Anslow Parish were the first in East Staffordshire to go through the whole process, getting a ‘yes’ at referendum back in July this year. The Anslow Plan was ‘made’ by ESBC in August and is now being used alongside the Local Plan in determining planning applications in the Parish.
Other Neighbourhood Plans in the borough are progressing well, with the Tatenhill Plan going through examination and the Horninglow and Eton Plan currently at submission consultation and ready to be examined in October.
ESBC has been working closely with parishes and community groups in the past 18 months with a dedicated Neighbourhood Planning Officer supporting areas writing plans and advising others. The role of the local planning authority is to support and advise areas writing Neighbourhood Plans and also take the plans from submission through to referendum at the correct time.
Neighbourhood Planning is a new process and as such many of the areas in the borough are vanguards and learning the pitfalls of the Neighbourhood Planning process as they write their plans. Advice and case law is being developed constantly and ESBC keep abreast of all developments and disseminate them to groups.
The difficulties posed by this new legislation have been highlighted in the case of Rolleston on Dove. The plan was the furthest advanced and examined in October 2013. Planning permission for a development site resisted by the parish went to appeal in March 2014. On the request of the Parish Council a decision on how to proceed with the Neighbourhood Plan was delayed, as it was felt any decision made by ESBC would prejudice the parish’s stance in the appeal. The appeal has now been
called in by the Secretary of State and because of the significance of the decision nationally a date for decision has not been set. This is obviously not ideal but, as the Department for Communities and Local Government have admitted, it is a complex case which requires careful consideration.
Cllr Sonia Andjelkovic, Deputy Leader for Regulatory Services said: “East Staffordshire is at the forefront of delivering Neighbourhood Planning and overall the process has been very successful. ESBC is strongly committed to supporting Neighbourhood Planning, with a dedicated Neighbourhood Planning Officer and 15 plans underway”.
This issue has not dampened either the Borough Council’s or Parish Councils’ enthusiasm for Neighbourhood Planning with 14 of the 15 plans progressing well. More details on the progression of neighbourhood Plans in East Staffordshire can be found at: http://www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk/Planning/PlanningPolicy/NeighbourhoodPlanning/Pages/default.aspx