Neighbourhood Watch: Call for moratorium on development during parish plan gestation

News that one of the architects of neighbourhood planning has called for the introduction of a 'moratorium on new housebuilding where a neighbourhood plan is being put together' features in the latest Neighbourhood Watch update.

Housing and planning minister Alok Sharma
Housing and planning minister Alok Sharma

John Howell MP - author of the Conservatives’ Open Source Planning paper which laid the groundwork for the introduction of the neighbourhood planning system - spoke earlier this week in a House of Commons debate on neighbourhood planning.

In the debate, Howell suggested that the government "considers introducing a moratorium on new housebuilding where a neighbourhood plan is being put together".

Howell added that, in order to "prevent communities from cheating and claiming that they are producing a neighbourhood plan when they are not, rules would be needed that show that the plan is genuine".

"There would have to be rules to make sure that communities are allocating sites for development, not using the plan as a nimby charter", he said.

In response, housing and planning minister Alok Sharma said he "absolutely" understood the "frustrations felt by communities around the country when plans they have worked hard to produce are undermined".

But he stopped short of making any promises to look at introducing a moratorium, saying that the government had already moved to strengthen neighbourhood plans in areas where the local authority does not have a five-year housing land supply.

He said: "The best protection against unplanned development is to get a local plan in place … A local plan provides certainty for communities, developers and neighbourhood planning groups. It also removes the pressure on neighbourhood planning groups to fill the vacuum created by the failure of local planning authorities to keep their local plans up to date.

"The Housing White Paper sought views on what changes are needed to ensure that all forms of plan making are appropriate and proportionate. We will consider how we can further speed up the neighbourhood plan process so that communities get the plans they want in place as quickly as possible".

Elsewhere, Sharma said that measures in the Neighbourhood Planning Act to grant neighbourhood plans full legal effect once they have passed a referendum will be introduced soon.

"I can confirm that I have asked my officials to prepare the necessary orders to start this provision as soon as possible", he said.

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN UPDATES

PLANS ADOPTED

The Lytchett Matravers neighbourhood development plan was made part of Purbeck District Council's local development framework on 13 June 2017.

PLANS PUBLISHED

Kington Town Council, Kington Rural and Lower Harpton and Huntington Parish Councils published its draft neighbourhood development plan on 3 June 2017.

REFERENDUM NEWS

The referendum result on the Alnwick and Denwick neighbourhood development plan was published on 15 June 2016.

The Hatfield Peverel Neighbourhood Development Plan has been submitted to Braintree District Council for its consideration.

Snettisham Parish Council published its draft neighbourhood development plan on 25 June 2017.

PLANS SUBMITTED

The Middleton on the Hill and Leysters Neighbourhood Development Plan has been submitted to Herefordshire District Council for its consideration.

The Abbeydore and Bacton, Ewyas Harold and Kentchurch Neighbourhood Development Plan has been submitted to Herefordshire District Council for its consideration.

EXAMINATION NEWS

The Examiner's report on the Buckland Newton neighbourhood development plan was published on 26 June 2017.

The Examiner's report on the Beeston, Tiverton and Tilstone Fearnall neighbourhood development plan was published on 23 June 2017.

The Examiner's report on the Long Crendon neighbourhood development plan was published on 16 June 2017.

The Examiner's report on the Goostrey neighbourhood development plan was published on 12 June 2017.


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