The neighbourhood plan was made in 2014 but was tested during its preparation and after its making by proposals for housing schemes that were in conflict with its policies. Anticipating these threats with the Town Council, we ensured that the plan had a robust spatial and housing site allocation strategy, including the introduction of a settlement boundary policy for the first time in the LPA area. We also made sure that the proper site assessments process was used (including integrating the SA/SEA).
We were appointed by the Town Council to represent it as expert witnesses at the public inquiries for a number of planning appeals. All were dismissed with the neighbourhood plan playing a significant role in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan and of a five year housing land supply.
We have recently been re-appointed by the Town Council to help in reviewing and modifying the plan to bring it into line with the newly adopted Local Plan. As one of the first neighbourhood plans in the district, the plan helped give the planning authority the confidence to support them as it brought forward its Local Plan. The use of settlement boundary policies, aligned with housing allocation strategies, is now commonplace across plans in the district.