The REFERENDUM will take place on Thursday 6 December 2018
How to vote – There are three ways of voting:
- In person
- By post
- By proxy
Where to vote – There will be three polling stations:
- All Saint’s Church,
- Croxley Baptist Church
- Royal British Legion club.
When to vote – The polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday 6th December 2018
- Registration of new voters closes on 20th November
- Applications for new or amended postal votes closes on 21st November
- Applications for new proxy votes closes on 28th November
Neighbourhood Plan Q&A
Q: What is the Neighbourhood Plan?
A: The Neighbourhood Plan is intended to give more control to people about what happens in their area under the Localism Act 2011.
It will become part of the Three Rivers Development Plan and be used by TRDC to help it decide planning applications in Croxley Green
Q: Where can I find a copy of the Neighbourhood Plan?
A: There are copies to consult at the Parish Council Offices, the Library, the TRDC offices in Rickmansworth and online on the Parish Council website and the TRDC website.
Q: Is it common to have a Neighbourhood Plan?
A: There have been many Neighbourhood Plans made since the 2011 Act, and it is easy to find examples on the internet.
- Croxley Green is the first one in Three Rivers District but there are nearby examples, at Chalfont St Peter (2016) and Chalfont St Giles (in preparation).
Q: Who wrote the Neighbourhood Plan?
A: The Parish Council set up a working group of volunteers including parish councillors and local residents, and employed an architect planner, Peter Goodwin, to give professional advice.
Q: Who was consulted in the creation of the Neighbourhood Plan?
A: Many local people and organisations, and others with wider interests were consulted at several stages as the plan was prepared, as required by law.
- The Parish Council consulted a wide range of local bodies and other interested parties informally in 2016. The results are contained in the consultation document on the TRDC website. Consultation Statement (pdf)
- TRDC ran a formal consultation in 2017 and the responses are on the TRDC website. Regulation 16 consultation responses (pdf).
- Following comments from the Independent Examiner, TRDC ran a further consultation in 2018 and the responses are on the TRDC website. Additional Regulation 16 consultation responses (pdf)
Q: What is the feedback from TRDC?
A: TRDC has been helpful and supportive at the various stages.
- TRDC employed an independent consultant to review the draft plan in 2016 POSe Ltd Independent Health Check (April 2016) (pdf) and the modified plan in 2017 POSe Ltd Independent Health Check (March 2017) (pdf)
- TRDC also made comments to the Independent Examiner in 2017. Croxley Green Parish Council response to TRDC comments (pdf).
- The Independent Examiner eventually recommended that TRDC should further modify the Plan before putting it to referendum. Croxley Green Neighbourhood Plan Examiner Report (pdf).
Q: What journey has it made to get here today?
A: It has been a long and tortuous process over the past five years with many setbacks.
- The Parish Council started to prepare a Community Plan in 2011 (before the Localism Act came into force), and ran a public survey in 2013. The survey results were published in 2013 and used to inform the development of the Neighbourhood Plan. The consultation statement Consultation Statement (pdf)describes the early work (up to March 2017)
- The draft Plan was submitted for examination on 24 January 2017 and subsequently withdrawn following an independent review of the plan. Croxley Green Parish Council amended the Plan following this review and resubmitted it on 6 April 2017. TRDC carried out the formal (Regulation 16) consultation between 21 April and 2 June 2017. Regulation 16 consultation responses (pdf).
- TRDC appointed Ann Skippers BSc (Hons) MRTPI FRSA AoU as the Independent Examiner, with agreement from Croxley Green Parish Council. The Examiner had some questions for both Councils. Examiners Questions (pdf).
- She also felt that both the SEA and HRA Screenings needed to be done in more detail for the NDP to meet the Basic Conditions. Further work on the SEA and HRA was carried out to produce Screening Reports. SEA Screening Report (pdf), HRA Screening Report (pdf).
- The statutory consultees were then consulted on these Reports. This was followed by an additional Regulation 16 consultation between 8 June 2018 and 20 July 2018. Additional Regulation 16 consultation responses (pdf).
- The examination was completed and the Examiner submitted her report to Three Rivers District Council on 21 September 2018. Croxley Green Neighbourhood Plan Examiner Report (pdf). She recommended that the plan should proceed to referendum subject to a number of modifications.
- TRDC decided on 23 October to accept the report, modify the Plan, and proceed to referendum which will be on 6 December 2018.
Q: What is it trying to achieve?
A: To introduce new planning policies which will help to protect the character of Croxley Green as a desirable place to live.
