Pirton’s Neighbourhood Plan


Background and Explanation

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Foreword by Diane Bailey - Parish Council Chairman

Introduction by Diane Burleigh - Chair of the Steering Group

What is the Plan about?

The Golden thread running through the whole of the Plan is the quality of life for present and future generations. The majority of residents who responded to both the 2014 Adult and Youth Questionnaires (the NP Survey 2015) were satisfied with life in the village. What they liked was the peace, the rural nature, the character, the friendliness and the surrounding countryside and views.

The Plan is constructed around the important themes identified in the NP Survey 2015, which were; Housing and Development (including design and character), Wildlife, Heritage and Landscape; Amenities and Facilities; Transport and Connectivity.

Foreword by Diane Bailey - Parish Council Chairman (taken from the March Parish Council newsletter)

This latest edition of the Parish Council newsletter concentrates on updating parishioners with news of the Pirton Neighbourhood Plan. The Parish Council is extremely grateful to the Steering Group who have devoted considerable time, energy and commitment to developing the Plan on behalf of the village. It is now time to consult with the whole Parish once again and it is hoped that the summary in this newsletter will explain the process to date and what we would like you to do next.

This is a further opportunity for you to have your say on the future development of the village. The Plan to date has been based on previous consultations - you will recall the questionnaire which was delivered to all households as well as events at the Summer Fair and in the Village Hall. These previous consultations have provided a vital part of the evidence base on which the policies in the Plan have been formed.

As the Plan nears completion this is your last chance to have input and make further comments before the Plan is formally submitted for examination. A high level of response from the village would be extremely valuable so I would thank you in advance for taking part in the final stages of the Neighbourhood Plan process.

Introduction by Diane Burleigh - Chair of the Steering Group (taken from the March Parish Council newsletter)

We are all aware that successive governments have worried that there is not enough housing development taking place to provide Britain with the homes it needs now, let alone in future years. So in exchange for a more assertive approach by government to getting houses built, the last government introduced the idea of "neighbourhood planning". This gives local communities, normally based on town and parish areas, the right to control what development looks like and some- times where it goes, the ability to protect the things about a neighbourhood that the local community most values, and the means to enhance and expand facilities and services that the community wants. It should be a doddle. Alas, life is never that simple. There are rules to comply with.

A Neighbourhood Plan has to conform to government planning guidance called the National Planning Policy Framework. That is actually not too difficult. It also has to be "evidence based". This means that a small group of residents - the Steering Group or the Parish Councillors - cannot just make it up to suit themselves. This Plan is Your Plan, so we have to consult with you and take your views very much into account. We also have to consult various organisations like Natural England and Historic England, and take their views in to account. How we have done this, and how we have taken account of what we have been told, forms a major part of "the evidence base".

The Plan must also be "in general conformity with the Strategic Policies of the Local Plan" (that is NHDC's Local Plan). It is at this point that we have had to deal with a problem; NHDC does not have an up to date Local Plan as such. It has a number of policies "saved" from the last Local Plan; and it is working on a new Local Plan. However, parts of this new 'draft' Local Plan are not liked by many residents. In particular I am referring to the proposed new boundaries for Pirton, and site allocations for large housing estates.

We have taken advice. The Plan must be in general conformity with the "saved" polices; and at the same time show we have taken notice of the proposals for the new Local Plan. How do we square your acceptance of about 48 houses over the lifetime of the Plan, with the NHDC's strategic allocation of over 142 houses on two sites (and with the prospect of more)? The Plan will fail its public examination if we do not get this right. We cannot afford for it fail, there is too much that is important to the future development of Pirton to allow it to fail. And until we get right through to the end of the process, the Plan has no influence on planning decisions. So it is important that we press on.