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Little Shelford Neighbourhood Plan

A Neighbourhood Plan is being created so that villagers can set out their views and aspirations for Little Shelford. The Plan will kick off with a public meeting at 7pm on September 22 in the North Building.

.A neighbourhood plan allows Little Shelford to directly influence how the village will develop for years to come.

.It has “statutory status” and South Cambridgeshire District Council will be legally required to take its recommendations into account as part of the wider planning process.

The main advantage of a Neighbourhood Plan was that the Village would receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Funds (CIL) instead of 15%. The Parish Council would lead the process, but there must be community involvement and wide consultation. Issues needed to be identified. Before a Plan could be finalised, a public referendum, with a more than 50% “yes” vote, was required

The Plan is not just about housing and other building development in the parish (although that is obviously a major issue for many of us).

It can address anything to do with the parish that is of concern to its residents, organisationsand businesses such as traffic, parking, shops, social facilities, green spaces, healthcare and jobs. 

What is Neighbourhood Planning?

Neighbourhood Planning is a way for communities to take a proactive approach to deciding the future of the places where they live and work. It is not a legal requirement but a right, which communities can use to determine the development and use of land and to make other improvements to their neighbourhood, including the development of homes, shops, offices, infrastructure and their design. This can be done through a Neighbourhood Plan, a Neighbourhood Development Order or a Community Right to Build Order, all of which follow similar processes.

The Neighbourhood Plan

The Neighbourhood Plan can:

  • propose more development than the Local Plan
  • identify the most suitable sites for development
  • help to determine what type and design of development should take place

The Neighbourhood Plan cannot:

  • propose less growth than in the Local Plan
  • prevent any development from ever taking place in an area
  • be prepared without community input and support
  • be in conflict with local, national or EU policies

Why undertake a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan helps set out a community's vision for their area over ten, fifteen, twenty years. Unlike a Parish Plan, once agreed the Neighbourhood Plan has the same legal status as the Local Plan so, decisions on planning applications must take the Neighbourhood Plan into consideration. Communities can put in place planning policies that will help deliver that vision or grant planning permission for the development they want to see. 

Who and what is involved?

The parish council initiates the process and works with the community to develop their proposals. The consent of local people must be secured through a referendum before the plan can be passed. As the Local Planning Authority, South Cambridgeshire District Council, supports the parish through the neighbourhood planning process, a summary of which follows:

1. Designating a Neighbourhood Area

  • The process is instigated by one or more parish councils (or, where appropriate, a Neighbourhood Forum).
  • Initial local consultation on the proposed Neighbourhood Area by the parish council and with the district council (SCDC).
  • Neighbourhood Area proposed by parish council to SCDC.
  • Consultation of at least 4 weeks by SCDC on the Neighbourhood Area. 
  • Comments received are considered by SCDC and, if appropriate, the area is designated - usually within 8 weeks, but sometimes up to 20 weeks. 

2. Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan

  • Parish council prepares the draft Neighbourhood Plan with SCDC support and advice. 
  • Parish council conducts pre-submission publicity and consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Parish council considers consultation responses and amends plan, if appropriate. Parish council submits the Neighbourhood Plan to SCDC.  SCDC check for legal compliance.
  • If compliant, SCDC conducts community engagement for a minimum of 6 weeks.

3. Examination of Neighbourhood Plan

  • Independent examination to check that a number of basic conditions have been met as set out in the National Planning Policy Guidance (concerning such matters as consistency with national planning policy, sustainable development, and conformity to Local Development Plan strategic policies etc.). 
  • Report of independent examination received and published.
  • SCDC considers report, reaches its own view and decides whether to submit the Neighbourhood Plan to a local referendum.

4. Referendum and Neighbourhood Plan Made

  • Referendum undertaken by SCDC and results declared. 
  • If supported by simple majority of those voting, and compatible with EU obligations and Convention rights, the Neighbourhood Plan is 'made' (adopted) by the Local Planning Authority (SCDC).

Getting Started

Support for Neighbourhood Planning is available from Locality Development Officers and Planning Policy Officers at South Cambridgeshire District Council: call 01954 713182 or email neighbourhood.planning@scambs.gov.uk. We are happy to meet with you to discuss the planning options open to you and to explore the implications - advantages and challenges - of undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan.

Communities wishing to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan should have a look at the flow chart for area designation and read the Frequently Asked Questions about Designating a Neighbourhood Area document we have produced. Please contact us before you complete the designating a neighbourhood area application form so that we can ensure we fulfil our duty to support you. Consultation is required within the area you propose to designate prior to your application being made. Consider seeking the views of people who live and work in the area, landowners and businesses.

Applications to designate a Neighbourhood Area should be made using the Council's Application form for area designation.

Once a Neighbourhood Area has been designated, we advise you to set up a Steering Group for writing your plan. Also, you might like to consider signing up to a Service Level Agreement so that we as the local planning authority and you as the body leading on the Neighbourhood Plan each know what's expected of each other.