UPDATE – MAY 2019
The current draft version of the Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted for early consultation to the following bodies: Natural England, Historic England, Environment Agency and St Albans District and City Council.
Wheathampstead’s Neighbourhood Plan
Wheathampstead Parish Council has agreed to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan (sometimes called a Neighbourhood Development Plan) for our parish. In the coming months we will be compiling the plan in full consultation with our residents. The Plan is our way (Wheathampstead residents) to influence development within the parish for the next 20 years.
We will be calling for volunteers with particular skills at various points in the project. In the first instance these might include town planners, architects, IT specialists, graphic designers and marketing communication. Later we will also need volunteers to help organise public meetings, leaflet drops, surveys and special events.
Preparation/research for the neighbourhood plan includes the following:
Call for Sites
Wheathampstead Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group are aware of all the sites submitted to St Albans City & District Council in response to previous Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) surveys. These sites on the District Council’s database will be taken into account in drawing up the Wheathampstead Neighbourhood Plan, but landowners or other interested parties may wish to re-affirm whether or not the sites are still available for development. In addition, other neighbourhood level residential development sites for affordable housing (normally no larger than 10 dwellings on a maximum site area of 0.5 hectares) or other housing up to 30 dwellings may be submitted (NOW CLOSED).
April 2019: For a summary of the Call for Sites, including results, click here.
Housing Needs Survey
A survey was distributed to every household in the parish to find out residents’ requirements for housing. Both a summary of the survey and its results can be found here.
A profile for Wheathampstead civil parish was compiled by St Albans District and City Council following the general census in 2011. A copy of that profile can be found here.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
The Localism Act (2011) has reformed the planning system to give local people new rights to shape the development of the communities in which they live.
Neighbourhood Plans will set out the vision for an area and the planning policies for the use and development of land within Wheathampstead – our parish and Neighbourhood Area.
These policies will support the strategic policies within the St Albans Local Plan – Core Strategy. Our Plans should focus on guiding development rather than stopping it.
Neighbourhood Plans will give our community an increased ability to influence planning within our area. Plans will need to conform with planning policies and guidance at a local, national and European level and meet the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations. This will be tested in an independent examination. They will also need to demonstrate involvement of the local community in decision making and be subject to a community referendum.
Once such a plan is made or adopted, it will become a statutory plan carrying equal weight to the St Albans Local Plan – Core Strategy and be part of the Local Development Framework. This will mean that it will be used in making decisions on planning applications by St Albans District Council
Benefits of a Neighbourhood Plan
- A Neighbourhood Plan helps the community to play a greater role in shaping the future of the area.
- It brings together local residents, businesses, local groups, landowners and developers to share ideas and build consensus about what is needed by the local community.
- It can help build relationships between local community and service providers.
- It allows communities to set the PRIORITIES for planning within the area.
- Areas with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan are entitled to a larger share of any Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which goes towards infrastructure projects in the area.
Neighbourhood Plans can:
- Decide where and what type of development should happen within the parish .
- Promote more development than provided for within the St Albans Local Plan Core Strategy.
- Include detailed planning policies for the parish which do not conflict with the St Albans Local Plan – Core Strategy.
Neighbourhood Plans cannot:
- Conflict with the policies within the St Albans Local Plan – Core Strategy
- Be used to prevent development
- Be prepared by a body other than a parish or town council in St Albans
- Include county matters such as Minerals and Waste
What does a Neighbourhood Plan look like?
Can be simple or complex. Examples include:
- Area local plan – Comprehensive coverage of policy issues and allocates development sites for a range of uses
- Policy plan – Can cover a broad range of policy issues with criteria based policies but no specific allocation
- Single policy document – A single policy issue such as protection of open spaces, affordable housing or retail issues
- Allocations plan – A plan can be used as a site allocation document to indicate the appropriate sites for further development within the site
What might it include?
Neighbourhood Plans can contain a variety of issues and policies which are most relevant to the parish. The plan should be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community. Examples (non exhaustive) include
- Identify sites for housing, including affordable housing;
- Provision of a settlement boundary;
- Provision for businesses to set up or expand in the parish;
- Provision of cycle ways and footpaths;
- Identify sites for community use such as schools, village halls, health centre, leisure facilities;
- Design guidance for your parish;
- Protection and creation of open space, green amenity areas, nature reserves, allotments, play areas;
- Protection of important local buildings and other historical assets;
- Promoting of renewable energy schemes and projects;
- Restrict the types of development or change of use, for example; non retail uses in village/town centres;
- Provide sites for Gypsies and Travellers.
You can download a more detailed explanation of the Neighbourhood Planning process in the form of a booklet published by the CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) called “How to shape where you live: a guide to neighbourhood planning“.