Neighbourhood Plan

Since 2014 many dedicated residents have spent hundreds of hours and engaged with thousands of local people to gather information and evidence to produce a Neighbourhood Plan that could help shape the future of our community.

Now is your chance to let us know if you agree with the proposed plan. Without your views we won’t have a neighbourhood plan that reflects the needs of the town, so it is important that you engage in this process.

What Happens Next – after 11 June we will look at the comments and representations received and where evidence supports it we will make amendments to the plan. The plan will then be submitted for formal consultation. This will hopefully lead to residents deciding in a referendum whether the plan should be adopted.

Regulation 14, The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Pre-submission consultation and publicity

The Godalming and Farncombe Neighbourhood Plan group has prepared a comprehensive Neighbourhood Plan entitled ‘Godalming and Farncombe Neighbourhood Plan 2017-2032’. The plan covers issues including Housing, Economy, Heritage & Design, Transport & Movement, Environment and Community & Infrastructure, amongst others. Please refer to the Neighbourhood Plan document for further details.

The proposed Godalming & Farncombe Neighbourhood Plan can be downloaded by clicking here or viewed:

o Online at www.godalming-tc.gov.uk/neighbourhoodplan
o Electronic copies can be obtained by email request to office@godalming-tc.gov.uk
o Hard copies of the plan can be viewed at:
 Godalming Library, Bridge Street, Godalming, GU7 1HT, Mon, Wed, Thurs & Fri 09.30–17.30, Tue 09.30–19.00, Sat 09.30–17.00
 Godalming Museum, Tue–Sat 10.00–16.00

If you wish to comment or make a representation about the proposed Godalming and Farncombe Neighbourhood Plan, you can do so by:

o Website: Representations can be made via the website using the Neighbourhood Plan Feedback Form;
o Email to: office@godalming-tc.gov.uk;
o Mail to: Godalming Town Council, Municipal Buildings, Bridge Street, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1HT.

Comments and representations must be submitted by 12.00 on Monday, 11 June 2018.

A list of the Consultation bodies who have been informed and invited to comment on the Neighbourhood Plan can be viewed by clicking here.

An electronic copy, followed by a hard copy has been sent to the Neighbourhood Planning Officer, Planning Department, Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming, GU7 1HR.

About the Neighbourhood Plan

Neighbourhood planning is an important part of the Government’s localism agenda and the powers and regulations relating to neighbourhood planning were enacted in the Localism Act 2011 and came into effect in April 2012. The process for developing a neighbourhood plan is a lengthy one.  The key stages are:

Stage 1: Defining the Neighbourhood

In areas with a parish or town council, the parish or town council will take the lead on neighbourhood planning and the first action required is to apply to the local planning authority  for designation of the neighbourhood area. For Godalming this means Godalming Town Council and we applied to Waverley Borough Council for the designation of the whole of the Town Council’s administrative area in March 2013. The neighbourhood area was designated on 16 July 2013.

Stage 2: Preparing the Plan

(Godalming is approaching the end of this stage and is drafting its plan.)
A neighbourhood plan must follow some basic ground rules:

  • it must generally be in line with local and national planning policies;
  • it must be in line with other laws;
  • if the local planning authority says that an area needs to grow, then communities cannot use neighbourhood planning to block the building of new homes and businesses; they can, however, use neighbourhood planning to influence the type, design, location and mix of new development;
  • neighbourhood plans must contribute to achieving sustainable development.

With a neighbourhood plan, communities are able to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood. They will be able to say, for example, where new homes and offices should be built, and what they should look like. The neighbourhood plan will set a vision for the future. It can be detailed, or general, depending on what local people want.

Stage 3: Independent Check

Once a neighbourhood plan or order has been prepared, an independent examiner will check that it meets the right basic standards.

If the plan or order doesn’t meet the right standards, the examiner will recommend changes. The local planning authority will then need to consider the examiner’s views and decide whether to make those changes.

If the examiner recommends significant changes, then the parish or town council may decide to consult the local community again before proceeding.

Stage 4: Community Referendum

The local planning authority will be responsible for organising a referendum on a neighbourhood plan that meets the basic standards. This ensures that the community has the final say on whether a neighbourhood plan or order comes into force. It is planned that the Godalming & Farncombe Neighbourhood Plan will be tested by referendum in May 2016.

People living in the neighbourhood who are registered to vote in local elections will be entitled to vote in the referendum.

If more than 50% of people voting in the referendum support the neighbourhood plan then the local planning authority must bring it into force.

Stage 5: Legal Force

Once a neighbourhood plan is in force following a successful referendum, it carries real legal weight. Decision makers are obliged to consider proposals for development in the neighbourhood against the neighbourhood plan.

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