Neighbourhood Plans (Standing Item) (item 7)
The Planning Policy Team Leader advised that the Neighbourhood Plan Area for Mattishall had been submitted and was being presented to the Cabinet meeting on 24 March 2015; the recommendation was to accept the Plan Area. He had recently attended a Mattishall Steering Group meeting and would be working with them throughout the whole process.
He had also attended a meeting the Annual General meeting at Old Buckenham to discuss the potential creation of a Neighbourhood Plan for the village. The event included an in depth presentation by the proposed Neighbourhood Planning Group and a question and answer session by the Planning Team Leader. The steer had been to wait until after the Elections in May 2015.
Interest continued to be received from other parishes and towns. The Planning Policy Team had had discussions with Swaffham and Dereham Town Council and it was understood that discussions were on-going with Attleborough Neighbourhood Planning Group and the Deputy Planning Manager.
A new initiative from the Department of Communities for Local Government (DCLG) providing grant aid for communities to pursue Neighbourhood Planning had been announced. The Council had announced that funding had been made available for extra resources to support the development of Neighbourhood Plans to meet with the anticipated demand through the establishment of a new position and through establishment of a fund to match any DCLG grant of up to 50%.
Referring to the additional resources, the Chairman stated that an additional post was to be created to act as a single point of contact to provide assistance for parishes and towns wishing to develop a Neighbourhood Plan and point them in the right direction for the DCLG funding and advice. He explained that Neighbourhood Planning was not the way forward for everyone and highlighted what Shipdham were doing; the costs of which were much less in comparison to the cost of a Neighbourhood Plan. He also mentioned the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) event that was taking place at Elizabeth House on 27 March 2015. There had been a huge response to this event, so much so, there was now a waiting list.
Councillor Joel thanked the Planning Policy Team Leader for attending the meeting at Old Buckenham and providing the meeting with all the technical answers. The parishioners had voted in favourof a Neighbourhood Plan and that the Parish Council would make the decision whether to support a Neighbourhood Plan following the Elections in May. He was also delighted with the decision to employ a dedicated person to assist parishes and towns with their Neighbourhood Plans and the grant support from Breckland Council was also great news. He mentioned Broadland District Council’s website page that had been created in relation to Neighbourhood Plans that he felt was very commendable. The Chairman pointed out that this funding would be dependent on whether the parishes had applied to the DCLG first. Councillor Gould, as the Executive Member for Planning advised that the new employee would be there to aid parishes not to do the work.
A report was being presented to the Cabinet meeting on 24 March 2015 to advise Members of the changes to the Neighbourhood Planning regulations – namely those of shortened timelines for designation and delegated powers.