Referendums on Neighbourhood planning

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Tim Lund
Posts: 6647
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Referendums on Neighbourhood planning

Post by Tim Lund » 22 Jun 2012 08:18

Something for our Local Assemblies and planning mavins to get stuck into.
The Government has laid before Parliament draft regulations for how neighbourhood planning referendums should work, including the wording of questions.

Referendums must be held on a neighbourhood development plan, a neighbourhood development order or a community right to build order.

The draft regulations say that the “referendum must be held after the plan or order has been independently examined and approved by the local planning authority (with or without modifications)”.

Under the draft regulations, prescribed words are provided for the questions that must be asked in a neighbourhood planning referendum. There are three questions depending on whether the referendum relates to a development plan, a development order or a community right to build order.

Before a referendum is held, the local planning authority responsible for the referendum must publish a "detailed notice" of the referendum for at least 28 working days before the referendum is held.

This is "to ensure people living in the local authority’s area are aware that a referendum is due to be held, the subject matter of that referendum and that they are informed of key information relating to the referendum", the explanatory memorandum says. A referendum can be held at the same time as elections under the regulations.

In a separate but related development, a group in Birmingham has become the first in the country to be designated formally as a neighbourhood forum. The group - in Balsall Heath - will be statutorily responsible for producing a neighbourhood plan.

Balsall Heath was named one of 20 frontrunners to trial neighbourhood planning by Communities Minister Greg Clark in April 2011. A plan will be drawn up in the coming weeks, with a referendum held later this year.
Access the draft regulations here

michael
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Location: Forest Hill

Re: Referendums on Neighbourhood planning

Post by michael » 22 Jun 2012 08:57

Just a quick response to say that once the Planning authority has approved any neighbourhood plan it should be possible for the authority to adopt it without a referendum, not as a neighbourhood plan but as Supplementary Guidance, a revision to Core Strategies or Spatial Policies.
Not that I'm against referendum, just that neighbourhood planning can influence policy in ways other than the formal adoption and referendum required for a neighbourhood plan.

Tim Lund
Posts: 6647
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Referendums on Neighbourhood planning

Post by Tim Lund » 22 Jun 2012 09:23

michael wrote:Just a quick response to say that once the Planning authority has approved any neighbourhood plan it should be possible for the authority to adopt it without a referendum, not as a neighbourhood plan but as Supplementary Guidance, a revision to Core Strategies or Spatial Policies.
Not that I'm against referendum, just that neighbourhood planning can influence policy in ways other than the formal adoption and referendum required for a neighbourhood plan.
And can the approval of the Planning Inspectorate be dispensed with as well as the public?

michael
Posts: 1259
Joined: 26 Sep 2006 12:56
Location: Forest Hill

Re: Referendums on Neighbourhood planning

Post by michael » 22 Jun 2012 10:23

Tim Lund wrote:And can the approval of the Planning Inspectorate be dispensed with as well as the public?
The planning inspectorate makes rulings based on local policies. Overall planning policy at the council is voted on by council members. I don't know if supplementary guidelines require a vote of council.

Why point is that there are now lots of ways local people and neighbourhoods can influence planning policy in their area. This is much better than all such decisions being taken in town halls with little reference to local people. Since the idea of neighbourhood planning has been championed by the government we have started to see greater engagement between planning officers and local assemblies and civic societies. This should result in better policy, with or without referendums and formal neighbourhood plans, but this doesn't mean they shouldn't happen.

Tim Lund
Posts: 6647
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Referendums on Neighbourhood planning

Post by Tim Lund » 22 Jun 2012 10:44

michael wrote: there are now lots of ways local people and neighbourhoods can influence planning policy in their area. This is much better than all such decisions being taken in town halls with little reference to local people.
The question is which local people - and for an example of where uncertainty on such a question causes problems, see the current thread on Houses built in Crystal Palace Park.

Are any of those active in local assemblies and civic societies prepared to contemplate the higher housing densities the wider public needs?

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