About

This page contains information about Neighbourhood Plans in general as well as specifics about the Plan we are producing for North Hinksey Parish. The information takes the form of a series of FAQs below. Click on the ‘read more’ text in each case to reveal the answer.

Q. What exactly is a Neighbourhood Plan? read more...

A. A Neighbourhood Plan is one of the three levels of document in UK Planning Legislation dealing primarily with land use in terms of housing and commercial developments, but also associated issues like transport and infrastructure.

The other levels are the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework at the top, which gives very general guidelines on planning issues, and Local Plans produced by the Local Planning Authority (in our case the Vale of White Horse District Council) for that particular area. A Neighbourhood Plan can be produced by local communities to include detailed policies specific to their particular area. It must not conflict with strategic policies in the Local Plan, or the NPPF as a whole, and policies must relate to planning issues.

The decision to start producing a Neighbourhood Plan is taken by the relevant Parish Council(s) for the chosen area and they oversee the process but the project management is carried out by a separate body set up by them called the Steering Group. For further details about Neighbourhood Plans and the process involved in producing them see the useful Locality Neighbourhood Planning Roadmap Guide and the Planning Aid England website

Q: What is the status of the Vale’s Local Plan? read more...

A. The Vale’s last adopted Local Plan ran out in 2011 and they are currently in the process of adopting a new Local Plan 2031 part 1, with part 2 planned for production and adoption by the end of 2016. Because they haven’t adopted the 2031 Local Plan yet there are still some ‘Saved Policies’ from the 2011 Local Plan in use.

Q. Are there any alternative types of community led plan? read more...

A. Yes there are. North Hinksey has already previously produced a 2009 Parish Plan (which will inform the Neighbourhood Plan) but this has no standing in law, whereas a Neighbourhood Plan, once adopted, is part of the legislature and planning applications must adhere to it. Some areas decide to produce a different type of community led plan because their local issues are not primarily planning issues.

Q. Why would we want to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for North Hinksey? read more...

A. Firstly it could give us more control locally of where any developments would be located and some aspects of their design, plus we can provide better protection for strategically important sites that we would not want to lose to new developments.

Also funding for local infrastructure is obtained from the developer by the Vale, via the Section 106 scheme and the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Any parish with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan will receive a higher percentage of CIL funding than those without a Neighbourhood Plan and more local control over how that funding is used to support the community.

Q. What is the area covered by this Neighbourhood Plan and why was that area chosen? read more...

A. Normally Neighbourhood Plans cover a whole parish, or several parishes together where that makes sense from a planning context. Discussions were held with Cumnor Parish Council to see if a joint Neighbourhood Plan would be a possibility, however there was no wish on their behalf to undertake that project so this Neighbourhood Plan covers North Hinksey Parish which is now the Designated Area registered with the Vale.

Q. How long will the Neighbourhood Plan take to produce and when will it be finished? read more...

A. Neighbourhood Plans can take anything from less than a year to several years to produce, with the average time being around two years. Inbuilt in the process are several required stages of consultation and examination of fixed length that in themselves take several months. Because the North Hinksey Neighbourhood Plan is intended to be all encompassing it will be quite complex and therefore likely to take at least the average time to produce.

You can see where we have got to in the process by looking at the overall Project Plan. The Area Designation and Scoping parts of the process were completed by the end of August 2015 with work on gathering the evidence base and writing policies now under way and likely to take up to mid-2016. Hopefully the Neighbourhood Plan will be completed by the end of 2016, or at least in a complete draft form and undergoing examination by that time.

Q. A Neighbourhood Plan involves long term planning, but what exactly does that mean in our case? read more...

A. Our Neighbourhood Plan will cover the period up to 2031 to match up with the Vale’s Local Plan. It can still be revised or updated during that period if necessary and will remain under review after its adoption. Producing a Neighbourhood Plan is a major task in itself but after that it is still important to make sure that any planned community actions take place, so the work doesn’t simply stop there.

Q. What impact will it have on the proposed West Way redevelopment plans? read more...

A. Neighbourhood Plans only become law once they have been adopted, which will be well after the revised West Way redevelopment planning application from Mace has been submitted, and either approved or rejected. Earlier pre-adoption stages of the Neighbourhood Plan can have some influence on decisions relating to planning applications but they have more influence the closer the Neighbourhood Plan is to completion. In reality although evidence gained in producing the Neighbourhood Plan might well be helpful in the consultation phases of this planning application the Plan itself will not be useable as a legislative tool at this stage.

Q. How much will it cost and how will it be funded? read more...

A. Neighbourhood Plans can cost anything from a few thousand pounds for simple versions where the work is all carried out by volunteers to over £100,000 for larger towns where consultants are heavily used. The likely cost for North Hinksey Parish would be £10,000, to £20,000.

Government funding of £15,000 has already been assigned to support the North Hinksey Neighbourhood Plan which should cover the majority of our costs. Up to a further £8,000 can be requested from another funding source if required so there will hopefully be no funding required from North Hinksey Parish Council for this project. In other words your local taxes will not be raised as a result of the decision to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for North Hinksey.

Q. Who is doing all of the work to produce our Neighbourhood Plan? read more...

A. There is a network of local volunteers working on this project. A Steering Group oversees the project and liaises with other bodies such as the Parish Council and the District Council to ensure that the due process is followed correctly. Alongside them are a wider group of volunteers in various Working Groups who are carrying out the detailed work on gathering data and drawing up draft polices that will make up the final Neighbourhood Plan. The Working Groups are set up to deal with specific overall topics such as Housing, Economy and Employment, Transport and Green Spaces.

Details of these Working Groups and the overall structure of the Neighbourhood Plan Team plus how they interact with other organisations and local residents can be found on the Our Teams page. Although a number of these volunteers are Parish, District and County Councillors many are not. Without the support of these willing helpers this project could never happen. Realistically we need a team of fifty or so volunteers to see the Neighbourhood Plan through to its completion so we are always on the lookout for extra helpers – see the Get Involved page for details of how you could join in.

Q. Who actually decides what goes into the Neighbourhood Plan and when do I get a chance to say what I think about it all? read more...

A. The local community decides what goes into the Neighbourhood Plan, so if you live in North Hinksey Parish or work here that includes you. Previous questionnaires have asked for feedback on important local issues and used to identify a set of objectives relating to various main topics, and our overall Vision Statement.

There will be several further opportunities for you to have your say over the coming months through community feedback events and surveys (link to page with events / surveys / community feedback on). At the end of the process there is also a required referendum involving all residents and local employees which must show support for the whole Neighbourhood Plan from a majority of respondents before the Plan can be adopted. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your say so please take advantage of them.

Q. How else can I get involved? read more...

A. This project can only work if we have support from the local community including volunteers to join the various Working Groups, provide specialist information or help to distribute documents such as questionnaires and the draft Neighbourhood Plan.  Also we are looking for individuals with experience in Project Management or Marketing and Community Engagement to help the Steering Group drive this project forward effectively. Further details on the different ways you might be able to help can be found on the Get Involved page.