Neighbourhood Planning can be confusing. The answers below are designed to explain what the Plan is all about. If you have any further questions or queries please do not hesitate to get in touch via info@easthagbourneplan.net.

1. What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan is a development plan covering our Parish, which allows the community to influence the amount, type and location of development in the Parish, within the context of a Local Plan developed by the District Council. The Plan is led by the community, written by community representatives and must be agreed by the residents.

2. Why are we creating a Neighbourhood Plan (NP)?

National policy and pressure for new housing to accommodate a growing population, particularly in SE England, has created a significant shortfall in housing supply. East Hagbourne Parish is particularly affected as it directly adjoins the Southern boundary of Didcot, which has been designated as a Garden Town, and is expected to more than double in size over the next 25 years. These development pressures leave our Parish vulnerable to applications on unallocated land which are difficult to effectively oppose.

There are currently seven applications in play or expected that could add up to 1100 homes to the Parish.

An approved NP gives us the opportunity to direct development to the most suitable locations and to influence the scale, type and quality of what is built and to push for community facilities to accompany such developments

3. What is our vision statement for the Plan?

To safeguard the individual character, vitality and community facilities of our historic village and protect its rural environment for the benefit of town and village alike, whilst supporting sustainable development that meets the needs of residents now and in the future.

4. What is meant by a 5- year supply of Housing Land and how is it calculated?

The housing supply figure or 5-year supply regularly referred to is that for the whole of the South Oxfordshire District, there is no separate calculation done for each Parish. This figure is based on a calculation of the expected annual delivery of homes from sites that have planning permission and have been started or are capable of being started. Just giving outline planning permission in itself does not necessarily boost housing supply. Detailed planning or reserved matters permission must also be in place and the infrastructure and servicing necessary to allow a start on site must have been delivered too. In other words it is a measure of deliverable housing units.

5. Why are we now proposing to allocate a site or sites for housing?

The Steering Group were advised over the summer of 2017 that SODC was not likely to be able have either a 5- year supply of housing land or have their new 2033 Plan in place before the end of 2018 and would thus struggle to oppose applications on unallocated sites including those in Parishes like ours.

But a Central Government directive dating from December 2016 offers additional protection against development on unallocated sites, to Parishes who have made suitable housing allocations in their NP’s in the event that the District Authority does not have a 5- year supply of housing land in their area.

This protection lasts for two years, as long as the District can achieve the much lower threshold of a 3- year supply. We have been assured by SODC that they can maintain a 3- year supply, that by the end of the 2 year protection period they will have achieved a 5 -year supply, and we should then be protected by the SODC local plan until at least 2033.

6. What are we doing now?

Following the public meeting on 14th September which launched the process of considering sites for allocation, the Steering Group issued a “Call for Sites” which closed on the 18th October.

The Steering Group has invited a group of residents – The Community Group – drawn from all parts of the village to help in assessing and evaluating possible sites which could be considered for allocation. The combined group has met twice so far in November and has conducted a pre-screening exercise covering all land areas within the Parish in order to objectively produce a long list of sites considered for more detailed assessment and evaluation. Based upon best practice and criteria developed for other Parishes the group has produced an assessment and evaluation template “tailormade” for our Parish.

The sites included on the long list include those put forward in the call for site and exception sites which are already in the planning process. Site owners will be consulted fully and it is hoped that we will be down to a short list of sites in January at which point a further public meeting will be held to update all residents and to seek comments upon the shortlist prior to the final choice.

7. What are the stages/timescales going forward?

Once we have a complete plan including a site or sites proposed for allocation-hopefully the complete Draft Plan will be be put out for an inital 6-week consultation period which will give residents, and all local and regional stakeholders, the opportunity to comment and seek amendments to the Plan.

Following this the plan will be reviewed and revised before it is formally submitted to SODC. If SODC accept the plan they will conduct a second 6 week consultation.

After this the Plan and representations made during the consultation will be considered by an independent inspector appointed by SODC.

The inspector will give his / her view of the plan and any amendments required by the inspector are then made before the Plan is put to a referendum of Local people. A simple majority in favour will ensure that the Plan is brought into force. The additional protection afforded by the allocation process referred to above is timed from when the Plan is brought into force.

Main Stages Summary

March/April 2018: Initial 6 week consultation.
Spring: Comments will be considered and if necessary the plan will be adjusted.
Summer : The Plan will be formally submitted to SODC who will run a second 6 week consultation before a Government Inspector is appointed to review the plan
Late Summer: If the plan is passed by the Inspector a referendum will be held in the Parish. Residents will vote for or against the plan.
Autumn: If residents vote in favour of the Plan it will be ‘adopted’
and become a ‘made’ plan.

8. What will the Neighbourhood Plan be used for?

A Neighbourhood Plan will be part of the statutory development plan for the area. This statutory status gives neighbourhood plans far more weight than some other local documents, such as parish plans, community plans and village design statements. This document will be consulted whenever development is proposed in the parish.

9. What happens after the Plan is completed?

The Plan is reviewed 12 months after it is made, primarily to correct any mistakes made. Thereafter it will be reviewed every 5 years to ensure that its policies are still relevant and will be updated as necessary with input from local residents.

10. What is your role?

This is your Plan for the future of your Community. Everything that is happening with the Plan will be available on the Neighbourhood Plan website. We need your input and comments and suggestions into this important process. Please come to the public meetings, make your views known to member of the Steering and Community groups, take part in the Plan consultation and vote in the referendum.

If you have any questions or comments to make about any of the above please contact the Steering Group at info@easthagbourneplan.net