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Parishes approve plan to have greater say in planning process

21 February 2017

Two South Lakeland communities have voted in favour of a Neighbourhood Plan that will see them take a greater role in planning and development in their area.

On Thursday residents from Heversham and Hincaster cast their votes in a referendum on the plan, with over 77% approval from voters.

The go-ahead from both communities means the Heversham and Hincaster Neighbourhood Plan has become the first to pass referendum outside the national parks in South Lakeland.

We will now proceed to adopt the plan and it will become part of the development plan for the district outside the national parks. The plan will be a key document that has to be taken into account when determining any planning applications within Heversham and Hincaster parishes.

A Neighbourhood Plan can establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood, such as the location and appearance of new buildings, and may identify sites for new development.

Parishes with a Neighbourhood Plan will also receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) arising from developments in the area. This is compared to 15% for those that do not have a Neighbourhood Plan. CIL is a levy charged on new developments over a certain size and the money raised is put towards providing the necessary local infrastructure to support them.

Heversham and Hincaster were designated together as a Neighbourhood Area in July 2013, allowing them to work towards preparing a full Neighbourhood Plan.

The proposed plan was submitted to the council in May 2016 following a series of community engagement activities. It complied with all the relevant regulations and procedural requirements, and was publicised for six weeks from 9 June to 21 July to allow final comments.

Following this the plan went for independent examination and the examiner, Mr Peter Biggers, concluded that with some minor changes, it met the basic conditions set out in legislation which meant the plan should proceed to a referendum.

At present South Lakeland has five designated Neighbourhood Areas, with Coniston having also adopted a Neighbourhood Plan in January 2016 following a referendum. In addition, Burneside Parish Council.  Lower Allithwaite Parish Council and Grange Town Council are in the early stages of creating Neighbourhood Plans.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, our portfolio holder for housing and innovation, said: “Neighbourhood Plans are all about giving local communities greater control over what happens in their area, so they can have a real say and determine real policies that carry weight in the planning and development process.

“We have a Council Plan value to embrace localism and empower people to have a say in decisions that directly affect them, so I am pleased that so many communities in South Lakeland are getting involved in the Neighbourhood Plan process.”

Turnout in the Heversham and Hincaster Neighbourhood Plan referendum was 36.2%, with 210 votes for ‘yes’ and 60 votes for ‘no’.

The final plan and decision notice can be viewed on our at our office in Kendal and at Milnthorpe library.