Update on the UBNP since last month.
1. Feedback from HDC on NP Documents submitted for review.
Norman Kwan of HDC NP sent his initial feedback to our Draft NP and SA. It seemed Norman focused on the Housing element of the Plan re: Housing Needs Survey, Site Surveys, Lack of Market Housing and criteria used to decide on sites. The NP Team felt he had misread / not fully understood what had been produced.
He also commented on the Policies which in the main were supported. He said the rest of the Documents had been given to his colleagues to comment on. It was agreed that we should have a F2F meeting with Norman and get feedback from our Consultant and the rest of the HDC Team on the other parts of the report.
I responded to HDC requesting a F2F meeting and suggesting that they may need more clarity in what we have produced. As regards producing another HNS I suggested that if HDC wanted to pay for one fine but couldn’t see what was wrong with the one produced.
In addition our Consultant Allison wrote to the HDC Head of Planning Chris Lyons with the following:
Having waited almost 2 months for some feedback – we are disappointed about what has been sent through – not only is it unclear and difficult to read because it has been lumped together at the bottom of an email but we don’t know what part is a comment and who has made these and what it is referring to. Some of it is in red, some not. Norman states in his covering email that he has passed the SA onto colleagues but then appears to have sent through some comments on the SA. Is there more to come? It is all quite jumbled with no indication if this is an initial set of comments or much more to come. Our key area of concern are the comments relating to housing need and the evidence for such. As you may be aware, UB has been working on a NP for a number of years now and had several meetings with HDC officers regarding housing need and sites. At no point was it raised that the housing needs paper is not robust. We understand that matters regarding neighbourhood plans have moved on in terms of robustness but we do not feel the comments assist the Parish Council with what they have to do now and how the District Council can help. It would be good to understand what discussion you have had on this internally (as mentioned in your comments) and how you plan to assist the PC in bringing forward the type of housing needs survey you are looking for. It sounds, from your comments, that you are expecting a parish based HNS to be able to do the job of a Strategic Housing Market Needs Assessment (SHMA). These complex, lengthy and expensive undertakings are not of great use to villages as they do not drill down to assess housing needs at a parish level. We also wonder whether you have read and understood all of UB’s background documents because the HNS did indeed include questions on market needs/ demands and provided summary analysis on this also. Also – requesting that a parish council provides long term projections based on a sub-regional housing market, work patterns, demographic trends etc is not appropriate due to expertise and resources and is unrealistic. Norman has kindly offered to hold a meeting to go through the comments but we would need this to happen as soon as possible and for all officers involved in commenting on the documents to be present. We would also ask that HDC provides a clear set of responses to the documents so we know who has commented on what. We also need to know if the District Council is going to assist the PC and by when so that we can move this on as soon as possible.
A meeting has been arranged for 7th. April at HDC to discuss so we will see what comes of it.
2. Green Spaces
I have now had responses back from Mackley’s Field and Tottington Woods owners to say they do not want these designated as Green Spaces so I guess that unless we want to continue with these, knowing that the owners will object I suggest we leave them alone and not show as Green Spaces. The owner of Mackleys Field has already donated its use to the PC to use as a football pitch / playground and think if we went ahead against their wishes it may only upset them. Tottington Wood is already designated an Ancient Woodland and from some of the comments received from the owners think its best to leave as is.
I am still waiting a response for Wildbrooks having chased the owner a couple of times (Owner of Church Farm site) Katherine now feels it doesn’t fit the Green Space criteria as is an extensive tract of land so perhaps shouldn’t be considered as well. Are the PC happy with this approach.The other Green Sites will go forward.
3. The Future
I will present where we are with the NP to the APM on the 27th. April and inform them that I will be standing down from the NP Team at the end of April but will make myself available to share any knowledge on the Plan to whoever might take over. Having let the NP Team know and the PC Chair and Clerk it was felt that me standing down and HDC’s change of course dictated that we may need a larger provision of funding. We will need to put forward to the PC a revised estimate based on what the professionals tell us it will take for them to do more and see this through to a successful conclusion if a successor cant be found. It was felt that if the PC was unable to underwrite the additional cost, then the NP Team would have to seriously consider their future as a committee. Thus there will be some changes and decisions required by the PC. I will prepare a statement following our meeting with HDC on 7th. April and feedback from our Consultant and AiRS. Currently nobody from the NP Team seems to want to take on my role but Miles Carey has shown some interest (in possibly managing the activities if completed elsewhere / by professionals) and will accompany me to the meeting on 7th. I will outline the following:
1. What still needs to be done
2. Timescales to complete
3. What are the outstanding costs
4. What will be the additional costs if we can’t get anyone to take over my role and have to use Consultants
THE NEXT NP TEAM MEETING IS 12th APRIL AT 7.30PM IN THE HUB