Agenda item

Great Barton Neighbourhood Plan referendum and decision to ‘make’ (adopt) as a West Suffolk Development Plan Document (Report number: COU/WS/21/009)

Report number: COU/WS/21/009


(Councillor Broughton declared a pecuniary interest as she and her husband owned a parcel of land within the area covered by the Great Barton Neighbourhood Plan. She left the meeting during the consideration of this item and therefore did not take part in the debate or the vote.)


Council considered this report, which sought approval for Council to ‘make’ (adopt) the Great Barton Neighbourhood Plan as part of the statutory development plan for West Suffolk.


Neighbourhood Plans were introduced into the planning process by the Localism Act 2011. Their aim was to allow local communities to take responsibility for guiding development in their area. This approach was subsequently embedded in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012, and subsequent revisions in 2018 and 2019.


Legislation required a neighbourhood to meet a set of basic conditions, as summarised in the report. In addition, in order for a Neighbourhood Plan to become part of the development plan it must follow a statutory process involving public consultation at each formal stage including the designated of the plan’s area, pre-submission, submission, examination and finally by referendum.


Section 3 of the report summarised the above process that had been followed, which culminated in a referendum being held on 6 May 2021. The referendum asked the question "Do you want West Suffolk Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Great Barton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?" The Neighbourhood Plan was successful at the referendum with a clear majority of 688 people voting ‘Yes’ and 91 ‘No’ from a turnout of 45 percent.


Councillor David Roach, Portfolio Holder for Local Plan Development and Delivery, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council including that the Council had a duty to support communities who were preparing Neighbourhood Plans and the Council’s responsibilities in respect of providing this support were clearly set out in the relevant Regulations.  The Plan had been independently examined and agreed by West Suffolk Council to meet the Basic Conditions; it had been endorsed by the community having been subject to a referendum and had otherwise complied with all the legal requirements of plan production. It was considered that the Plan met European legislation and was compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998 and should therefore be ‘made’ to become part of the development plan for West Suffolk.


On the motion of Councillor Roach, seconded by Councillor Peter Stevens, it was put to the vote and with the vote being unanimous, it was


Resolved: That


1.       the Great Barton Neighbourhood Plan (Referendum version) be ‘made’ (adopted) so that it becomes part of the statutory development plan, and a materialconsideration for determining planning applications in the Great Barton Neighbourhood Area.


2.       Delegated authority be given to the Service Manager (Strategic Planning), to make minor non material consequential changes to the plan, as necessary, and exercise all of the Council’s functions and responsibilities in relation to making the Great Barton Neighbourhood Plan.


(Councillor Sarah Broughton returned to the meeting room at the conclusion of this item.)

Supporting documents: