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 Harston as a Neighbourhood Area (NA). (See Appendix A – the application submitted by Harston Parish Council including map (PC)).
2. A NA must be designated before a PC can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan (NP). There are national regulations guiding how this designation should be carried out which were revised in February 2015 and in October 2016.
3. The 2016 revision to the 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
The application from Harston Parish Council
5. The application from Harston Parish Council is for the whole of their parish to be designated as a neighbourhood area. None of this area has been previously designated for neighbourhood planning purposes and the application includes all the information required
Consideration by South Cambridgeshire District Council
6. South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) is supportive of Harston PC preparing a NP for its parish and keen for the two councils to work together in considering the future development of the area. SCDC is aware that by preparing a NP the PC aims to play a key role alongside SCDC in shaping the future of the village.
7. SCDC considers that the application submitted by Harston Parish Council is valid and therefore that the parish of Harston should be designated as a neighbourhood area.
Local Development Scheme
8. 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 Harston NA is being recommended for designation it is proposed that an amendment be made to the section of the LDS when it is next reviewed.
 In South Cambridgeshire the relevant body this is a parish council
It is recommended 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 Harston as proposed by the Parish Council.
b) An amendment to be made to the section about neighbourhood area of the Local Development Scheme when the LDS is next reviewed so that Harston can be added to the list of Neighbourhood Area designated within the District.
The national regulations and planning guidance for neighbourhood plans states that a 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.
Harston PC has made a valid application to designate its whole parish. There is therefore no other option to the Council but to approve the designation of the Harston neighbourhood area.
Publication date: 17/06/2022
Date of decision: 17/06/2022