[A] parish council has taken the first step towards aims to take a greater role in planning and development in its area.
Today’s (29 June) meeting of South Lakeland District Council’s (SLDC’s) Cabinet has approved that Burneside Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Area application be approved, the first stage in a process to prepare a full Neighborhood Plan for the Burneside parish.
A Neighbourhood Plan can establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood, such as the location and appearance of new buildings and may identify sites for new development. It cannot however remove sites already allocated for development in the South Lakeland Local Plan.
Parishes with a Neighbourhood Plan will also receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) arising from developments in the area. This is compared to 15% for those that do not have a Neighbourhood Plan. CIL is a levy charged on new developments over a certain size and the money raised is put towards providing necessary local infrastructure.
Today’s decision means that the parish council can now form a Neighbouhood Plan working group to begin preparing a draft plan for approval, which will include public engagement.
Once the draft plan has been approved it will go forward to an examination stage, followed by a recommendation on whether the plan should go forward to a referendum of parish residents.
If the referendum results in a simple majority in favour then it would come back to SLDC for adoption.
Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan would become part of the development plan for the district outside the national parks and would be a key document that has to be taken into account when determining any planning applications within Heversham and Hincaster parishes.
So far South Lakeland has five designated Neighbourhood Areas, with only Coniston having an adopted Neighbourhood Plan following a referendum in January 2016.
Councillor Jonathan Brook, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Housing and Innovation, said: “This is a great example of localism at work.
“Neighbourhood Plans are all about giving local communities greater control over what happens in their area. Neighbourhood Plans determine real policies that carry weight in the planning and development process.
“So this process is important and I want to encourage residents to get fully involved and have a real say in influencing future developments which will shape our communities for years to come.’’