitted to the local authority.     Neighbourhood Development Orders can grant planning permission for specified developments in a neighbourhood area. Once established there would be no need for anyone to apply to the council for planning permission if it is for the type of development covered by the order.This should make it easier and quicker for such development to go ahead in the future. A Neighbourhood Development Order must still be in line with national planning policy,with the strategic vision for the wider area set by the local planning authority, and any other legal requirements. A town or parish council is the only body that can prepare a Neighbourhood Development Order in their area.         Community Right to Build orders; A Community Right to Build order gives permission for small-scale, site-specific developments by a community group.    Community Right to Build Orders are a special type of neighbourhood development order (NDO). Unlike NDOs and Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs) however, any local community organisation, not just a parish or town council or a neighbourhood forum, is able to create a Community Right to Build Order.                                                                            To be eligible to develop a Community Right to Build Order in a particular neighbourhood area at least one half of a community organisation’s members must live in that neighbourhood area. The organisation must also exist to further the economic, environmental and social well-being of the area in question, and any profits made as a result of Community Right to Build Orders must be used for the good of that community, not for private gain.                                                                                                         Development brought about by Community Right to Build Orders is likely to be small scale, and will not be able to take place if it would need an Environmental Impact Assessment or would be on a European designated site, for example a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  .Community Right to Build Orders will be adopted in the same way as NDOs, where subject to the Order meeting certain minimum standards a local referendum will ultimately decide whether the proposed development should go ahead.

What Anston needs is sympathetic development, sympathetic to the local environment and sympathetic to residents wishes.                                                                                                  We do not need greedy developers and greedy landlords.

Further reading



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