Saturday, 25 April 2020

Arne's Neighbourhood Plan passes its Examination

The Examiner's report on Arne's Neighbourhood Plan has now been published.  The Examiner, Jill Kingaby, carefully considered the changing policy background, with the Purbeck Local Plan's own small site policy having been amended as part of that Local Plan's examination, and yet to be adopted.

The draft Neighbourhood Plan had included a housing target of 3 and 4 new dwellings per annum (ie 48 - 64 dwellings).  The Inspector did consider raising this to 4 - 5 dwellings (which was more in line with the 'strategy off' housing need based on the latest housing projections) but on closer examination agreed that the upper end of this range could be potentially unsustainable in such an environmentally sensitive place.  Her solution was to use 4 dwellings per annum (64 dwellings) as a minimum, but agreed with the Parish Council that, because of the highly constrained nature of the parish, this need not be made policy and would simply be contained in the supporting text.

The Plan (as modified) can now proceed to referendum - at the current time this will be just over a year away (May 2021) unless the Government revise its regulations in light of progress in the Covid-19 fight.  However, the Plan should be given significant weight in planning decisions during the interim period.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Government update on Neighbourhood Plans and the current Covid19 restrictions

Update to the National Planning Policy Guidance confirms that examined plans who will now wait til May 2021 for their referendum can be given significant weight in decision-making.  The legislation could change to bring the date forward if this is possible and appropriate - but who knows where we will be in a month or so.

No clear guidance yet on consultations during the lockdown, other than being aware of the current restrictions and social distancing requirements.  Wareham Town Council (who were half way through their Regulation 14 consultation) are one such group affected.  A couple of groups in Dorset are just starting their examinations having finished their Regulation 16 consultations just before the lockdown (Milton Abbas and Shaftesbury) - the gorups are waiting to see how these proceed or whether they too get delayed, which will be down to the appointed examiners.