INITIAL REPORT TO COUNCIL – 24th FEBRUARY 2016
In 2015 this Council agreed to take up an opportunity to develop a Neighbourhood Plan. It was recognised that the Neighbourhood Plan would enable this Council, working with the community, to provide a formal framework aligned to the District Council’s Local Plan setting out the local wishes for ‘what and where’ any infrastructure and buildings would be developed.
It was also recognised that this Council has an opportunity to incorporate those items raised by the community that are neither buildings nor infrastructure related into the revision of the RevitalHythe Plan that was first adopted in 2005 and that is now due.
The issues that were recognised of being a concern to the community and the Council at the time of the application were:
• Deficit of housing for local families
• Deficit of affordable housing
• Tidal Flooding in the Village and along Shore Rd
• Erosion of the mudlands and salt marsh from the Marina to Frost Lane
• With the erosion of the salt marsh the potential for Shore Road to be lost
• Predicted higher tidal levels to be experienced over the next 50 years and their effects
• Impact of any development by Associated British Ports in the Dibden Bay Reclaim Area
• Ageing population and deficit of suitable services (including appropriate infrastructure)
• Provision of suitable services (including appropriate infrastructure) for young people
• Sustainability of the economic vibrancy provided by local businesses
• Current Open Spaces require enhancement and improved access
• Deficit of allotments to rent
• Improvement of access around the Parish by pedestrians and cyclists
• Sustainability of public transport including the Southampton ferry
• Viability and maintenance of the pier and the ferry link to Southampton
• Traffic and public transport congestion in Prospect Place and the Pier Approach
• Traffic congestion and difficult vehicle movements in The Marsh
• Cycle and vehicle conflicts in Pylewell Road
• The need for priority access for pedestrians and a single level from Pylewell Precinct to the High Street
• Lack of, or poor, pedestrian links between:
o Scott Payne Drive development to the High Street
o Promenade to the Pier Approach and on to the Marina
• Lack of clarity on who owns the foreshore and adjacent seawalls and who is responsible for them
• Poor waterside vista particularly around the area of the Quay and buildings adjacent to Prospect Place
• Restricted community access to the foreshore
• Conflict between pedestrians and vehicles entering the Quay
• The potential of total collapse of the sea wall adjacent to Waitrose car park, and the total loss of access to the Promenade, as holes are visible at the base of the wall
• Redevelopment of the currently vacant West Shore House and the police station both of which are up for sale
• Vehicle and pedestrian safety at the junction of South Street and St Johns Street
• Use of the narrow Claypits Lane as a primary link road and the challenges to large vehicles caused by the mini roundabout at the junction of Challenger Way and Sizer Way
• Potential loss of footpath link and visual landscape between Challenger Way and Claypits Lane if the existing lane is widened
2.0 NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN AREA
A Neighbourhood Plan application was submitted to New Forest District Council and the New Forest National Park. Objections to the proposed boundary were received from Associated British Ports and Southampton City Council due to the Parish including both the land holding of Associated British Ports and the deep water channel. These objections delayed the process however this Council submitted a formal response addressing those objections and highlighting that due process would be followed. This Council also highlighted the relevant initial concerns and explained that these required the inclusion of both the ABP land and the channel.
The Neighbourhood Plan boundary (see below edged pink) was signed off by the principal planning authorities on the 1st December, 2015. The Appeal period for objections is 30 days; and with no appeal notified to us we are able to commence our Neighbourhood Planning process.
3.0 STAGES OF NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING
In summary the stages are:
• Propose and agree boundary (Complete)
• Develop the sub Committee of the Parish Council to take the process forward
• Develop plan of how the process will be undertaken
• Identify resources required including specialist help and initial documents/maps etc
• Survey all households and consult on initial findings
• Pull together all specialist evidence and commission further help
• Prepare Neighbourhood Plan and other required documents
• Hold public information events on the proposed Neighbourhood Plan
• Hold a public referendum
4.0 NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING SUB COMMITTEE
The Neighbourhood Planning Process must be driven by a group that involves the community. It is proposed that a Sub Committee of the Council is formed to include both elected and community members and that it is supported by the Parish Clerk.