- It will influence the future development of Croxley Green by protecting those parts of the Parish that are important to its character and function and planning for new development which is sympathetic to the local context.
- The essence of the Neighbourhood Plan is to plan a sustainable future for Croxley Green.
- It supplements, but does not repeat, policies already contained within other approved statutory documents, such as the TRDC Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.
- The planning policies relate to the use and development of land. The Plan also includes other related objectives that local people wish to achieve, which are presented as “aims”.
Q: What difference will it make?
A: TRDC will use the policies in our Neighbourhood Plan to provide a local context, when considering planning applications for new development or building extensions within Croxley Green.
- Our policies strengthen, enhance and complement the Development Management Policies in the TRDC Local Plan adopted in July 2013.
Note: the Plan does not change the status of any Conservation Areas or any Listed Buildings
Q: What are the benefits of having a Neighbourhood Plan?
A: There are several sorts of benefit:
- TRDC will use the policies to determine planning applications. The policies give slightly more control over the sorts of development that will be acceptable than are in the current Local Plan. Therefore the Plan will lead to more suitable development within Croxley Green.
- Developers and house owners will use the Aims as guidance in preparing their proposed developments or extensions, which will fit in better with the local style and streetscape. Therefore the Plan will lead to proposals which reflect the local character.
- The Parish Council will use the policies to comment on planning applications and the aims for guidance in developing Croxley Green to respond to the challenges of the future.
- CGPC will receive 25% of the CIL money rather than 15%. This community contribution from developers will go towards improving the public facilities in Croxley Green
Q: What are the disadvantages of NOT having a Neighbourhood Plan?
A: If more people vote ‘no’ than ‘yes’, then planning applications will be decided without using the Neighbourhood Development Plan as part of the Development Plan for the local area.
In the Three Rivers District Council Local Planning Authority area the Development Plan currently consists of
- the adopted Core Strategy (2011),
- the Development Management Policies Local Development Document (2013) and
- the Site Allocations Local Development Document (2014) as well as
- the Hertfordshire Mineral Local Plan Review 2002-2016 (2007), and
- the Hertfordshire Waste Core Strategy and Development Management Policies document (2012) and
- Waste Site Allocations document (2014).
The main development management policy that would be enhanced:
- DM1 Residential Design and Layout
Q: What are the costs involved with having a Neighbourhood Plan?
A: The main costs were associated with developing the Plan. We received a grant of £6k for the consultancy work, and spent another 3K or so, plus an enormous amount of volunteer time.
- They cannot be recovered, no matter whether the Plan is adopted or rejected. There will be few other costs.
Q: Can the Neighbourhood Plan be changed? (Either to remove, amend or add policies)
A: The Neighbourhood Plan will remain until it is withdrawn or replaced. We understand the Government intends to introduce a system for modifying Neighbourhood Plans in future.
- In the planning system the most recent plans overwrite and modify earlier plans. A new TRDC Local Plan may modify the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan (but not the Aims). New Government guidance may modify the policies in the Local Plan as well as in the Neighbourhood Plan.
- The Aims are not planning policy and may be modified by the Parish Council, as and when necessary.
Q: How long will the Neighbourhood Plan be in action for?
A: The Plan covers the period from 2017 to 2032. If the community wishes to replace it, then the process can be started at any time in the future before 2032.
Q: What will change as a result of the Neighbourhood Plan?
A: In some cases the policies in the Plan are slightly more restrictive than the policies in the current Local Plan. New developments and extensions are likely to be designed and built to be more in keeping with the local scale and character, helping to keep Croxley special.
- The aims in the Plan set out, for the first time, a consistent set of objectives for the Parish Council, helping to guide the community in developing Croxley Green to respond to the challenges of the future.
Q: I want to build an extension on my house, how will the Neighbourhood Plan impact me?
A: It varies depending on the scale of what you intend to do.
- If the proposed extension is within certain parameters, called “permitted development rights” the Neighbourhood Plan will have no direct impact, as you do not need planning permission. However you will be welcome to follow the advice and guidance set out in the Plan.
- If the proposed extension does require explicit planning permission then your designer will take the policies and aims into account when preparing a design which fits with the local setting and is therefore readily accepted and approved by the planning authority (in this case Three Rivers District Council)
- If the proposed extension does not fit with the local surroundings, then the Parish Council is likely to comment adversely and the planning authority will take the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan into account in reaching a decision on the merits of the proposed extension. (It may be harder to get planning permission for extensions which don’t fit into the scale and character of the local area.)
- If there is an appeal against the planning authority’s decision, the planning inspector determining the appeal will take the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan into account in reaching a decision.
