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The article below is a brief description of the Neighbourhood Plan process and how we are approaching the development of the Botley Neighbourhood Plan (BNP). A much fuller guide to Neighbourhood Planning is provided by the Locality Neighbourhood Plans (link to NPRoadmaps).
The BNP will outline the vision of the local community for the next 20 years and so identify things that need to be achieved. The core of developing the BNP is the community's view to guide the Botley Neighbourhood Plan Committee (BNPC). We need the views of the whole community, as younger residents and families may have differing views from those not in the first flush of youth. A robust BNP will ensure that we can influence decisions concerning development in the future. If we don’t have one, we will have to accept decisions concerning development in Botley made solely by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC).
The BNP can deal with a wide range of issues, as well as housing development. For example: education by the phasing of development dependent on the provision of sufficient school places; preservation of sites of historic or heritage importance; identification and protection of local green spaces, including sites of environmental importance like Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation; provide sites for increased health provision; provide, maintain and develop sport and leisure facilities; traffic and road usage; electric car charging points; cycleways & footpaths; providing for local employment, and; community cohesion by appropriate design of developments. Also, there are a range of Community Aspirations. For example: working with our local Clinical Commissioning Group to provide additional healthcare; adequate local shops; air quality; increasing voluntary groups; working with our Local Education Authority to ensure sufficient school places; encourage the use of local sport and leisure facilities; expanding the hospitality sector; improving youth facilities; providing local cultural opportunities; better broadband, as part of the National Broadband Plan; improving public transport, and; improving Botley Square. Some of these are in our control and for others we need a clear message to take to those who provide the services
Regarding housing development EBC is our local Planning Authority. We are consulted in all planning matters within the Parish and we can object to applications if there are material consideration (legal reasons) for doing so or request specific conditions to be placed on the developer but we cannot simply block them. So, within the BNP we are able to identify sites where we, the community, want further development to go, as well as the numbers, design and housing mix for these sites. Even where a strategic site has been identified the BNP can have policies relating to density and design. The BNP cannot promote less development than is identified in the EBC Local Plan (LP) (link to LP) and the recent Main Modifications (link to LP Modifications).
Also, we must be aware that the EBC LP may fail to be adopted and then if there is no made (adopted) BNP it would be very difficult to stop or influence any hostile development applications.
The development of the BNP is the responsibility of the BNPC, which has both Councillors and non-Councillors as members. To help us produce the BNP we have appointed Professional Advisers (Plan-ET), who provide specialised planning and legal advice and will assist us as we move through the 14 major steps from concept to Referendum, and briefly these steps are:
- Analyse data received from the community in surveys and at meetings;
- Use data to create a 1st draft Vision & Objectives for the BNP, consider what Policies would achieve the Objectives, prepare Topic Papers to provide an evidence base for the Policies;/li>
- Get community feedback on the draft Vision & Objectives;
- Using revised Vision & Objectives, topic papers and draft Policies create skeleton BNP (Currently we are at this stage);
- Obtain Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) Screening to see if full Assessments are required;
- Further community engagement for feedback on draft BNP;
- Pre-submission (Regulation 14) Consultation lasting at least 6 weeks - publicise the draft BNP widely throughout the Parish, provide a leaflet covering the main points of the BNP and where the full BNP may be viewed, explain how to provide feedback, and consult with required Statutory Bodies and surrounding Town/Parish Councils;
- Use feedback to revise draft BNP to create the Submission BNP;
- Prepare Consultation and Basic Conditions Statements and full SEA and/or HRA if required;
- BNP submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council (Regulation 15);
- EBC Formal Consultation on BNP (Regulation 16), lasting at least 6 weeks with feedback mechanism to EBC;
- Independent Examination of BNP, Independent Examiner appointed by EBC after discussion with BPC and we have the right to change the Examiner if we so wish, feedback from Regulation 16 Consultation goes to the Examiner;
- Consider the Examiner’s recommended modifications and make agreed changes to the BNP (sincerely hope that the Examiner will not require a Public Hearing);
- BNP proceeds to Public Referendum arranged by EBC. Requires only one more vote in favour than against and then becomes a made (adopted) Plan as part of the Local Development Plan.
The BNPC meets on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 7.15 pm in the Committee Room at the Botley Centre. These are public meetings and you are welcome to attend. The Agendas and Minutes are published on the Botley web site in the Parish Council tab/Minutes & Agendas/Neighbourhood Plan and regular updates on progress are published on the Botley web site in the Parish Council tab/Botley Neighbourhood Plan tab/NP Home/BNP Progress.
Councillor David Weeden
Chair Botley Neighbourhood Plan Committee