What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

Following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011, Town and Parish Councils are being given the opportunity to have a greater say in where they think new homes, employment land and infrastructure should be, and look like, through the production of a Neighbourhood Plan.

Provided a Neighbourhood Plan is in line with National Planning Policy Framework, the Wiltshire Core Strategy and with other legal requirements, local people will be able to vote on the Plan in a referendum. If the Plan is approved by the majority of those who vote, then the Plan will be given weight by Wiltshire Council when making decisions on planning applications within the designated area.

Why should we have one?

  • Greater influence on where development goes and what it will look like.
  • Community ownership and engagement.
  • Increased understanding of community needs and aspirations.

How much will it cost? Who will pay for it?

This will depend on the level of detail we want to include.

It will be up to Corsham Town Council to pay for the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. Wiltshire Council will only pay for the independent examination and the referendum, as well as providing technical advice and practical support.

How many more houses is Corsham expected to provide?

The indicative housing requirement for Corsham from 2006-2026 is 1220 dwellings (figures taken from the Wiltshire Core Strategy).

Although this may seem like a large figure, there have been many completions already and there are more committed developable sites.

Corsham has met the indicative minimum requirement for housing. 

Can we stop any more development from happening?

No – a Neighbourhood Plan can guide development to be more appropriate to local context and help decide where it goes within the area. A Neighbourhood Plan cannot stop development and government has made it clear that it is not a tool for residents to oppose proposals for new developments close to them. A Neighbourhood Plan can only include proposals for an equal (or greater) amount of growth than is set out in Wiltshire Council’s development plan, regional and national guidance.

What conditions must a Neighbourhood Plan fulfil?

Neighbourhood Planning does not mean that communities can plan how and what they like. There are still parameters set by national, regional and local planning policies and Neighbourhood Plans will have to meet a number of conditions:

  • They must have regard to national planning policy;
  • They must be in general conformity with the strategic policies contained within the local development plan; and
  • They must be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements.

What weight will be given to Neighbourhood Plans in planning decisions?

When adopted, Neighbourhood Plans will be statutory planning documents. They will form part of the local development plan and will have significant weight when it comes to making decisions on planning applications.

How long will it take and what period will it cover?

We hope to complete the Neighbourhood Plan within two years. Neighbourhood Plans can cover 25 years but will need reviewing approximately every five years.

What is the difference between a Corsham Neighbourhood Plan and a Corsham Masterplan?

  • Neighbourhood Plans are planning powers that can establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood. A neighbourhood can range from a small settlement up to one or more parishes.
  • When adopted Neighbourhood Plans will form part of the development plan for the local area. They have the same weight as the Wiltshire Core Strategy and its associated documents.
  • Neighbourhood Plans cannot be in conflict with the Wiltshire Core Strategy but can amend or add to policies where local variations are needed, or allocate additional land for development.                             
  • Masterplans/Frameworks  cannot amend policies or allocate land for development. However, they can become Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) providing detailed guidance on how planning policies will be implemented. 
  • Masterplans provide key evidence on how development can be practically delivered and illustrate what it could look like to support policies contained within local planning documents.
  • Put simply – Masterplans explore ideas for development, work out if such ideas are practical and show how they could be implemented.
  • Neighbourhood Plans use Masterplans and other relevant local documents to provide guidance and evidence that further policies are required or additional land should be allocated for specific use.

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