YOUR TOWN: YOUR VISION: YOUR PLAN.
I am pleased to report that earlier this summer Horsham District Council (HDC) re-designated Horsham Blueprint as a Business Neighbourhood Forum. This has enabled the draft Neighbourhood Plan submitted to HDC in June to move on to the next stage known as the Regulation 16 Consultation. Some of you may have seen the HDC consultation notice in the local press.
This is an important next step for the draft plan; as this consultation and the subsequent review of the plan and consultation responses by an Independent Examiner will enable the plan to progress on to the final stage of the Neighbourhood Plan adoption process – the public referendum.
A question some of you may well be asking – hasn’t the draft plan already been consulted on?
Regulation 16 consultation should not be confused with the pre-submission (to HDC) consultation conducted by Horsham Blueprint earlier in the year. The two are different; the earlier consultation provided anyone with an opportunity to comment on any aspect of the plan and for modifications to be made if necessary to reflect those comments (which they were – for example in relation to Rookwood).
With the Regulation 16 consultation any representations made will be passed to an Independent Examiner. This means that they will only be considered within the remit of The Independent examination – that is, whether neighbourhood plan meets the basic conditions.
The purpose of the basic conditions requirement is to ensure that the plan is consistent with existing national and local planning policies; environmental requirements and human rights legislation.
Should the Independent Examiner conclude that the plan fails to meet the basic conditions HDC in discussion with Horsham Blueprint can modify the plan prior to the public referendum. HDC must publish decision statement within five weeks (of receiving the Independent Examiners report) setting out whether they intend to send the Plan to referendum (and if not – why not).
Because Horsham Blueprint is a Business Neighbourhood Forum there has to be two referendums, one for those who pay residential council tax and one for those who pay business council tax; however due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, these referendums are unlikely to take place before May 2021.
Whilst it is not until the plan has been agreed by the electorate at a referendum does it become part of the official planning policies governing development; nevertheless where the local planning authority (HDC) has issued a decision statement detailing its intention to send a neighbourhood plan to referendum, the plan can be given significant weight in decision-making, in so far as it is material to the application being considered
We have worked hard to ensure that the plan meets the basic condition requirements, but if you have any comments regarding that, then please do respond to the HDC consultation on the Horsham District Council website at:
Thank you for your ongoing support of Horsham Blueprint.
on behalf of the Horsham Blueprint Neighbourhood Forum Steering Committee