The development of a Neighbourhood Plan follows a well-defined process, the main stages of which are:
- Designation of Neighbourhood Area In our case this first stage of the process is completed. On 13th October 2015 Wycombe District Council – our Local Authority – designated the whole parish of Bledlow-cum-Saunderton as the geographical area for the Neighbourhood Plan.
- Pre-Submission Consultation This is arguably the most critical stage in the process, as it is during this phase that the Neighbourhood Plan starts shaping up and, for the first time, is subject to public scrutiny. In drafting the Plan it is important to gather and/or develop robust information and data on which to base the proposed vision, objective and planning policies. In so doing it is also imperative to properly engage with the local community. This is not only a legal requirement but, more importantly, a critical success factor in developing realistic and deliverable plans and policies supported by the community. Our Neighbourhood Plan completed this stage on 25th August 2016 when the Parish Council approved the submission of the Plan to Wycombe District Council, our local planning authority.
- Neighbourhood Plan Submission and Examination Having confirmed that the Neighbourhood Plan met all the required regulations, on 12th September 2016 Wycombe District Council publicised it for a final six-weeks’ consultation process. This consultation ended on 25th October 2016 and soon after Wycombe District Council arranged for an independent examination of the Plan. The task of the independent Examiner was to determine whether the Plan met a number of legal requirements and, as consequence, was ready (with or without modifications) to proceed to the referendum stage. The Examiner’s Final Report recommended making five modifications to the Plan relating to Policy 3 (Molins, South Saunderton), Policy 7 (Sustainable Design in the Greenbelt) and supporting text. The Examiner also recommended that the plan, once modified, should proceed to referendum by the residents of the Bledlow-cum-Saunderton parish. On 7th February 2017 Wycombe District Council made an initial decision to accept all of the Examiner’s recommendations and to proceed to referendum . Following a potential legal challenge against this initial decision received in March 2017, Wycombe District Council revisited it and decided to issue a new decision to proceed to referendum on 22nd March 2017, when this stage of our Neighbourhood Plan process was completed.
- Referendum The Bledlow-cum-Saunderton Neighbourhood Plan faced the last scrutiny by the local community in the referendum which took place on 4th May 2017 on the question: “Do you want Wycombe District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Bledlow-cum-Saunderton parish to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?“. 81.48% of those voting voted ‘yes’ and the Plan came into force on 23rd June 2017 when Wycombe District Council adopted it.
Timetable at a glance
|Designation of Neighbourhood Area||Completed on 13th October 2015|
|Pre-submission Consultation||Completed on 25th August 2016|
|Neighbourhood Plan Submission and Examination||Completed on 22nd March 2017|
|Referendum||Completed on 4th May 2017|
|Adoption||Completed on 23rd June 2017|
Neighbourhood Plan Organisation
Bledlow-cum-Saunderton Parish Council is the accountable body for the development of the Parish Neighbourhood Plan.
In order to efficiently deal with such a large project, the Parish Council has created an ad-hoc Working Group and appointed a number of Councillors and lay-members to sit on it. The Working Group operates according to a set of Terms of Reference defined by the Parish Council. The Working Group meets regularly and reports back to the Parish Council monthly via minutes. The most important decisions concerning the project are taken by the Parish Council and included in the relevant Parish Council meeting minutes.
The current members of the Working Group are:
|Chairperson||Chairs meetings||Simon Breese|
|Secretary||Convenes and minutes meetings/Chairs meetings when chairman is not available||Derek Stone|
|Project manager||Creates, monitors and maintains project plan||Luca Guerzoni|
|Finance co-ordinator||Manages and keeps records of spending and liaises with clerk of Parish Council on all receipts and payment issues||Paul Castle|
|Bridging co-ordinator||Reports on progress of Working Group to the Parish Council, WDC and BCC||Andrew Sage|
|Communications/Community Engagement co-ordinators||Responsible for helping to (i) organise public events, maintain the web-site, circulate newsletters and other communications with the community and (ii) gather information from and liaise with interest groups including consultees||(Luca Guerzoni)|
The Working Group has set up a series of Task Groups comprising Working Group members and volunteers from the community. The Task Groups have been asked to look at specific topics to be covered by the Neighbourhood Plan, and to carry out the following work:
- Carry out research related to the assigned topic
- Gather and/or generate the required evidence
- Identify the key local players and engage with them in the plan making process
- Know the content of existing plans and strategies at National and Local levels and understand their impact onto the neighbourhood planning
- Participate in the drafting of the Neighbourhood Plan for the assigned topic
The Task Groups appointed by the Working Group are:
|Saunderton Station||Carl Etholen||Future development of the Saunderton Station area|
|Non-Green Belt and AONB Area||Derek Stone||Future development of the parish area not included in the Green Belt or the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty|
|Design of the Built Environment||Kate Fischer||Design standards for the development in the Parish
Future development in Bledlow Ridge
|Community Infrastructure||Andrew Sage||Future of valued community facilities
Parish infrastructure priorities
|Rural Economy and Environment||Henry Shaw||Future business-related development in the parish
Future of environment assets in the parish
Should any energetic resident of the Parish like to be involved in any Task Groups please contact the Working Group as soon as possible.