A timely warning to all of us

Here’s an interesting piece (for those of us interested in planning issues that is) from a planning website where local government planners pose questions to colleagues. It should serve as a timely warning to any council concerned about how to deal with neighbourhood plans. For those who don’t wish to read the whole thing, it’s all about neighbourhood plans being used by some parties as a way of promoting their own vested interests.

Having found no interest in these at all, suddenly here in (location deleted for obvious reasons) we’ve got 3 suggestions coming forward and need to act fast if we are to bid for CLG grant – assuming they could be runners.
What worries us is that they all propose housing developments that run counter to our recently adopted LDF (Core Strategy, Development Policies and Allocations DPDs) and therefore could fail at the first hurdle of not being in general conformity with the strategic policies of the local plan.
Being a large rural area we have a sustainable settlement hierarchy in our core strategy to promote development in the towns and larger villages with a good range of services, etc and we severely restrict new housing development elsewhere, including small villages. We now have a small village of 20 houses with a supportive parish council (covering a wider area) wanting to promote 2 dwellings for the families of well respected local business people, whose planning applications have previously been refused.
So only 2 dwellings – hardly a general conformity issue you might think? but it could be repeated and it undemines our strategy of delivering sustainable development, yet is probably in line with national policy.
What do you think? Anybody else proceeding with a neighbourhood plan for 2 dwellings? The other 2 proposed neighbourhood plans relate to secondary service villages with no housing allocations and tightly defined development limits and developers wanting to promote relatively large sites.
One sites was even rejected for allocation by the LDF Inspector last year. It’s not certain they would get 50% community support, but with a referendum not until the end of the process it’s an unknown and potentially a waste of money.
In one village several members of the parish council have direct interests in the site promoted, so presumably couldn’t vote. Is anybody else struggling over how to proceed with neighbourhood plans that don’t comply with the LDF and have PC members with vested interests?

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