1. The purpose of this report is to agree the Council’s response to the public consultation on the submission version of the Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan. The consultation runs for 8 weeks from 27 September until 23 November 2021.
2. The Gamlingay Neighbourhood Area was designated on 3 February 2015. The neighbourhood area is for the whole parish of Gamlingay.
3. Officers provided informal comments on earlier drafts of the Neighbourhood Plan ahead of the formal pre-submission consultation process and recognise the hard work that those on the steering group of the neighbourhood plan have put into preparing the Plan. This group has strived to ensure that the whole village had an opportunity to have an input into the final Plan.
4. A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) screening was undertaken on a draft version of the Neighbourhood Plan, and a screening determination was published in September 2019. Following on from this screening which determined that a full SEA was required a SEA was produced in July 2020.
5. Pre-submission public consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan was undertaken by the Parish Council from 7 September to 30 October 2020. Officers provided a formal response to the consultation, providing constructive comments about the Neighbourhood Plan to assist the neighbourhood plan group with finalising the Neighbourhood Plan. Officers have met with the steering group to discuss these comments and are aware that the submission version of the plan has not included many changes.
6. On 26 August 2021, Gamlingay Parish Council submitted their Neighbourhood Plan to SCDC. Officers have confirmed, as set out in the Legal Compliance Check for the Neighbourhood Plan that the submitted version of the Neighbourhood Plan and its accompanying supporting documents comply with all the relevant statutory requirements at this stage of plan making.
7. We therefore were able to carry out a consultation on the Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan from 27 September to 23 November 2021.
8. Officers, in conjunction with Gamlingay Parish Council, are in the process of appointing an independent examiner to consider this Neighbourhood Plan. All comments submitted during the public consultation on the submission version of the Neighbourhood Plan will be provided to the examiner for their consideration.
9. The Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared by Gamlingay Parish Council to provide planning policies for development in the area, with the aim of providing greater clarity when determining planning applications in the area. The Neighbourhood Plan includes 12 planning policies that cover a range of issues including:
(i) Housing growth including allocating a site
(ii) Protecting the local character of the parish
(iii) Local employment
(iv) Protecting valued local amenities
(v) Transport provision on developments encouraging walking, cycling and horse riding.
10. To successfully proceed through its examination to a referendum, a Neighbourhood Plan must meet a number of tests known as the ‘Basic Conditions’. These tests are different to the tests of soundness that a Local Plan must meet. The Basic Conditions are set out in national planning guidance and are summarised as follows:
(a) having regard to national policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State it is appropriate to make the Neighbourhood Plan.
(b) the making of the Neighbourhood Plan contributes to the achievement of sustainable development.
(c) the Neighbourhood Plan is in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan for the area.
(d) the making of the Neighbourhood Plan does not breach, and is otherwise compatible with, EU obligations; and
(e) prescribed conditions are met in relation to the Neighbourhood Plan, including that the making of the neighbourhood plan is not likely to have a significant effect on a European wildlife site or a European offshore marine site either alone or in combination with other plans or projects.
(f) the making of the neighbourhood development plan does not breach the requirements of Chapter 8 of Part 6 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
Our Neighbourhood Planning Toolkit includes Guidance Note 11 (What are the Basic Conditions and How to Meet Them), which sets out further details on each of the Basic Conditions. When a Neighbourhood Plan is submitted to the local planning authority it must be accompanied by a Basic Conditions Statement that sets out how the Parish Council considers that their Neighbourhood Plan meets the Basic Conditions.
11. When considering a Neighbourhood Plan, the examiner will assess whether or not the Neighbourhood Plan meets the Basic Conditions. When an examiner recommends that the Neighbourhood Plan should proceed to referendum (if it meets the Basic Conditions, with or without modifications), the examiner’s report must also set out whether the referendum area should be extended beyond the neighbourhood area. Comments made during the current consultation on the submission version of the Neighbourhood Plan, which will be provided to the examiner for their consideration, should therefore address whether the submitted Neighbourhood Plan meets the Basic Conditions and can also address whether the referendum area should be extended beyond the neighbourhood area.
12. SCDC is fully supportive of Parish Councils bringing forward Neighbourhood Plans for their areas, including Gamlingay Parish Council’s decision to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan, and officers have been supporting the Parish Council in the plan’s preparation. The Council’s proposed response to this public consultation on the submission version of the Neighbourhood Plan is set out in Appendix 1.
13. SCDC is supportive of the aims of the Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan and our comments are intended to help the Plan to be successful at examination as well as delivering policies that are clear in their meaning and are unambiguous in their interpretation. SCDC recognise the achievement of Gamlingay PC in reaching this stage of submitting their Plan to us for examination.
14. If the examiner is minded to recommend that the Neighbourhood Plan should proceed to referendum, the Council does not feel that the referendum area needs to be extended beyond the designated Neighbourhood Area as the planning policies included in the plan would not have a substantial, direct or demonstrable impact beyond the parish.
Decision type: Non-key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Wards affected: Gamlingay;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/11/2021
Decision due: 15 November 2021 by Lead Cabinet member for Planning
Lead member: Lead Cabinet member for Planning
Lead director: Joint Director for Planning and Economic Development
Department: Planning and New Communities
Contact: Alison Talkington, Senior Planning Policy Officer 01954 713182 / mobile 07514 926521 Email: email@example.com Tel: 01954 713182.
Purpose of Report: Appendix 1: SCDC response to the Gamlingay Submission Neighbourhood Plan Background documents Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan August 2021