What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan provides a great opportunity for individuals and organisations within our community to have more influence over how the place in which we live and/or work will change over time.

At the moment, most planning decisions are taken at district council level and local input from Shipston is limited. By preparing a Neighbourhood Plan, residents can have their say on the important issues facing the town, and come up with their own proposals for the type and location of development, infrastructure and local services they think we need.

Once adopted, a Neighbourhood Plan has to be taken into consideration when district councils or other authorities make planning decisions.

What has happened so far?

Shipston Town Council held a launch event in October 2012 to promote the NP project and find out whether residents supported the idea of producing a plan. Initial views on the key issues which the NP should address were also sought. Throughout 2013 -15 an extensive programme of research and consultation with local residents, business’s, groups, land owners and statutory bodies defined the issues and constraints.

In the Autumn of 2015 the NP team formulated draft policies organised into five key areas: Housing, Environment; Infrastructure; Economy and Flooding. A major consultation through an Open Day on 12th December 2915 and a subsequent Town-wide questionnaire confirmed the main thrust of the Plan.

In December 2016 the draft policies were opened to a six week statutory consultation period in which residents, statutory bodies and interested people were able to make further comments on the plan. These comments, where applicable, will be incorporated into the Plan.

Shipston Town Council approved the plan on 9th October 2017 and submitted it to Stratford District Council. Stratford District Council ran a six week period of further consultation and appointed an independent examiner to assess the plan. The examiner published his report in March 2018 and recommended that the plan go forward to a referendum by the people of Shipston subject to modifications recommended in the report. A link to the examiner's report is located in the 'documents' page.

The result of the referendum on September 6th was as follows: Total number of votes cast: 1,066 (26.59% of those registered to vote). For acceptance of the plan-931. Against acceptance of the plan-133. Rejected votes-2.

The plan was adopted by Stratford District Council on 15th October 2018.

Regular updates are published in the Shipston Forum as well as on the Shipston Neighbourhood Plan website.

What are the big issues to address?

Based on the feedback received to date via the NP launch event and the NP feedback forms, the following big issues have been identified:

  • The  need  for  a  stronger  local  economy  with  more  local employment opportunities
  • Whether or not significant additional housing is a good thing, with greater provision of affordable housing
  • Improved infrastructure, particularly traffic management, parking and effective flood defences
  • Sustaining and conserving the vitality, usefulness, and heritage value of the town centre
  • Better social, welfare and sports facilities, including healthcare, schools, youth facilities, and meeting the needs of an ageing population
  • An improved environment, specifically availability of and access to recreational and public open space
  • Making the town more suited to local needs and ensuring those changes are sustainable.

What will the Shipston Neighbourhood Plan cost?

The likely costs will become clearer as the project progresses. Thanks to a combination of support from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Shipston Town Council, technical assistance from the district council and the valuable volunteer time from the local community, a reasonable budget is in place to cover the essential work.

Who is running the project?

Shipston Town Council is responsible for funding the Neighbourhood Plan and ensuring the process proceeds effectively. In particular, the STC Steering Group provides direction and ensures quality and independence is achieved, particularly in relation to engagement with the community.

The town council has employed town planner and regeneration specialist, Stephen Miles, to provide professional input and guidance.

How does the Neighbourhood Plan fit in with other planning policies?

Neighbourhood Plans have to fit in with ‘top down’ planning policy documents – the National Planning Policy Framework and Stratford District Council’s Local Development Framework, incorporating the Core Strategy.

The process is quite formal, with a series of ‘tests’ performed during the plan-making to ensure EU Directives and legislation is complied with. However, the town council believes the outcome, once the Neighbourhood Plan has been adopted, will be very worthwhile.

Importantly, the plan will influence thinking and decisions on emerging proposals and future planning applications and will form the Shipston’s contribution to the Local Development Framework.

What are the Opportunities and limitations of a Neighbourhood Plan?

A neighbourhood plan can:

  • Decide  where  and  what  type  of  development should happen
  • Promote more development than is set out in the Local Plan (see planning context)
  • Include policies, such as design standards that take precedence over existing policies in the Local Plan for the neighbourhood (provided they do not conflict with the strategic policies in the Local Plan)

A neighbourhood plan cannot:

  • Conflict with the strategic policies in the Local Plan prepared by Stratford District Council
  • Be used to prevent development that is included in the Local Plan
  • Be prepared by a body other than a parish or town council, or a neighbourhood forum

(Taken from  ‘How  to  shape  where  you  live’  by  the CPRE/NALC)