Examiner Public Hearing Notes
EXAMINATION OF THE BEECH NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
PUBLIC HEARING – 12 FEBRUARY 2020
Notes of Hearing
Participants Ann Skippers (AS) – Independent Examiner
Graham Webb (GW) – Beech Parish Council
John Slater (JS) – John Slater Planning Ltd, obo Beech Parish Council
Tony Ransley (TR) – Beech Parish Council
Victoria Potts (VP) – East Hampshire District Council
Kevin Thurlow (KT) – East Hampshire District Council
Richard Agnew (RA) – Gladman Developments Ltd
Richard Crosthwaite (RC) – Gladman Developments Ltd
AS explained that the purpose of the hearing was to give Gladman Developments Ltd a fair chance to put forward their case concerning the Beech Neighbourhood Plan, to ensure that the issues raised in their Regulation 14 and Regulation 16 consultation responses are examined in satisfactory detail. AS noted that although only the invited participants could take part in the hearing, other responses to the Regulation 16
consultation would also be carefully considered through the examination process.
GW made an opening statement, apologizing to the examiner, other participants and the general public for Beech Parish Council’s failure to consider the Regulation 14 consultation response from Gladman Developments Ltd.
RA noted that Gladman Developments Ltd (‘Gladman’) were present to explore the points made in their
representations and that the Consultation Statement for the Beech Neighbourhood Plan had been deficient by omitting details of their Regulation 14 response. AS noted that the purpose of the hearing was to remedy this deficiency by exploring the points made by Gladman.
2. Neighbourhood Plan Policies – BPC02
RA stated that Policy BPC02 is negatively worded, could stifle the growth of Alton and is not flexible enough to accord with paragraph 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). RA suggested that the policy is re-worded to suggest that sites adjacent to Alton would be considered differently. GW noted that the policy as written reflects the wishes of Beech Parish residents as shown by the 2017 village questionnaire.
GW suggested it is in general conformity with Policy CP19 of the East Hampshire Joint Core Strategy (‘JCS’). KT noted that CP19 is a relevant policy from the JCS and referred to East Hampshire’s response to the Regulation 16 consultation for further details. Neither Beech Parish Council nor EHDC supported Gladman’s alternative wording for BPC02, contained in the latter’s Regulation 16 representation.
3 Neighbourhood Plan Policies – BPC03
A map of the Parish boundary and the proposed area of non-coalescence with Alton was displayed. There was some confusion over the different areas of proposed housing development in Alton shown on the map, and their status. These were clarified. AS requested details from Beech Parish Council on how the non-coalescence areas for Policy BPC-03 had been defined. GW confirmed that the Beech Landscape Character Assessment (2018) together with knowledge of the location of existing and proposed/promoted development in Beech and Alton had informed the proposed noncoalescence areas. TR explained the items of historical significance, and GW the topographical detail. KT highlighted paragraph 7.29 in the JCS as relevant for identifying the strategic purpose of defining a gap between settlements. RA suggested that a criteria-based approach to avoiding coalescence, as part of an amalgamated Policy BPC02 and BPC03 would be more appropriate. RA agreed to provide some suggested wording, taking the key points from BPC-02 and BPC-03. GW suggested that
amalgamation could prove unwieldy and noted that the maps for the two policies were different. KT noted that EHDC has also proposed a criteria-based approach to maintaining gaps between settlements in its draft Local Plan; but that it would be possible to pursue a map-based approach in the Beech Neighbourhood Plan. GW noted that no gap involving Beech has been identified within the JCS and that the Neighbourhood Plan is, therefore, seeking to include one, to be effective both now and under the new Local Plan, to ensure that Beech’s identity is not lost.
ACTIONS (1) - Gladman to suggest new wording to support its proposal for amalgamating BPC-02 and BPC-03 and for replacing a map-based definition of non-coalescence areas with a criteria-based approach to maintaining the separate identities of places for all parties to consider.
4 Neighbourhood Plan Policies – BPC-06
RC suggested that this policy lacked clarity regarding the geography of its application and that it should, therefore, be re-worded. KT noted that EHDC had made a similar point in its Regulation 16 response. GW noted that the policy was drafted to apply to development only within Beech village rather than to the entire parish. TR suggested that its application only to the village area could be implied from the existing wording.