Q: What do you need from me?
A: Have a look at the Plan and the Appendices and decide what you would like to do for the future of Croxley Green. And then VOTE on 6th December 2018
Q: Who is eligible to vote?
A: Everyone on the Electoral Register may vote, in exactly the same way as at a local election
“A person is entitled to vote in the Referendum if on the 6 December 2018:
- He or she is entitled to vote in a local election in the Referendum area: and
- His or her address for the election is in the Referendum Area. A person qualifying address is, in relation to a person registered in the register of electors, the address in respect of which he or she is entitled to be registered.
The referendum will be conducted based on procedures which are similar to those used at local government elections.”]
Q: When do I vote?
A: The referendum date has been set as Thursday 6th December
Q: How do I vote?
A: Poll cards will be sent to all registered electors within Croxley Green, in the normal way, telling you where your local polling station will be. (Probably the same as at local elections, depending on availability)
There are three ways of voting:
- In person
- By post
- By proxy
Further details will be available on the Notice of Referendum]
Q: What if I’m on holiday?
A: There will be the usual arrangements for postal voting and for proxy voting, so you will be able to request a postal vote or appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf.
Q: What is the minimum threshold for the referendum to be passed?
A: There is no minimum. It is a simple majority of those who decide to vote on the day (and by post or proxy).
You vote by putting a cross (X) in the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ box on your ballot paper. Put a cross in only one box or your vote will not be counted.
If more people vote ‘yes’ than ‘no’ in this referendum, then Three Rivers District Council will use the Neighbourhood Development Plan to help it decide planning applications in Croxley Green.
If more people vote ‘no’ than ‘yes’, then planning applications will be decided without using the Neighbourhood Development Plan as part of the Development Plan for the local area.]
Q: If it passes the referendum, when would the Neighbourhood Plan go live?
A: Under the law, the Neighbourhood Plan takes effect from the date the planning authority (Three Rivers District Council) decided to put it to a referendum. So it is already “live”. If the Plan is rejected, then it ceases to have effect immediately. If it passes the referendum, then Three Rivers District Council has to “adopt” it as part of the local planning framework within a short period set by law.
TRDC approves Croxley Green's Neighbourhood Plan for Referendum (23 October 2018).
The Independent Examiner, Ann Skippers BSc (Hons) MRTPI FRSA AoU, presented her final report to Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) on 21 September 2018.
- A copy of her report is here.
- a number of modifications to the draft Plan to ensure that the Basic Conditions and legal requirements were met,
- that the Plan as modified should proceed to referendum, and
- that the referendum area should be the same as the Neighbourhood Plan Area (the whole of Croxley Green Parish Area)
TRDC Policy & Resources Committee reviewed her report, the modified draft Plan and Appendices and the modified land use planning policies within the Plan on 22 October 2018 and agreed to make the modifications to the Croxley Green Neighbourhood Plan in accordance with the Examiner’s Report and proceed to referendum.
The decision was endorsed at the TRDC Full Council Meeting on 23 October 2018 with the referendum on 6 December 2018
If there is a positive vote in favour of the Plan TRDC must “make” the Plan within eight weeks unless any legal issues arise which are unresolved by the end of that period.
What is the Plan trying to achieve?
The Neighbourhood Plan is an opportunity for local people to influence the future development of Croxley Green by protecting those parts of the Parish that are important to its character and function and planning for new development which is sympathetic to the local context.
The essence of the Neighbourhood Plan is to plan a sustainable future for Croxley Green.
The Plan supplements but does not repeat policies already contained within other approved statutory documents, such as the TRDC Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.
The policies must relate to the use and development of land. The Plan also includes other related objectives that local people wish to achieve, which are presented as “aims”.
What difference will the Plan make?
TRDC will use the policies in our Neighbourhood Plan to provide a local context when considering planning applications for new development or building extensions within Croxley Green. The policies strengthen, enhance and complement the Development Management Policies in the TRDC Local Plan adopted in July 2013.
“New development should seek to conserve and, wherever possible, enhance the key elements of the character and appearance of the Character Areas described in Appendix B through careful design and massing of new buildings and the protection and enhancement of private gardens and open space without inhibiting innovative design. (etc.)”
“Domestic extensions requiring planning consent should seek to conserve and enhance the Character Areas described in Appendix B through the careful control of massing, alignment and height. Extensions that have an overbearing or adverse visual effect on the Character Area in which it is located will be resisted. Proposals should take account of the guidelines in Appendix C. (etc.)”
