The following is drafted by Sandra Kyriakides
This is a new power available to local councils, introduced by the Localism Act 2011.
If Welwyn Parish Council decides to proceed with a Neighbourhood Plan, this would enable control over the definition of future type and location of development.
An adopted Neighbourhood Plan would become part of the statutory development plan.
The local planning authority (i.e. WHBC) has a duty to support those creating neighbourhood plans.
With the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), if in possession of an adopted Neighbourhood Plan, WPC would be entitled to a payment of 25% uncapped. Without a plan it would receive a payment equal to 15% capped to £100 per dwelling.
If the Parish Council does not have a Neighbourhood Plan, WHBC would receive uncapped payments equal to 25%.
If a Neighbourhood Plan is produced by another organisation (i.e. not the Parish Council) within the community, payments would be subject to consultation with the local authority.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT FOR WELWYN NOT TO HAVE A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN:
- WHBC WOULD THEN RECEIVE ALL MONEYS ON BUILDING WITHIN OUR PARISH TO SPEND AS THEY WISH.
- WELWYN WOULD HAVE NO CONTROL OVER FUTURE BUILDING PROJECTS.
Welwyn Parish Council is undecided as to whether it will proceed to produce a Neighbourhood Plan because of (a) the cost implication and (b) the amount of work required to do so.
However, a working party has been set up by WPC, currently lead by Cllr Mark Castle. The Clerk is working with Cllr Castle on the Terms of Reference for the group. The group will examine the pros and cons of having a plan and put forward their recommendation to WPC which will then discuss this at a meeting. If the decision is to proceed, volunteers from members of the public with specific skills in planning/architecture as well as from local action groups will be sought, to help produce the plan.
WPAG CONSIDERS IT IS VITAL THAT THERE IS A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN AND THAT WPC WOULD BE REMISS IN ITS PUBLIC DUTY TO THE COMMUNITY IF IT FAILS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS.