Horton and Wraysbury leave Colnbrook behind to forge ahead with Neighbourhood Plan
The neighbouring villages of Horton and Wraysbury are leading the way locally in being the first to take advantage of new planning powers granted under the Localism Act. Their two parish councils are forging ahead with a joint Neighbourhood Plan, leaving Colnbrook behind.
Having successfully achieved ‘Neighbourhood Plan Area Designation” in January, the two villages are now beginning to consult on the Horton and Wraysbury Neighbourhood Plan.
An open meeting is being held on Tuesday to discuss the Plan and allow volunteers to register their interest.
Under the Localism Act 2011, Parish Councils can use new powers to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood. These are described legally as ‘neighbourhood development plans.’ In a major change to the planning system communities can grant Neighbourhood Development Orders without the need for planning applications. More importantly, they have a right to be considered when planning applications are considered.
Under the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 any “qualifying body” can submit to the local planning authority an application for “Neighbourhood Plan Area Designation”. Parish councils, where they exist, are the default qualifying body and, in their absence, other organisations can be designated as a “neighbourhood forum” and given the same powers.
Exactly a year ago former councillor Mike Nye proposed joining with Datchet and Horton on their Neighbourhood Plan as district boundaries “were not finite” under the Localism Act.
However, in January Colnbrook Parish Council rejected the Localism Act powers altogether when it voted to abandon plans to create its own Neighbourhood Plan, after initially appearing keen to produce one. Councillors agreed with Cllr Hood’s recommendation in November that the requirement to be consistent with the Local Plan for Slough would provide limited room for manoeuvre:
“The Chairman felt that to do all the considerable work and necessary expense involved, a referendum etc. then to find it was a waste of money and expense was something he felt unable to recommend.”
Horton and Wraysbury, with similar issues to Colnbrook, appear to have decided to the contrary, leaving Colnbrook behind.
Under the regulations, an organisation cannot normally be given the same power if a parish council already exists and so Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council has forfeited the right on behalf of residents.
In contrast to Slough, a number of Neighbourhood Plans are well under way in Windsor & Maidenhead. The Royal Borough has helped helped communities securing grants from central government and provided advice. 7 applications for ‘Neighbourhood Plan Area Designation’ had been submitted by January alone.
Anyone interested in taking part or who just wants to know more about the plan is welcome to attend the event on Tuesday.
It will take place in the Champney Hall, in Stanwell Road, Horton from 6.30-7.30pm.
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