Neighbourhood Plan – SVM Article – October 2019

“Planning our future together”

SHENLEY NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN What has been happening over the last few months?

The Shenley Neighbourhood Plan, 2019 to 2036 – Submission Plan/Regulation 16, September 2019

All of the feedback from last Autumn’s Regulation 14 consultation was reviewed by our consultant, Angela Koch from Imagine Places.   Changes were made based on that feedback and also the advice given to us at the end of February by Tony Burton the Mock Examiner.  As a result of the feedback and advice there were several fairly big changes to the Plan which are mentioned later.   The amended Plan was approved by the Steering Group at the end of March and it was then sent to Hertsmere to undergo the Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening.

One of the reasons there has been limited communication about the plan recently is that the Strategic Environmental Assessment  (SEA) Screening took a very long time.    We sent the Reg 16 Plan to Hertsmere on 5th April.   They prepared a SEA Screening Opinion to send out to the Statutory Consultees, which indicated that they thought an SEA was needed!  English Heritage responded saying they did too!   Neither our Consultant nor AECOM thought an SEA was necessary.  On 23rd May we received Hertsmere’s SNP SEA Screening Determination in which they told us various  changes to the Plan would be necessary for them to be able to change their screening opinion!  It took many emails and finally a meeting on 16th August for us to reach agreement.   AECOM were a considerable help during this process.    The changes were made and then the Plan had to be sent out again on 19th August to the Statutory consultees, allowing a month for their responses.   It was a great relief when on 16th September Hertsmere told us officially that the SEA Screening Determination had been changed such that we do not now need an SEA.   Having to do one could have delayed the Plan by around 6 months!!

The Reg 16 Plan – the changes

Firstly in Part B – The Policies

  1. NEW – Policy SH2 – Shenley Village Special Policy Area (SSPA)This policy effectively replaces the SH.2 Village Envelope policy.  It became apparent that Hertsmere would not support us extending the Village Envelope so the new Shenley Village Special Policy Area was formed.   The area is identified in Map SH2.1 (please see the full policy in the Plan on the Village Website).    The SSPA covers the area currently included in the Conservation Area, or Village Envelope, whichever is larger to the north, east and south of the old village and follows Bridleway No.10 in the west along the former Shenley Grange Estate boundary and continues along to Radlett Lane, meeting then the Conservation Area boundary coinciding with Shenley Park lands.    The Shenley Village Special Policy Area is recognised for its special rural distinctiveness and the extent of its heritage assets and historic estate parklands with an abundance of significant mature trees and hedgerow systems.   The aim of the policy is to ensure that future development in the SSPA must have due regard , respond positively to and enhance the historic and landscape content which is still recognisable in the prevailing rural settlement patterns by delivering buildings, landscape and spaces that are rural not urban in design and layout.  The aim is to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes made when developing Porters Park.
  2. NEW – Policy SH3 – Local Green Space – designating the Spinney Woodland and connected hedge system as marked up in Policy Map SH3 as Local Green Space (see plan on the Village website) where inappropriate development will not be approved except in very special circumstances.  The idea of the policy is to give the area the most protection possible.  Recently we conducted a Local Green Space survey receiving 167 responses giving us 92% support for the policy.  We thank everyone who completed the survey.  The feedback is very helpful.

Part C    New – Shenley Parish – Design Principles & Code incl. Precedent Study

The Mock Examiner advised us that it would be a good idea to have a Design Principles & Code section after the Plan policies.  The idea of the section is to try and ensure that developments in Shenley follow the Design Principles and Code so that future development makes a positive contribution to our much valued rural village character and setting.   We believe that achieving good design is about creating places, buildings, or spaces that work well for everyone, look good, last well and will adapt to the needs of future generations.

The revised Plan together with the detailed Consultation Statement and Basic Conditions Statement (required by law) has been uploaded to the Shenley Village website    www.shenleyvillage.org/neighbourhoodplan   

Next steps for the Neighbourhood Plan:

  1. Regulation 16 Consultation – The Plan will shortly go through a Regulation 16 Consultation which administered by Hertsmere Borough Council. This is the final consultation with the community and other statutory bodies.  We encourage everyone to read the Plan and give feedback to Hertsmere by the deadline.  Consultation details will announced by Hertsmere shortly.  If you cannot give your feedback on line you will be able to complete the Reg 16 Comments form which will be sent out at a later date.  Please follow the instructions on the simple form.
  2. Independent Examination of the Shenley Plan – After the Regulation 16 consultation, the final Shenley Neighbourhood Plan will be reviewed by an independent Examiner to ensure it meets all the regulations of The Neighbourhood Plan (General) Regulations 2012 legislation. The Examiner is likely to recommend some changes which will be done.   We hope that our Plan will be examined early in the New Year – in January if we are lucky. 
  3. Final stage **  REFERENDUM **.     The Referendum will be organised by Hertsmere and all residents 18 years old and older will be able to vote.  If the majority vote ‘Yes’ then the Plan is approved and becomes part of Hertsmere Planning law.  Numbers do not have to be high but of course we want as many people as possible to vote.    We anticipate voting will take place in the Spring next year.  

Update on Hertsmere Borough Council’s Local Plan

As you know Hertsmere’s ‘Planning for Growth – Potential for Housing and Employment consultation was held last November/December’.  We know the documentation and the online feedback portal were challenging but this did not stop many of you giving valuable feedback either on line, by email or by letter.    Hertsmere says that they had over 2000 responses –this amounts to 2% of Hertsmere’s population.   Shenley Parish Council & Shenley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group submitted a 35 page joint response.  We tried to make the letter as comprehensive as possible.  You can download the letter from our shenleyvillage.org website.

Several developers and land owners representing the sites in the Plan included detailed plans and statements in their consultation submissions.  These are not planning applications; they are documents produced by developers who are keen to promote their site to Hertsmere.  We posted links to these submissions on shenleyvillage.org website.   Since the consultation closed another 21 sites have been put forward for consideration two of which relate to Shenley.  You might like to have a look and it would be a good idea for you to send Hertsmere your comments.  The additional sites are:       26  Woodhall Lane, Shenley for 25 homes

                Land South of Rectory Farm, Shenley for 140 homes

Keep a look out for additional sites being submitted as new sites can be submitted up until the Draft Local Plan is published and the last Consultation starts next Spring.

At our meeting with Hertsmere on 16th August we were told that the the draft Local Plan will not be published until March next year at the earliest.  There will be a consultation during which everyone can give feedback/further feedback.   When we asked if they could give us an idea of which sites they are interested in developing we were told that as yet no decision has been made.  It appears to us that officers really don’t know which sites will be successful.   They say a lot more work has to be done before they can tell us anything.   There is a requirement for new builds to be sustainable – that they are close to good bus services, railway stations and opportunities for work without much travelling which should put any of the possible sites in Shenley at the bottom of the list but as the demand for new housing is high we are concerned that some green field sites will be allowed.  We again asked ‘what is the indicative housing number for Shenley’ and again were told that they cannot give us a figure yet!

Shenley Parish Council and the Shenley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group continue to be very concerned about Hertsmere’s developing Local Plan.  We still feel that Shenley will be asked to have a significant number of homes and we are worried Hertsmere will agree to help neighbouring boroughs like Welwyn & Hatfield and Watford by having us taking some of their numbers.  We are making every effort to protect Shenley from over-development.   The AECOM report told us we need 220 homes to meet our needs and we want our number to be that or less.   Unfortunately the reality is that we are likely to have to have more than 220 homes.   We all hope the figure will be reasonable.

Nicky Beaton (Chair) and Rosemary Gilligan (Vice Chair) Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

on behalf of the Steering Group

Posted in Neighbourhood Plan News.