Designation of the Neighbourhood Area
Elmstead Market Parish Council submitted an area application to the District Council to begin their Neighbourhood Plan in late 2020. The Area application indicated that the Parish Council intended to designate the entire Parish as their Neighbourhood Plan Area.
The designation of Neighbourhood Plan Areas (the first stage in preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan) was until quite recently a decision that only the Planning Policy and Local Plan Committee could make. However, at Cabinet meeting in July 2020 a report was agreed that allows the Corporate Director for Economy and Place, with the endorsement of the Leader of the Council, to make such decisions.
The regulations that relate to the making of a Neighbourhood Plan Area state:
An application must be made by a parish or town council, neighbourhood forum or a prospective neighbourhood forum (or a community organisation in the case of a Community Right to Build Order) to the local planning authority for a neighbourhood area to be designated (see regulation 5 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended). This must include a statement explaining why the proposed neighbourhood area is an appropriate area.
A local planning authority must determine the application within certain timescales.
The 2012 Regulations state:
Application for designation of a neighbourhood area
5.—(1) Where a relevant body(1) submits an area application to the local planning authority it must include—
(a)a map which identifies the area to which the area application relates;
(b)a statement explaining why this area is considered appropriate to be designated as a neighbourhood area; and
(c)a statement that the organisation or body making the area application is a relevant body for the purposes of section 61G of the 1990 Act.
(2) A local planning authority may decline to consider an area application if the relevant body has already made an area application and a decision has not yet been made on that application.
The justification the Parish Council have submitted is copied below.
Elmstead Parish Council resolved at our last Parish Council Meeting on the 16th July 2020 to begin the process of developing a Neighbourhood Plan. Please treat this email as our application for the whole of the Elmstead Parish to be designated as a Neighbourhood Area.
Elmstead Parish Council is a relevant body to make this application for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Section 61G.
We consider that it is appropriate for the whole of Elmstead Parish to be designated. We do not consider it is practical to incorporate any other areas which fall within other Parishes.
We look forward to your confirmation that the Parish of Elmstead has been designated as a Neighbourhood Area together with any additional guidance which you may wish to provide. We understand that you have a relevant map showing our boundaries which you kindly offered to email us in the near future.
The District Council have provided the Parish Council with a map showing the Parish boundary.
Officers considered that the submitted information was sufficient to satisfy the 2012 Regulations and be made as an application. The Plan Area was therefore agreed by the Corporate Director for Economy and Place with the input of the Chairman of the Council on the 17th November 2020.