Neighbourhood Plan (NP) Briefing Note

Each month the Society has been keeping you abreast of progress with regard to the Village’s Neighbourhood Plan (NP) via your Monthly Newsletter. Recently there have been important developments with regard to the Plan and the Society needs to bring these and the potential implications to your attention. This note will endeavour to set out the background to these developments and give the facts in an open and unbiased way. Out of necessity it is a lengthy and detailed communication and we do not apologise for that!

The key messages are :-

  • The Neighbourhood Plan is currently out for consultation and comment
  • The Plan HAS CHANGED from the Plan publicised in March / April and on which you may have previously commented
  • Members are encouraged to send comments on the new Plan – deadline 24 August

Addingham Parish Council (PC) is the responsible qualifying body for the Neighbourhood Plan. During the middle of July it distributed a flyer around Addingham stating that the Neighbourhood Plan was going forward without the “Housing Allocation” (i.e. the 3 sites in the village which were considered suitable for new housing).  The flyer stated that it was intended “……to help protect the policies you support as soon as we can……and bring forward site allocations at a later date”.  It gave no indication of the fundamental difference of opinion within the Forum between the PC members who supported removal of the“Housing Allocation” and the rest of the Forum who did not. Also no mechanism or timescale was given for reinstating “Housing Allocation” into the Plan at a later date.

The background to this Draft NP document is as follows:-

  • An “Advisory Group’ of the Council – the Neighbourhood Plan Forum –was formed to undertake the work on the Plan. The Forum comprises 3 Parish Councillors (including one District Councillor) plus volunteers (representatives of Addingham Civic Society and village residents). The PC has appointed a professional Planning Consultant Michael Wellock as an adviser and to write the document.
  • Work on the NP started in 2015 and it has reached the draft plan stage. Plan topics include environment, housing, green spaces, traffic, heritage and community facilities.
  • Virtually all the technical detail (amounting collectively to hundreds of hours) was done by skilled and highly qualified professional members of the Society serving on the Forum, Michael Wellock, and the Parish Clerk.
  • A key decision taken at the outset was to include Housing Site Allocations in the Plan in order to try to meet the housing requirement of 200 dwellings, allocated for Addingham in Bradford’s Local Plan Core Strategy. In theory this gives the Village a say in where future houses are located.
  • After extensive survey work utilising Bradford Council’s methodology for assessing potential housing sites, 3 sites were identified which the Forum and the Parish Council considered suitable for housing development. These were included in the Draft Plan which was subject to a major public exhibition on the 9th and 10th of March 2018, with the consultation period running to 7th of April. It received overwhelming support from residents for all the policies. Two of the proposed housing sites were very strongly supported. There was also strong support for the third, the Old School Site, although some reservations were expressed about the use of part of the land for housing, mainly regarding access.
  • The Draft Plan was finalised by the Forum prior to adoption by the Parish Council at a meeting following its AGM on 16th However the meeting was informed of the need to speed the passage of the Plan through to a local referendum and adoption in May 2019 and this could only be achieved by removing the Housing Site Allocations Policy from the Plan as it was proving problematic with Bradford. The Plan would then proceed with a “streamlined” version. Justification for this action was unclear and financially based around the potential loss of CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) money which is generated from new developments. A motion to pursue this course of action was approved and ratified at an Extraordinary Meeting on 4th June. Unspecified steps would be taken to reinstate Housing Site Allocations after the adoption of the Plan. It is worth noting that in recent years housing provision in Addingham has proved very contentious and generated high levels of interest and comment.
  • The non-PC members of the Neighbourhood Plan Forum were unaware that the Parish Council planned to remove Housing Site Allocations and two informal meetings of the Forum were held where the PC endeavoured to explain the rationale for its action. The non-PC members were adamant that the NP should be left intact. About this time Bradford finally commented on our Draft NP. They supported most of the policies, but said that further work was required to justify the Housing Site Allocations. The non-PC members of the Forum felt this work could be delivered relatively quickly and need not delayprogress unduly. However the PC felt the process would continue to be delayed by Bradford and decided to proceed with a streamlined version of the Plan.
  • Whilst the Plan retains excellent policies it is the view of the non-PC Forum Representatives, who include members of the Civic Society, that by removing the Housing Site Allocations the Draft Neighbourhood Plan has been weakened and will leave the Village more vulnerable to aggressive developer applications in the short term. By the time the PC embarks on a fresh consultation to reinstate the Housing Site Allocations, post the referendum in May 2019, the exercise will probably be irrelevant. It could take a further year or more, by which time fundamental housing decisions will have been taken.

It should also be noted that:

  1. There are other policies in the plan, which were strongly supported by Village residents in the March consultation and they remain, with only minor changes. The proposals for Local Green Space designation, which give a strong level of protection, for instance, are unaltered.
  2. The PC as the body responsible for the NP is of course perfectly entitled to proceed as indicated.

As stated above the Revised Draft Neighbourhood Plan is currently in a further 6 week statutory Regulation 14 Consultation Period ending on 24th August. The document can be viewed on the Council’s website http://www.addingham-pc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Addingham-Reg-14-Draft-Neighbourhood-Plan.pdf

The website also details places in the village where paper copies of the document have been deposited.  These are: The Memorial Hall, Community Library, Medical Centre, Rowlands Pharmacy (by the Medical Centre), Civic Society Telephone kiosk on Church St., Co-op, Post Office. Anyone wishing to comment is asked to use the response form, which can be found on the Parish Council website and also attached to this note. Respondents are asked whether they support/object or wish to comment on specific policies.

We would strongly urge Members to take the opportunity to comment on a fundamentally different plan to that presented at the 9th of  March Informal Consultation (Open Event)at the Memorial Hall.

How to comment on the Plan

  • Read the plan document (!) (available as indicated above)
  • Print off the Response Form attached to your email (as many copies as you need), write up your comments, and deliver the form(s) to the Old School building
  • You can also access the Response Form via the PC’swebsite:

http://www.addingham-pc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Regulation-14-Consultation-Representation-Form-11.07.18.docx

  • Alternatively, save the form to your computer and type in your comments; then either email your form(s) to the Parish Clerk clerk@addingham-pc.co.uk or print them off and deliver them to the Old School
  • Should you have any difficulty printing the response form then you can call into Hadfields Printers on Main Street and pick one (or more) up
  • A separate form is required for each policy you are commenting on. You will need to check the plan document for the policy and page number.  Tick the appropriate box on the form to show if you are supporting, objecting to or commenting on a policy in the Plan; it is also possible to tick more than one box – eg where you want to support and make comments, or object and make comments.

If you require any help in understanding the Plan or advice in making your comments, then please contact Malcolm Keeble via email: malcolmkeeble04@gmail.com

Addingham Civic Society