Neighbourhood Planning was introduced by the Localism Act in 2011.  This led to the creation of an organization called Locality to help implement this new law.  Locality is a national membership network for community organisations.  Locality have provided a guide on how to produce a NP on their Neighbourhood Planning website. WDC has also produced a NP Guide.  The following is a brief summary of the Process.  If you want more detailed information then follow the links in the Document Library.  Our current position in the process is highlighted in Red.

The formal stages of preparing the Neighbourhood Plan in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 and the Wealden Guide to Neighbourhood Planning 2018 are:

Designation of a Neighbourhood Area

The first formal stage in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan is for the Parish to submit an Area Application to WDC. This is a request for a specified area to be designated as a Neighbourhood Area for the purposes of Neighbourhood Planning.

Preparation of draft Neighbourhood Plan

Preparation of a draft neighbourhood plan, including the collection of evidence, identification of planning issues and engagement and consultation with local residents. These will inform the development of a vision and aims for the plan, the assessment of options and the formulation of policies.

The Parish will request that WDC carry out a Screening Opinion to determine if an appropriate assessment or Strategic Environmental Assessment is required.

The Neighbourhood Plan will be subjected to a Sustainability Appraisal in order to ensure that it does not have harmful effects on issues such as biodiversity, population, health, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climatic factors, material assets, cultural heritage and landscape.

Pre-Submission Consultation and Publicity (Regulation 14)

The Parish will carry out Regulation 14 consultation on its pre-submission draft.

Submission of the Neighbourhood Plan (Regulation 15)

Submission of the Neighbourhood Plan to WDC at Regulation 15. This will include:

a.     A map showing the area to which the Plan relates.

b.     A Consultation Statement – This will explain who was consulted and how. It will provide a summary of the main issues and             concerns raised through the consultation and how these have been considered and addressed.

c.     A Basic Conditions statement - The Neighbourhood Plan must satisfy what are called the “Basic Conditions” including being in general conformity with the strategic policies of the Development Plan in Wealden District. This will be explained within a Basic Conditions Statement.

Checking and Publicising the Neighbourhood Plan and appointing an Independent Examiner (Regulation 16)

Once in receipt of the Submission Neighbourhood Plan, WDC will, at Regulation 16:

a.    Carry out checks on the documents submitted and issue a written decision within 7 working days as to whether the submission meets the necessary criteria.

b.    WDC will agree with the Parish Council a timetable for the consultation on the Submission Neighbourhood Plan including the dates for the consultation and the number of deposit points for hard copies of the consultation documents

(up to a maximum of five).

c.    WDC will publicise the Submission Neighbourhood Plan. The consultation period will last for no less than 6 weeks.

d.    WDC will liaise with the Neighbourhood Planning Independent Examiner Referral Service for the availability of up to three Independent Examiners. CVs of the available Examiners will be sent to the Parish Council.

e.    Within 6 weeks of the close of the consultation period and in agreement with the Parish Council, WDC will appoint an Independent Examiner.

f.     Within 2 weeks of appointment, WDC will send the relevant documents to the Examiner.

The appointed Examiner will decide when to hold the examination and timescales for undertaking the examination.

Independent Examination

The Independent Examination is organised and funded by WDC.

The Independent Examiner will focus of whether the Plan meets the Basic Conditions. The Examiner is not testing the soundness of a neighbourhood plan or examining material considerations.

The Independent Examiner will submit a Report indicating if the Plan can proceed to a referendum and any necessary modifications.

Community Referendum

If the Neighbourhood Plan meets the Basic Conditions, WDC will organise and fund a Local Community Referendum to decide whether the Plan should be brought into force.

Adoption of the Plan

WDC will make (adopt) the Plan following a positive referendum vote if more than 50% of those voting in the referendum vote “yes” at the referendum and following a 6 week challenge period.