Neighbourhood Plan submitted to North Hertfordshire District Council

Thank you to everyone who responded to last summer’s consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan, and to those who have attended our public meetings and events.  We have tried hard to take into account as many suggestions as possible, and at our last public meeting on 25th November it was agreed that the plan should now be submitted to North Hertfordshire District Council.
Following final checks, the plan was submitted to NHDC just before Christmas 2019.

NHDC has consulted on the Neighbourhood Plan

The Draft Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall Neighbourhood Plan was accepted at the North Hertfordshire’s Cabinet meeting on Tues 28th January 2020.  NHDC put the Plan on their website for Consultation,  which started on  Wed 12th Feb, and ended on Wed 25th March.

NHDC have now processed all representations received, and made them available to view on their website : https://north-herts.oc2.uk/readdoc/21

There is a search button on the NHDC website which shows the representations made by organisation.  They also received representations from 3 individuals, which do not show up on the search button.  All of the representations were made in respect of the sections / policies in the neighbourhood plan

NHDC will now approach NPIERS for the appointment of a suitably qualified person to conduct an independent examination of the Neighbourhood Plan.

The Local Plan Inspector – has asked NHDC for additional comments

relating to Number of Houses and Green Belt  (see Inspectors letter –  ED166 LP Inspector letter to NHDC on 9 July 2019 .  This letter can be found in the NHDC – local-plan-examination-documents , with the NHDC response.

The dates for the further NHDC Hearings were announced as being  from Monday 16th March to Thursday 26th March 2020.  They were to be held in the Icknield Centre, Letchworth;  the same venue as the previous hearings.  The announcement included Guidance Notes  and the Schedule for Further Matters, Issues and Questions .

Due to the Corona Virus outbreak, these meetings were posponed by the Inspector, Simon Berkeley on 13th March 2020, until a suitable time in the future.  See Postponement of Hearing Sessions March 2020 letter to NHDC.

The original hearings were to cover –

Matter 25 – new land proposed for BA2, BA3 & BA4 in Baldock.  This hearing will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday 24th March.
The first weeks hearings include:-  Matter 21 – Objective Assessment of Housing Need,   Matter 22 – Five Year Housing Supply,   Matter 23 – Green Belt Review and Site Selection Process.

The Inspectors hearings will delay the publication of the final NHDC Local Plan.
Meanwhile, we are continuing with the Draft Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall Neighbourhood Plan, with its submission to NHDC for review.

Baldock’s Urban Extension Programme

We are aware that Herts County Council (HCC) have reported that they are planning to appoint a master developer by the end of 2020.  This is to progress their plans for the new developments around Baldock with the expectation of submitting a new planning application, for the whole of Baldock, by the end of 2021.  In the meantime, focus will be on the land marked as B4 in the Local Plan.  As this land is not part of the Green Belt it is not subject to Local Plan approval and timetable.

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Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall Planning Group  –  Background

This group (BBPlan) was created to enable residents, businesses and community groups in Baldock, Bygrave and Clothall to influence the conservation, enhancement and future development of the area, including proposals that come forward through the District Council’s Local Plan.

The Neighbourhood plan does not seek to duplicate work already included in the Local Plan. It focuses on specific interests of the local community that have been identified through our events and last year’s community survey. If successful at a referendum, the plan will be used by NHDC alongside the Local Plan to manage development in the area, and provide a basis for wider actions to enhance Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall.

Why a Neighbourhood Plan is needed

Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall share a lot of history and form a thriving community. Baldock has excellent schools, a successful High Street and a strong community spirit. Since the building of the bypass a lot of work has been done to enhance the centre of the town. With the ever increasing pressure to find new sites for housing, North Hertfordshire District Council has proposed the development of land around Baldock that has previously been considered unsuitable (some of which straddles the boundaries between Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall).

Whatever happens with this, it is important that any sites that are allocated for development are planned in the best way possible, that the impacts are managed and that every opportunity is taken to maximise any benefits that can be secured for the town and parish. The local community are well placed to understand those issues and develop a new vision for Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall that addresses local concerns.

So what is a neighbourhood plan?

In summary it provides a vision and policies for an area, produced and endorsed by local people, and which – once finalised – has equal weight to the District Council’s Local Plan as a framework for considering future development. It provides an opportunity to set out what is important about the area, how it might grow and improve, and specific policies that planning applications need to be assessed against (e.g. on design, green space, provision for pedestrians and cyclists, parking, etc). There are some limits on what it can do. It cannot override the ‘strategic’ policies in the District Council’s local plan (such as those on the overall scale of growth), but it can nevertheless be an important means of influencing the final outcome.

The Group needs as many members and support as it can possibly have. We urge all Bygrave, Baldock and  Clothall Residents to get behind this initiative.  For more details, please contact info@bbplan.co.uk

The current committee is made up of:-

Rev’d Andrew Holford             Chair
Michael Bingham                       Technical Consultant
Rob Hemmings                          Treasurer
Philip Hills                                  Bygrave Parish Council Chair
Rachel Kelley                             Clothall (with Luffenhall) Parish
Stephen Proops                         Technical Communication Manager
Albert Sillwood                          Secretary
Adrienne Waterfield                 Project Manager
Christine Watson                      Community Liaison Coordinator

All members above stood for election in November 2019 and were re-elected.  However in order to keep the group going we would very much welcome new volunteers.

Constitution of the Group

set out in the pdf document – BBPlan Constitution

BBPlan Logo

 

 

 

 

 

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A few of the other sources of information about Baldock:-