New Alresford Town Council

The Local Plan Process

Introduction

This page and those linked to it are intended to give you information about the process that the Town Council is following in order to carry out its duty to provide a plan for the way in which the town should develop between 2011 and 2031. You may ask why we are doing this in 2013 when the planning period starts in 2011. The answer is because the planning system from central government down through local district level has been in a state of flux for some years and is now trying to catch up.

The Town Council is keen for townspeople to participate in this process and is using various means of communication to keep them informed and ask their opinions. You will find more information on how you can participate on this page and linked pages. We have used the “Frequently Asked Questions” style on this page because we think that makes it easy for you to decide what to read and what to skip over.

What is “the planning system”?

The Department for Communities and Local Government sets out policies and procedures that local authorities such as District Councils like that of Winchester have to follow. Winchester District Council, which is the Local Planning Authority for our area, has to produce a Local Plan Part 1 - Joint Core Strategy and a Local Plan Part 2.

Local Plan Part 1 (LPP1) is the long term strategic plan for development within Winchester District, and includes the strategic vision, objectives and the key policies needed to achieve sustainable development in Winchester District to 2031. The Plan requires Alresford to accommodate 400-500 new homes by 2031 and this has recently been re-emphasised by WCC officers . I it is the opinion of the Town Council and other groups that the best way to protect our town is to have a plan that addresses the current and future needs of residents but we cannot ignore the  Local Plan requirement .(Housing Targets). You can see the current version of LPP1 at this link Local Plan .

Local Plan Part 2 defines the housing, employment, infrastructure and open space needs for settlements such as Alresford. It also develops and tests options leading to preferred options and allocations. The Town Council is required to work with Winchester City Council (which is the same as the Winchester District Council) to:

What is the difference between a Local Plan Part 2 and a Neighbourhood Development Plan?

The Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) is produced by the Local Planning Authority – in our case Winchester City Council (WCC), in consultation with the Town Council supported by the people of Alresford and is automatically made consistent with the LPP1. Almost all of the cost of devising and producing the (LPP2) (beyond the voluntary effort of the Town Council and townspeople) is borne by WCC

The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) is produced by the Town Council supported by the people of Alresford. It has to be made consistent with the LPP1. Although some financial support is available from the government, most of the significant cost of producing the NDP (beyond the voluntary effort of the Town Council and townspeople) falls on the local community and would have to be funded from the Council Tax or individual contributions. An NDP has to be agreed by a majority (at least 50% of vote) in a referendum.

Does the Town Council favour a Local Plan Part 2 or a Neighbourhood Development Plan?

New Alresford Town Council favours working with Winchester City Council to include Alresford's needs in the Local Plan Part 2. This is because:

•  Proposed arrangements at all stages of the NDP are highly bureaucratic and time-consuming and the Town Council believes that there is a significant risk that if embarked upon, an NDP would not be completed and the money spent up to the point of abandonment would be wasted.

•  Particularly because of the housing target set in the LPP1, the Town Council believes that there is a significant risk that agreement by a majority of the community to an NDP could not be achieved at a referendum. Again, the money spent up to the point of abandonment would be wasted.

•  In order to be effective a NDP would have to be completed before WCC completed Local Plan 2. If it were not any NDP submitted subsequently would have to conform, not only with LP1 but also LP2 and the Town Council consider it unlikely that we would be able to complete a plan acceptable to the majority of the electorate in that time frame

What has been done in the lead up to the current activity?

In recent times, Town Planning has been a virtually continuous process and the Council has participated in accordance with its statutory duties. But the current round of planning can be traced back to 2006 when WCC held a public consultation using Perins School Hall as the venue. Since then the Town Council has cooperated with other local organisations, primarily the Alresford Society and the Alresford District Partnership, often in response to initiatives taken by WCC, to:

The results of these activities have all contributed to a concept, developed by a working group of town and city councillors and members of the Alresford Society, intended to get a head start on the work which was known to be coming along in the form of the WCC's requirement for us to input to LPP2 and presented at a public meeting on 17 May 2012.

You can see further details of these and other activities together with other useful documents (the “Guidance Notes” are particularly recommended) here.

What needs to be done now?

WCC Submitted Local Plan Part 1 to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 18 June 2012. It has been examined by an independent Inspector and it is expected that the final report will be issued to the Council by the end of February 2013. In anticipation of this, WCC held a public meeting at the Alresford Recreation Centre on 23 January 2013 to explain how the Alresford Community needs to input to LPP2. As mentioned earlier on this page, this is mainly a question of establishing and telling WCC what our needs are.

What stage has the process reached?

An outline concept was developed as an aid to the exposure of needs and issues and as a way of encouraging the public to submit their own ideas in the form of alternative concepts or comments. These can be viewed here.

The Working Group formed four Four “Needs Groups” who developed inputs to the Local Plan Part 2 under headings as required by WCC:

These groups discussed the needs in their functional areas and prepared the submissions in the format required by WCC.

What is the timetable for the future?

The programme leading up to adoption of the LPP2 is as follows:

How can you be involved?

Comment on the draft plan. There are a number of plans, reports and documents that can be used whist developing the Local Plan Part 2 and most of these can be viewed  here.  The information within these documents may help you substantiate any comments you may wish to make.

Watch these pages for details of how the next stages after the Needs Groups submission will be organised.