Where we are now (November 2017)
After the public consultation Three Rivers District Council sent the proposed plan and the consultation responses to the Independent Examiner for review in July 2017. Following an initial appraisal of the documentation provided, the Independent Examiner identified issues in relation to EU obligations which she suggested should be remedied in a letter to TRDC in September 2017. In particular:
- in relation to the process for determining the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and
- whether a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) screening assessment had been carried out.
Consequently the Independent Examination process was paused to allow these to be addressed. Two reports have been produced to remedy these omissions:
- a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) screening assessment
- a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) determination
The next stage is for TRDC to decide whether these meet the statutory requirements. If they do, then TRDC will consult the statutory consultees (currently the Environment Agency, Historic England and Natural England).
Subject to their comments, TRDC will then carry out the statutory public consultation with all interested parties on these two additional documents and then submit them with the consultees’ comments to the Independent Examiner to resume her review.
Because of the statutory consultation periods, this process is likely to take several months.
An Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning
A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. A neighbourhood plan is about the use and development of land and may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, or allocation of key sites for specific kinds of development. It may deal with a wide range of social economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport) or it may focus on one or two issues only. These may be issues that are relevant to the whole neighbourhood or just to part of the neighbourhood.
A Neighbourhood Plan will be part of the statutory development plan for the area, if successful at referendum. This statutory status gives Neighbourhood Plans far more weight than some other local documents, such as parish plans, community plans and village design statements.
A Neighbourhood Plan must comply with European and national legislation and must have appropriate regard to national policy and be in general conformity with existing strategic local planning policy. It should not promote less development than that identified in the development plan for the local area (such as new housing allocations). It can allow greater growth levels. Also, it can specify policies and guidance on how new development should be designed, orientated and located. Neighbourhood Plans can be a powerful tool in shaping the development of a neighbourhood.
Once a Neighbourhood Plan has been completed, it has to be submitted to the local planning authority and then be subjected to a formal public consultation and an independent examination. This ensures that the proper legal process has been followed and that the plan meets the basic conditions, including general conformity with strategic local policy.
[reproduced with kind permission of Locality from their Neighbourhood Plans Roadmap Guide]
Designated Area for Croxley Green
To start the Neighbourhood Plan process Croxley Green Parish Council applied to Three Rivers District Council for designation of the whole of Croxley Green as a Neighbourhood Area in accordance with Part 2, Paragraph 5 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 so that the Parish Council could produce a Neighbourhood Plan.
Following public consultation, Three Rivers District Council designated the whole of Croxley Green as a single Neighbourhood Area on 27 January 2014. The map below highlights the area designated which is defined by the Parish Council Boundary for Croxley Green.
Designation Notification 31 Jan 14
Croxley Green Designated Area Map 27 Jan 14
Preparing the draft Plan
Following the designation of the area, the Council established a Working Party to draw up the Plan and engaged the services of a professional architect planner to assist in the process.
Over the course of the following two years, the Plan was developed through public meetings, interaction with the community and promotional activities about the developing plan and meetings with stakeholders. A draft plan with its appendices was published in June 2016 for preliminary local consultation and comment.
The approach in the Plan was to identify distinct Character Areas within Croxley Green and develop objectives, policies and aims to protect the areas from inappropriate development in future. Twelve different Character Areas have been identified with their own unique features. Further policies and aims cover sustainability, housing, leisure and community facilities, recreational open space, retail and employment, the environment and public safety.
The Council received some very positive feedback following public consultation in 2016 and thanks all those who contributed their constructive views and comments.
Following the consultation, an amended draft Neighbourhood Plan (amended draft Neighbourhood Plan) and amended Appendices (amended Appendices) were prepared for Parish Councillors to review on October 2016.
At the Council Meeting on Thursday 15 December 2016, the Council approved all four of the Neighbourhood Plan documents for submission to TRDC subject to any necessary corrections or minor amendments and that authority to approve such corrections and amendments be delegated to the Clerk as Proper Officer in law for the Council.
The documents have been scrutinised and the final submission versions can be viewed by clicking on the links below:
Statutory public consultation by TRDC
Following the Parish Council’s formal submission of its Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) to the Local Planning Authority, the final submission version of the NDP is now subject to consultation. Three Rivers District Council sought views on the planning policies contained within the NDP. The consultation ran for a six week period from Friday 21st April 2017 until Friday 2nd June 2017. The final submitted documents can be found on the Three Rivers District Council website by clicking here.