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 2019 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 are consulting for a second time 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 the first Consultation,  which started on  Wed 12th Feb, and ended on Wed 25th March.

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

NHDC approached NPIERS for the appointment of a suitably qualified person, who conducted an independent examination of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Following the independent examination of the submitted Neighbourhood Plan, North Hertfordshire District Council and the committee of the neighbourhood planning group have agreed that a small number of the examiner’s recommendations should not be taken forward. The District Council is obliged to consult on these departures, and details may be found on NHDC’s Neighbourhood Planning web site .  This second Consultation ends on 18th December 2020

Once the consultation on these departures closes, NHDC will decide whether the Neighbourhood Plan should proceed to referendum with these departures from the examiner’s recommendations included or not. The referendum will not be held before May 2021 due to restrictions imposed by the Government as a result of the current pandemic.

The Local Plan Inspector – Hearings in 2019 & 2020

In July 2019, the Local PLan Inspector Simon Berkeley asked NHDC for additional comments relating to the 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.

In March 2020,  the Inspector announced dates for further NHDC Hearings , these being  from Mon 16th Mar to Thurs 26th Mar 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.  See Postponement of Hearing Sessions March 2020 letter to NHDC.

On 16th Aug 20, the Inspector published revised dates ( see email ) for the Local Plan hearing sessions, to be held virtually in September and October 2020.  The email included the following documents –
ED193 Guidance Notes Final 14.8.20
ED194 Further MIQs 14.8.20
ED195 Draft NHDC hearings programme & participants Sept_Oct 2020 V1 15..8

In September 2020 these meetings were delayed due to a call for an Extraordinary Council meeting on 8th October 2020, to discuss the number of houses required and the use of green space.

On Sunday 11th October 2020, an  email  was received from the Inspector, saying the hearings would resume on Monday 23rd Nov 2020, and included a  timetable (with Attendees)  for the meetings.

The hearing sessions will be held ‘virtually’ and will be live streamed on the Council’s YouTube channel.  https://www.youtube.com/c/North-hertsGovUk
They will also be recorded to enable people to listen to the sessions at a later date if they are not able to watch them when they are taking place.   The youtube link will take you to the Council’s YouTube channel for both the live streaming and the recordings.

The proposed hearings are (week one)
Mon 23rd Nov – Matter 21 – Objective Assessment of Housing Need.
Tue 24th Nov – Matter 22 – Supply of Land for Housing
Wed 25th Nov – Matter 22 – Supply of Land for Housing – continued
Thur 26th Nov – Matter 24 – The proposed ‘East of Luton’ sites
Fri 27th Nov –  Unallocated

Week two
Mon 30th Nov –  Unallocated
Tue 1st Dec – Matter 23 – Green Belt Review and Site Selection Process.
Wed 2nd Dec – Matter 23 – Green Belt Review and Site Selection Process – Contd.
Thur 3rd Dec – Matter 25 – new land proposed for sites BK3, SI1,Traveller sites
Fri 4th Dec –  Reserve

Week three
Mon 7th Dec – Matter 25 – new land proposed for sites GA2, WY1, BA2, BA3 & BA4.
Tue 8th Dec – Matter 26 – Villages ‘for Growth’
Wed 9th Dec – Matter 29 – recent changes to Use Classes Order
Wed 9th Dec –  Matter 27 – Water Efficiency & Internal dwelling space standards
Thur 10th Dec – Matter 28 – Modifications from NHDC relating to biodiversity
Fri 11th Dec  –  Unallocated

The hearings will delay the publication of the final NHDC Local Plan.
Meanwhile, we continue with the Draft Baldock, Bygrave & Clothall Neighbourhood Plan, and submitting it 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:-