Happy new year to all Whissendine residents from Whissendine Neighbourhood Plan Steering group.
Following consultation and comments made with residents the Whissendine Neighbourhood Plan(WNP) was finally submitted to Rutland County Council (RCC). Further communication took place and the Steering group submitted several documents including: a Basic Condition statement, A Consultation statements, supporting documents and included all submissions from statutory agencies and residents.
The Steering group with permission from the Parish council agreed with RCC the Appointment of an External Examiner. We ensured that, not only was the Examiner suitably qualified, but also he had experience of examining rural Neighbourhood plans and in particularly Parishes in Rutland. The examiner that we jointly appointed has examined several other local parishes including a few in Rutland. Over the last few months we have agreed some minor rewording of some of the WNP, but not on the intent or scope of those policies.
In the final report from the External Examiner commented that the WNP had many good and robust policies and finally recommended that the plan go to Referendum. RCC is required to publish information about the neighbourhood plan and minor changes 28 working days before the date of the referendum. This will not be a consultation phase, it just highlights the small changes.
The referendum on Thursday 29th February 2024 should ask only only question:
“Do you want Rutland County Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Whissendine to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area”? or something similar.
If more than 50% of residents voting in the referendum vote ‘YES’, then the neighbourhood plan becomes part of the statutory development plan for the area.
If successful at referendum, a neighbourhood plan comes into force as part of the development plan for the area alongside the local plan. Local planning authorities and planning inspectors considering planning applications or appeals must make their decisions in accordance with the policies of the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
In short the Whissendine Neighbourhood Plan will direct Council planners and give legal weight to the numbers and type of houses built in Whissendine over the next 15 years.
If residents decide not to vote Yes, the Parish is likely to see more speculative planning applications, and will require another plan to be written wasting 2-3 years in which time more applications could come into the village.
Some residents will undoubtedly not be happy with the WNP or will say it does not go far enough that is their choice. As a Steering group we would urge you to vote YES at the referendum on 29 February 2024.
Lastly it is recommended that the Neighbourhood Plans should be reviewed every 5 years, draft minor amendments, but not re-written.
Whissendine Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.