What is a Neighbourhood Development Plan?
A Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) is a community-led framework of policies for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. If a NDP is brought into force, then it will be part of the statutory plan for the area and thus must be used to determine planning applications in the area it covers.
Since 2011, Parish Councils have had the power to deliver NDPs, but they cannot do so without the active participation and support of their communities. Parish Councillors need to be joined by volunteers who can offer their skills, expertise and knowledge.
The community itself must demonstrate it has a shared vision for the neighbourhood and wishes to influence planning. This may involve choosing where development should take place, influencing the appearance of new buildings and protecting green spaces. It does NOT mean communities can prevent all development. NDPs must comply with planning policy, both nationally (the National Planning Policy Framework) and locally (here it is the West Berkshire Core Strategy).
To be accepted, a NDP has to go through a documented process of community engagement and consultation, developing policies and proposals. It has to be submitted to the local planning authority (in Lambourn, this is West Berkshire Council), subjected to a rigorous independent Examination by an Inspector and, if found to be satisfactory, be put to the local community in a referendum. Only if more than 50% of those voting in the referendum vote “yes” can the local planning authority bring the NDP into legal force. The costs of the Examination and referendum are met by the planning authority.
Lambourn Parish Council believes that making a NDP for the whole Parish is an opportunity for parishioners to contribute to future planning. After a series of meetings and pop-up exhibitions around the Parish during 2018, the Parish Council applied to WBC to designate Lambourn Parish as a Neighbourhood Development Area. This was agreed in December 2018 and the Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group was set up to lead the work which needs to be done.
Although initiated by the Parish Council, the Plan cannot simply be devised by the Parish Council. The Steering Group has been working to establish links with all sections of the community so that all residents of the civil Parish of Lambourn feel they have a contribution to make. The topics featured in the Residents’ Questionnaire are based on the concerns people have raised at meetings and pop-up exhibitions. The responses to the Questionnaire will contribute to the formation of policies for future development in the Parish. This is why it is so important that as many people as possible make their views known.