Weekly digest: Apr 18

Hello again,

We’re starting off this next century of digests with news about the Forum. This is mainly because I’ve not picked up any useful new links relating to COVID-19. You’ll find the regular links further down this missive with one additional link. However, I want to pick up on a couple of almost throwaway remarks I made at the tail end of last week’s edition.

1. Consultation Statement is done!

  • The Plan is done! The Basic Conditions Statement is done! And now, the Consultation Statement is done as well! (And that’s more than enough exclamatory statements for one edition!)
  • We are still awaiting feedback from the Council following their informal review of the Plan. We expect to hear their suggestions in the next couple of weeks and, following an interim conversation with the planners, it’s looking pretty positive.
  • There is one final document we are working on. This is the Plan Modifications report which details the amendments made to the Plan following all the feedback from last summer. We had thought this was more of a ‘should do’ document added as an appendix to the Consultation Statement, but it turns out to be a ‘must do’ report that needs to be submitted along with all the rest. We have the information, it’s just a question of collating it all together into a standard format. 
  • And then we will be ready to submit the Plan to the Council for the next stage in the process! (Okay, one last “!”)

2. Recap of the Neighbourhood Plan process.

  • After last week’s review of the last 18 months, I thought it useful to have a quick recap on the overall process so you can see where we are on the overall ‘roadmap’. There are five main stages in getting a Plan produced and adopted:
    • Stage 1: Getting Established (Sept ’16 – Mar ’17). This covers the period between our first start-up meeting back in 2016 and becoming formally designated as a Forum with an agreed Neighbourhood Area. Designation gave the Forum the statutory authority to produce a Neighbourhood Plan.
    • Stage 2: Forming the Vision and Core Objectives (Apr ’17 – Mar ’18). This period focused on consulting you and gathering your thoughts on what was good and bad about our area as well as your ambitions and concerns for the future. This period included, during the autumn of 2017, working with University architecture graduates to build illustrative visions. It concluded with the series of 4 community consultation sessions held in the spring of 2018.
    • Stage 3: Producing the Plan (Apr ’18 – Sept ’19). This 18-month period was longer than anticipated mainly because we commissioned three reports from consultants (AECOM) to provide much-needed background character information and the evidence needed to justify policies. The Plan was finally published in July 2019 which was immediately followed by the 10-week formal consultation period to get your feedback along with those of key businesses and landowners.
    • Stage 4:  Revising the Plan (Oct ’19 – Apr ’20). The Steering Group has spent the last 6 months or so analysing the exceptional level of feedback from the consultation and using the comments and suggestions to strengthen the Plan. Associated documents have also been produced to:
      • assure conformity to the National Planning Policy Framework as well as the policies in Broxtowe Council’s Part 2 Local Plan; and
      • assure the level of consultation we have undertaken with you to prove this is a Plan that genuinely reflects the desires and ambitions of the community.
    • Stage 5: Formal Adoption (May ’20 to…..) This period is managed by the Council, once they receive our submission, and comprises three main components:
      • Formal consultation. The Council has to undertake its own consultation exercise on the Plan. This is so that everyone has the opportunity to review the final version.
      • Independent Examination. The Council then commissions an independent examiner to scrutinise the Plan to ensure it conforms to statutory legislation. This examination gives the Plan legal force when it is adopted and so mandates developers to adhere to it.
      • Referendum. The final component is the referendum of all residents in our Area. This is arranged by the Council and ensures the community has the ultimate say on whether the Plan should be formally adopted.
  • We originally anticipated this final phase would take approximately 6 months. However, we learned last week that due to the current pandemic all elections and referendums have been delayed until next May 2021. This is down to the delay to the Mayoral & local authority elections that were scheduled for next month. The delay is incorporated into the emergency legislation passed by the government last month. If you are interested, here is a link to the government guidance relating to neighbourhood planning.
  • This is a blow as we really wanted our Plan to be adopted and come into force this year. There is, however, one redeeming feature contained in the guidance. Councils are advised that where a plan is ready to be sent to referendum, “that plan can be given significant weight in decision-making” where relevant. It’s something I suppose but, even so, it remains hugely frustrating that we are a year away before formal adoption.

3. Regular links….

This is another lengthy edition, so I’ll close even more quickly than las….

Kind regards

Broxtowe Lotto: tickets available from our CTTC Forum page where you’ll also find details of the scheme

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