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Can you change a neighbourhood steering group

+1 vote
We are a small rural parish for whom a Neighbourhood plan is a big thing.  We started a couple of years ago, but is appearing as if the Steering Group is beginning to become a 'secret society' and they wish to become councillors so they can control the Neighbourhood Plan.  Its a simple question, but one that is very troubling.  Can the Parish Council request a change to the group and its structure?
asked by (380 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Who see the steering group up, and does it have a constitution?
answered by (13.5k points)
0 votes
if the steering group was set up by the parish council then the parish council has the power to change or close the steering group.
answered by (11.5k points)
+1 vote
As the Neighbourhood Plan will be Council owned but Community led any lack of transparency will not get it through referendum. Unfortunately many Councils do not care to know the public’s views despite making decisions in their best interest. Check out the Locality website it contains valuable information.
answered by (550 points)
+1 vote

When you say the Steering Group is becoming a 'secret society', do you mean meetings are held without the public being able to attend? Are minutes of the meetings posted on the PC website? A fundamental key to NH planning is to show that there has been lots of consultation with the community (and not just the regulation 14/16 consultations).

Having been involved with 2 NH plans I have become a little disillusioned about the whole process. Experience tells me that developers are well placed to challenge plans, inspectors are the government rotveilers, determined to build at all costs, whilst District Councils don't have the will to push back against developers because of legal costs. It was a great idea, and hopefully some of that CIL money will come the parish way once you have a plan in place.

answered by (2.5k points)
Very good points. When we researched Neighbourhood Plans, we also got the impression that they could be an effective means of pushing through a planning proposal that was wanted by the community. But offered little in cases where the community wanted to resist a planning application, which may well be the more common situation.
I think it is a very common misapprehension that the public have of what NH plans are for. They are for making land available for building, but sadly, many think it is a good way of preventing building. Even if you specify sites for building, there is nothing to prevent a developer charging in after the fact, and deciding to build on some green and pleasant land you thought was safe. If the NH plan is silent on the matter of that land, it means it's up for grabs. (A small phrase in the NPPF gives the game away, but I can't recall the relevant para at the moment, but see the Fontwell Park plan iirc). The only way to resist an application is to put layers of protection on it. No coalescence, green belt, designated green space, landscape assessments, wildlife park & corridors, ancient woodland designations, ACV etc etc. The only true way of preventing a developer from building on some land is to buy it and not sell out to the builders - needs a deep pocket though:-)

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