Decision Maker: Joint Director for Planning and Economic Development
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
1. The purpose of this decision is to agree on the proposed designation of the parish of Babraham as a Neighbourhood Area. (See Appendix A – the application submitted by Babraham Parish Council including a map).
2. A Neighbourhood Area must be designated before a Parish Council can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. There is national legislation and regulations guiding how this designation should be carried out.
3. The national legislation and regulations state that a local planning authority must designate a neighbourhood area if it receives a valid application and some or all of the area has not yet been designated (see section 61G(5) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Act as applied to Neighbourhood Plans by section 38A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004). Where a Parish Council has applied for the whole of their parish to be designated the local planning authority must designate all of the area applied for.
4. A valid neighbourhood area application is one where a ‘relevant body’ has submitted an application to the local planning authority that must include:
· a map which identifies the area to which the area application relates,
· a statement explaining why this area is considered appropriate to be designated as a neighbourhood area, and
· a statement that the organisation or body making the area application is a relevant body for the purposes of section 61G of the 1990 Act.
5. In South Cambridgeshire the relevant body is a Parish Council.
6. Once a neighbourhood area has been designated its boundary can only be amended through the consideration of a new application.
The application from Babraham Parish Council
7. The application from Babraham Parish Council is for the whole of their parish to be designated as a neighbourhood area.
8. A Neighbourhood Area for Babraham that covered the whole of the parish as it existed at that time was designated on 14 June 2018. However, following a community governance review the parish boundaries of Babraham and Sawston were amended on 1 April 2022. The revised parish boundary for Babraham is smaller than previously, as it no longer includes land on the edge of the village of Sawston that is being brought forward for residential development. That area of land is now part of the parish of Sawston. Babraham Parish Council is therefore seeking a new application for designation of their neighbourhood area so that it reflects the revised smaller parish boundary.
Consideration by South Cambridgeshire District Council
9. South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) is supportive of Babraham Parish Council preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for its parish and is keen for the two councils to continue to work together in considering the future development of the area.
10. SCDC considers that the application submitted by Babraham Parish Council for the designation of Babraham Neighbourhood Area following boundary changes is valid and therefore that the parish of Babraham should be designated as a neighbourhood area. This new Babraham Neighbourhood Area designation replaces the previous Babraham Neighbourhood Area designated in June 2018.
Local Development Scheme
11. The Local Development Scheme (LDS) sets out the planning documents that SCDC and Cambridge City Council proposes to prepare. A section in the LDS lists the neighbourhood areas designated within the Greater Cambridge area. As Babraham Neighbourhood Area is being recommended for designation it is proposed that an amendment be made to the section of the LDS when it is next reviewed to account for the designation which differs from the previous Neighbourhood Area following boundary changes.
That the Joint Director for Planning and Economic Development, having consulted with the Planning Lead Member, approves:
a) The designation of a Neighbourhood Area for Babraham as proposed by the Parish Council, and that this replaces the previous Neighbourhood Area designated in June 2018.
b) An amendment to be made to the section about neighbourhood areas within the Local Development Scheme when it is next reviewed so that Babraham can be added to the list of Neighbourhood Areas designated within the district.
The national legislation, regulations and planning guidance for neighbourhood plans state thata local planning authority must designate a neighbourhood area if it receives a valid application from the relevant qualifying body. Where a Parish Council has applied for the whole of their parish to be designated the local planning authority must designate all of the area applied for.
Babraham Parish Council has made a valid application to designate its whole parish. There is therefore no other option but to approve the designation of the Babraham Neighbourhood Area.
Publication date: 09/11/2023
Date of decision: 09/11/2023