The Localism Act, was given Royal Assent in November 2011 and The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 came into force on 6th April 2012. This gives Town and Parish Councils the ability to produce a Neighbourhood Plan ('NP').
Towards the end of 2011, in preparation for these new regulations, it was decided, in the interests of efficiency and cost, that the Parish Councils of both Lindfield and Lindfield Rural would join forces to create a Neighbourhood Plan that covered both Parishes. The Parish Councils have registered the boundary of the Parishes as the defining Neighbourhood Plan area and set up an NP working group to gather evidence.
What is it?
It has been described as a tool for managing change. It can set out a vision for an area, and describe planning policies for the use and development of land. It is about local rather than strategic issues; it might cover where new shops, offices or homes would be acceptable, and what green spaces should be protected. The Neighbourhood Plan is the opportunity for residents to help determine the future of the two Parishes over the next 20 years. Key questions to consider are:-
How much and what type of housing do we need and where is the best place for development?
What Infrastructure do we need?
How do we maintain the character and landscape which makes the area distinctive?
Why do we need it?
The Neighbourhood Plan will be seen as a core document in determining future plans including development and infrastructure. If all the necessary steps are achieved, the District Council must adopt the NP, and it becomes a legal part of planning policy.
It is important to understand however that the Neighbourhood Plan, while giving local people real power in local decisions, does have to conform to National and Regional policy.
How will it be produced?
A questionnaire was issued in August 2012 and exhibitions held in September 2012, asking for the views of the community on a number of different topics. Analysis of the responses, both to the questionnaire and exhibitions, highlighted a number of issues/concerns and in February 2013, a number of focus groups were set up, comprising members of the community, to gather more specific data and views.
Further exhibitions were then held in April 2013 to obtain the views of the community on the results of the focus group investigations and a draft NP should be ready for public scrutiny by late October 2013. Once the NP is produced it will be circulated in draft form for comment before submission of the final document to MSDC. The District Council must check for legal compliance, and carry out further 'pre-examination' public consultation. An Independent Examiner must approve the plan, and finally a referendum of residents of the NP area will be held. If over 50% of the voters agree, the NP will be adopted and it will then carry real weight to determine future decisions.
Further details can be found on the Lindfield Parish Council Website at:
The Neighbourhood Plan The next stage
The Pre-submission Plan
We have now reached the next stage in the production of the Neighbourhood Plan for the Lindfield and Lindfield Rural Parishes. Utilising the results obtained from the various community exhibitions, focus group investigations and surveys, Action in rural Sussex(AirS) and their planning consultants(rCOH Ltd) have produced what is essentially a draft of the proposed Neighbourhood Plan, called the Pre-submission Plan.
The contents of the plan have been considered and agreed by both Parish Councils and it is now the time for the community to have their say. On 1 November 2013 the pre-submission plan is being released for a 6 week public consultation period and you are invited to scrutinise it and supply your comments. These will be considered by the Councils and where appropriate, the plan will be amended accordingly before the final version is passed to Mid Sussex District Council(MSDC) for checking by an independent inspector to ensure that it meets the Government guidelines. The plan will then undergo another 6 week public consultation, arranged by MSDC before being put to a referendum vote, which it will hopefully pass, and then be adopted as the development plan for the two parishes up until 2031.
From 1 November, you can view a copy of the pre-submission plan at either of the Parish Offices during normal opening hours or it can be viewed on Lindfield Parish website at:
Additionally, a copy of the plan will also be available at Haywards Heath Library and the Planning office at Mid Sussex District Council.
Details of how/where to comment on the content of the plan are contained within it. Please ensure that any such comments are received at the relevant Parish office by 13 December 2013.
We also plan to hold two Pop-in sessions where the proposals can be seen and discussed with Parish Council representatives. There will also be an opportunity to provide your comments. These sessions will be held on:
Tuesday 19 November 2013 7pm-9pm in the King Edward Hall, Lindfield
Saturday 23 November 2013 10am-12pm in the Millennium Centre, Scaynes Hill.