Beech Parish Council agreed to provide some suggested new wording to make clear where the policy should apply. AS asked if the policy would be in general conformity with the JCS. KT noted that saved policy H10 of the Local Plan, referenced by GW, does not have an up-to-date evidence base; and that the contents of the recently prepared East Hampshire Neighbourhood Character Study should be taken into account. GW explained that the counterpart to policy H10 reproduced in Policy BPC06 is intended to cater for the possibility that policy H10 will not be fully replicated in the impending new Local Plan. Its inclusion reflects the wishes of Beech Parish residents and the support in the Beech Landscape Character Assessment (2018) for retaining the current minimum new plot size in the Special Housing Area.
ACTIONS (2) Beech Parish Council to suggest new wording for the policy or supporting text, to
clarify its view on appropriate geography for applying the criteria of Policy BPC-06 for all parties to consider
5 Other Issues Raised by Gladman Developments Ltd
In response to a question by AS, RA stated that Gladman was happy to rely on its written submission concerning policies BPC-04, BPC-07, BPC-08, BPC-10, and BPC-12. RA confirmed that they had nothing further to explore at the hearing regarding the other policies of the Neighbourhood Plan.
RA noted that Gladman was grateful for the opportunity of appearing at the hearing and that it had been helpful to discuss certain issues in more detail and hear from the parish council in response. AS asked whether the hearing had provided an opportunity for Gladman to have a fair chance to put forward its case. RA agreed that the hearing had provided such an opportunity and that Gladman was happy for the examiner to consider her conclusions through the examination process.
No further matters were raised by the participants.
THE HEARING WAS CLOSED AT 16:15
Meeting note produced by the Independent Examiner and EHDC, in consultation with Beech Parish
Council and Gladman Developments Ltd.
Finalised version: 02/04/2020
1. Introduction to the Public Hearing including its purpose, how it will be conducted, housekeeping matters and introduction of the Invited Participants (Ann Skippers, Independent Examiner)
2. Neighbourhood Plan Policies to be discussed by the Invited Participants (discussion led by the Independent Examiner) - Gladman Developments Ltd has notified the Examiner they wish to focus on the following Policies:
3. Any other issues raised by Gladman Developments Ltd (discussion led by the Independent Examiner)
4. Other Matters
5. Close. It is anticipated that the Public Hearing will end between 4 pm and 5 pm.
A short comfort break will be taken at a convenient point in proceedings.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING UNDER PARAGRAPH 9(2) OF SCHEDULE 4B
EAST HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL – EXAMINATION OF THE BEECH NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 (“The 1990 Act”) SECTION 61E & SCHEDULE 4B: PROCESS FOR MAKING OF NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT ORDERS (“SCHEDULE 4B”) NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING UNDER PARAGRAPH 9(2) OF SCHEDULE 4B
Notice is given that the appointed Independent Examiner, Ann Skippers BSc (Hons), MRTPI, FRSA, AoU, into the abovementioned draft neighbourhood plan has decided to hold a Public Hearing as part of the examination.
The purpose of the Public Hearing is to give Gladman Developments Ltd a fair chance to put their case. This is because their representation at pre-submission stage (Regulation 14 of The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012) was not considered by Beech Parish Council, in its role as qualifying body for preparing the Beech Neighbourhood Plan.
Venue: Beech Village Hall, 1 Wellhouse Road, Beech, Hampshire, GU34 4AQ
Date: Wednesday 12 February 2020 Start Time: 2pm
After the Independent Examiner has introduced the Public Hearing and its purpose, the Independent Examiner will invite Gladman Developments Ltd to put forward their case on the draft Policies or other aspects of the draft neighbourhood plan in relation to compliance with the basic conditions and other matters the Independent Examiner must consider.
The Public Hearing will take the form of a roundtable discussion. The Independent Examiner will invite the participants to give their respective comments and may ask questions or raise points of each participant.
Members of the general public are warmly invited to attend, but only those invited to participate in advance (and listed on this notice) will be able to speak and take part in the discussion.
It is important to note that not everyone who has made representations will be invited to participate in the Public Hearing. The Public Hearing will not consider every matter raised in representations. This is because the Independent Examiner considers that these other matters can be adequately dealt with by way of written representations.
After the Public Hearing the Independent Examiner is expected to complete and submit the examination report by the end of March 2020.
The examination report will set out whether or not the neighbourhood plan should proceed to the next step of a referendum; and if so whether any modifications should be made to it before it is subject to a referendum, in accordance with Schedule 4B of the 1990 Act.
Invited Participants: Gladman Developments Ltd Beech Parish Council East Hampshire District Council Date of Notice: 6th January 2020
For further information see https://www.easthants.gov.uk/beech-neighbourhood-plan
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