The suggested core/voting membership for the group is:
• Chairman of the Parish Planning Committee
• 4 parish councillors
• 1 representative of the spiritual sector
• 1 representative of the business sector
• 1 representative of the voluntary sector
• 1 representative of the transport sector
• 1 representative of the young people/young family sector
Other community members are able to be co-opted as non-voting members at the Chairman’s discretion and the group is likely to function best if it has the ability to form sub groups as per the needs of the process.
It is emphasised that this group will act as the ‘Engine Room’ for the work to be undertaken. It is a facilitating, not a decision making, body with regard to the Neighbourhood Plan. Its main purpose is to collect and collate appropriate information, making it available to the Community and Parish Council for consultation and to the community for final agreement by referendum.
It is proposed that this group meets after the Parish Council Planning Committee at 8pm; this will enable monthly meetings to be pre-arranged. If there is a need to convene at an alternative time/date/venue this can be organised by the Sub Committee on a needs basis.
5.0 PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE
Hythe and Dibden Parish Council has an insurance policy that allows the council to undertake community events. It will be the responsibility of the Clerk to ensure that all community activities organised by the Sub Committee are covered by the policy.
The outcome and resulting documents and policies arising from the Neighbourhood Planning process are dependent on good community engagement. It is expected that it would be the role of the Sub Committee to develop and deliver a communications plan alongside the process plan to ensure all communication channels that are appropriate are accessed.
The Parish Council website can be adjusted to incorporate a Neighbourhood Planning page. It will be of benefit to secure venues within the community whereby the documents, maps and plans can be displayed for access by any member of the community preferring paper versions rather than electronic.
The Sub Committee will operate most effectively with robust administrative back up and it is proposed that this is provided by the Parish Clerk and support officers. In summary the calls on the Parish council resource will include:
• Grant applications for financing specialist resource and plan writing (including contract development and delivery for resources that are commissioned)
• Preparation of Terms of Reference
• Liaison with nominated members of the Sub Committee
• Setting out and updating of the process timeline
• Setting out the Process Plan and Communications Plan
• Preparation and completion of Sub Committee agendas, minutes, and reports
• Writing and setting out of communications to community including the website
• Public referendum development and funding
It is anticipated that as the Process develops the administration resources required will increase.
The Parish Council employs a Project Development Officer who has extensive experience in networking and consultation exercises within the Parish council area. The facilitation of the initial household survey and consultation events can be undertaken by this officer however it must be recognised that this post is currently a 20 hour a week arrangement. The officer will be able to extract the non infrastructure and buildings related responses from the survey and consultation results and begin the parallel process of the RevitalHythe action plan refresh.
9.0 NEW FOREST ASSOCIATION OF TOWN AND PARISH COUNCILS
New Forest District Council and the National Park Authority has offered to support a sub group of NFALC that brings together parishes undertaking Neighbourhood Planning. Hythe and Dibden has been approached by the Chairman of NFALC to request the assistance of Hythe and Dibden PC to facilitate this group. The facilitation would require a member lead with officer support. Discussion between the Parish Clerk and Cllr Parkes has identified considerable benefits to this Parish through such an approach the least of which is officer support from the two principal planning authorities.
It is recommended that members:
10.1 Agree to the formation of a Sub Committee to be known as the Neighbourhood Planning Sub Committee with the membership and operation as set out in paragraph 4.0
10.2 Agree that the Clerk assist with the administration of the process and Sub Committee as required
10.3 Agree that the Project Development Officer be available for assistance in facilitating the process
10.4 Agree that Hythe and Dibden facilitate the NFALC Sub Committee for Neighbourhood Planning
For further information contact:
Cllr Graham Parkes
Chairman – Planning Committee
Hythe and Dibden Parish Council
Clerk to the Council