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10 things to know about the Neighbourhood Plan

Thursday, 18 February 2021

1. It’s a spatial plan - essentially saying what should happen where in the future (in our case over the period 2021-36). As one example, it requires that new housing development will be better sustainably located where it has good access to local facilities and transport connections, and should not take place in the Greenbelt of the uplands. Another is that it wants our moorlands, vital for increased flooding resilience and carbon sequestration, to be protected and restored. And the plan is long-term: it can and should identify aspirations as to what we would like to make happen and achieve over the next decade and beyond.

2: It covers a large area of western Calderdale (in fact 32% of the entire area of the district, with just 6.5% of its population). You can see the precise boundaries in the map on page 12 of the neighbourhood plan.

3. It’s been prepared by councillor representatives of the local councils in the area it covers: Hebden Royd Town Council and Blackshaw, Erringden, Heptonstall and Wadsworth parish councils. They’ve come together to produce the plan because they understand the critical interconnections between upland and valley bottom communities.

4. It’s new, and the very first prepared for this area. For more than the last decade neighbourhood plans have been promoted by government so as to allow local people to have a greater say in what should happen in their area.

5. But it can’t duplicate what’s in Calderdale’s local plan, another spatial planning framework but covering all of the district (and which, as you may know, is also being updated at the moment). Nor can the Neighbourhood Plan contradict what’s in the local plan; it has to be in conformity with it, and with the national planning policy framework.

6  Has to be specific to its area, containing policies and proposals that are relevant just to our local communities, and will add value to the more general proposals of the local plan. One feature of the current consultation is that we are asking you to identify the sorts of additional community, recreation and cultural facilities that you would like to see supported by the neighbourhood plan.

7. Its principal purpose is to establish policies used to determine planning applications. So in the future when an application comes forward, it will be decided on (as now) by Calderdale Council, but it will have to be in conformity with both the policies of their local plan and our neighbourhood plan.

8 It has mechanisms to make things happen. So that it becomes more than a ‘spatial framework’, the neighbourhood plan also includes ways in which its proposals can actually be implemented. There is the potential for each of the 5 councils to receive a proportion of the funding from the community infrastructure levy that may be applied to planning permissions granted in their areas. And the neighbourhood plan process has worked collaboratively with Calderdale Council’s Hebden Bridge & Mytholmroyd Town Board to develop proposals which may need funding and support to get them ready for implementation. This emphasis on implementation is all the more important in these times of economic downturn.

9 It could potentially be adopted and in force later in 2021. This year it has to go through two rounds of public consultation, of which this is the first, to be followed by a second more formal consultation conducted by Calderdale Council. After those consultations, Calderdale Council submits it to an independent examiner, and the final stage is that it will need to pass a local referendum.

10. But at the moment it’s only a draft neighbourhood plan, and the purpose of these consultations is to establish that it does represent the wishes of local people, organisations and businesses, and that its proposals and policies will genuinely make a positive difference. So this is your opportunity to have your say, comment on the things you do and don’t like in the draft, and those you would like to see added to it.

There are 2 online questionnaires (one Quick, the other Detailed) for you to complete, and you can also submit your own documents. You can download everything at www.hebdenhilltopplan.co.uk and have got until Wednesday 7th April to respond. Every view and comment submitted will be considered, and the draft plan appropriately revised in April-May.

Hebden Royd & Hilltop Parishes Neighbourhood Plan Joint Committee

Next week: the Neighbourhood Plan’s proposals for new housing

All the information about how to respond to the neighbourhood plan can be found at www.hebdenhilltopplan.co.uk - 3 online Q&A sessions will be held on 11th and 23rd March, and 1st April. The text of this article can be copied and distributed freely.

See also

HebWeb News: Launch of public consultation for new Neighbourhood Plan 17 Feb 2021

Neighbourhood Plan website

The Headlines or main points of the Neighbourhood Plan

Complete the quick survey

Complete the detailed survey