Other policies include:
- “Streets and areas with special characteristics”
- “Landmark buildings and structures”
- “Satisfying local housing needs”
- “Lifetime neighbourhoods and security”
- “Connections to existing footpaths and cycle ways in new developments"
- “Protection of retail uses”, “Safeguarding employment” & “Encouraging new employment”
- “Shop fronts” and
- “Killingdown Farm Development Site”
The Neighbourhood Plan also includes a number of related aims that the Parish Council will pursue on behalf of local residents and the community such as:
- “The use of appropriate materials in all extensions”
- “Accessibility of all new dwellings”
- “Crime prevention”
- “Dwelling sizes”
- “Reduction of carbon footprint” & “Improving energy efficiency”
- “Support for leisure and community facilities”
- “Safeguarding recreational land”
- “Protection of allotments”
- “Road Safety and control of parking” & “Safe Parking”
- “Conservation of front gardens”
- “Street furniture”
- “Protection of trees” & “Street trees”
- “Maintenance of footpaths and bridleways”
- Other development opportunities (listed in the Plan).
The REFERENDUM will take place on Thursday 6 December 2018
An Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning
A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. A neighbourhood plan is about the use and development of land and may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, or allocation of key sites for specific kinds of development. It may deal with a wide range of social economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport) or it may focus on one or two issues only. These may be issues that are relevant to the whole neighbourhood or just to part of the neighbourhood.
A Neighbourhood Plan will be part of the statutory development plan for the area, if successful at referendum. This statutory status gives Neighbourhood Plans far more weight than some other local documents, such as parish plans, community plans and village design statements.
A Neighbourhood Plan must comply with European and national legislation and must have appropriate regard to national policy and be in general conformity with existing strategic local planning policy. It should not promote less development than that identified in the development plan for the local area (such as new housing allocations). It can allow greater growth levels. Also, it can specify policies and guidance on how new development should be designed, orientated and located. Neighbourhood Plans can be a powerful tool in shaping the development of a neighbourhood.
Once a Neighbourhood Plan has been completed, it has to be submitted to the local planning authority and then be subjected to a formal public consultation and an independent examination. This ensures that the proper legal process has been followed and that the plan meets the basic conditions, including general conformity with strategic local policy.
[reproduced with kind permission of Locality from their Neighbourhood Plans Roadmap Guide]
Designated Area for Croxley Green
To start the Neighbourhood Plan process Croxley Green Parish Council applied to Three Rivers District Council for designation of the whole of Croxley Green as a Neighbourhood Area in accordance with Part 2, Paragraph 5 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 so that the Parish Council could produce a Neighbourhood Plan.
Following public consultation, Three Rivers District Council designated the whole of Croxley Green as a single Neighbourhood Area on 27 January 2014. The map below highlights the area designated which is defined by the Parish Council Boundary for Croxley Green.
Designation Notification 31 Jan 14
Croxley Green Designated Area Map 27 Jan 14
Preparing the draft Plan
Following the designation of the area, the Council established a Working Party to draw up the Plan and engaged the services of a professional architect planner to assist in the process.
Over the course of the following two years, the Plan was developed through public meetings, interaction with the community and promotional activities about the developing plan and meetings with stakeholders. A draft plan with its appendices was published in June 2016 for preliminary local consultation and comment.
The approach in the Plan was to identify distinct Character Areas within Croxley Green and develop objectives, policies and aims to protect the areas from inappropriate development in future. Twelve different Character Areas have been identified with their own unique features. Further policies and aims cover sustainability, housing, leisure and community facilities, recreational open space, retail and employment, the environment and public safety.
The Council received some very positive feedback following public consultation in 2016 and thanks all those who contributed their constructive views and comments.
Following the consultation, an amended draft Neighbourhood Plan (amended draft Neighbourhood Plan) and amended Appendices (amended Appendices) were prepared for Parish Councillors to review on October 2016.
At the Council Meeting on Thursday 15 December 2016, the Council approved all four of the Neighbourhood Plan documents for submission to TRDC subject to any necessary corrections or minor amendments and that authority to approve such corrections and amendments be delegated to the Clerk as Proper Officer in law for the Council.
The documents have been scrutinised and the final submission versions can be viewed by clicking on the links below:
Statutory public consultation by TRDC
Following the Parish Council’s formal submission of its Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) to the Local Planning Authority, the final submission version of the NDP is now subject to consultation. Three Rivers District Council sought views on the planning policies contained within the NDP. The consultation ran for a six week period from Friday 21st April 2017 until Friday 2nd June 2017. The final submitted documents can be found on the Three Rivers District Council website by clicking here.