The Localism Act of 2012 gives towns and villages such as ours the opportunity to have a greater say in the future development of their area. This is done through a Neighbourhood Plan which defines such items as where we would like new housing to be built; the mix of housing types needed; the location of retail or commercial premises; green space to be protected; and the infrastructure needs to support growth of the town. A properly prepared and approved Neighbourhood Plan has legal status similar to the SODC’s Local Plan and will eventually sit alongside the Local Plan 2032 as a part of the Local Development Scheme.
A neighbourhood plan must meet the basic conditions and other matters set out in the Localism Act 2011, and it is the role of the independent examiner to test whether a neighbourhood plan meets these “basic conditions”.
The basic conditions are:
- Having regard to national policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State, it is appropriate to make the neighbourhood plan;
- The making of the neighbourhood plan contributes to the achievement of sustainable development;
- The making of the neighbourhood plan is in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan for the area;
- The making of the neighbourhood plan does not breach, and is otherwise compatible with, European Union (EU) obligations;
- Prescribed conditions are met in relation to the neighbourhood plan and prescribed matters have been complied with in connection with the proposal for the neighbourhood plan