Details of the plan
Key stages for the creation of Stewkley’s Neighbourhood Plan
Step 1: Initial communication phase
Communication to the Stewkley Community of the Parish Council’s decision to create a Neighbourhood Plan (highlighted on the village notice boards, The Grapevine, village website)
Step 2: Identify the plan area
Designating the Parish Neighbourhood (Plan) Area and agreeing the location and size with AVDC.
Step 3: Forming a Steering Group
Creating a Stewkley Community Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, led by the Parish Council, with appropriate clubs, societies and age representatives.
Step 4: Preparing the draft Neighbourhood Plan
This will include research into the need (from the local demographics and housing requirements) Consultations (with the clubs, societies, the community in general, local businesses, school, church and statutory bodies eg. Planning, highways, environment, ecology, heritage and utilities) to form the evidence for the Plan, public meetings and presentations (to receive the village community’s views on this evidence and conclusions) and the writing up the Plan to form a document. It will cover areas such as housing need, areas for protection (eg. Listed buildings, open spaces), traffic calming and car parking, business needs, and ecology).
Step 5: Pre-submission publicity & consultation
AVDC will publish our Draft Plan and review with the appropriate (internal) statutory authorities
Step 6: Plan submission
Submission of a Neighbourhood Plan proposal to AVDC local planning authority – AVDC’s formal review of the ‘final’ draft Neighbourhood Plan
Step 7: Independent Examination
An independent person(s) reviews the Plan and publishes his/ her conclusion Assuming there are no issues, AVDC send the Plan for a Stewkley Community Referendum. Stewkley residents will receive a copy of the final Neighbourhood Plan to review for themselves.
Step 8: Referendum
Stewkley residents vote for or against on a given day. If over 50% voters, vote for the Plan then this is deemed approved by the Community.
Step 9: Making the plan
Making the Neighbourhood Plan (bringing it into force) – AVDC local planning authority ensures the Plan complies with EU obligations and Convention Rights and then deems the Plan ‘Made’ (adopted)
The Parish Council established a steering group to oversee the preparation of the plan. The steering group is responsible for collecting the evidence required to inform the plan, developing the content and consulting with the community. Membership includes:
Neil Dickens – Chair
2016 Steering Committee
Neil Dickens – Chair
Beth Stedman – Secretary
Nine Working Groups were established to carry out investigations, gather evidence, consult with local people and identify policies to be included in the plan. The working groups are:
Amenities – Led by Cllr Jenny Wodey
Conservation and Heritage – Led by John Sheldon
Elderly and Disabled – led by Steve Nicholl
Planning and Landscape – led by Cllr Andrew Pryke
Schooling – led by Pam Dickens
Sports and Recreation – led by George Gater
Stewkley Business -led by Philip Delafield
Transport and Infrastructure – led by Cllr Keith Higgins
Youth – led by David Lett
STEERING GROUP MEETING MINUTES
WORKING GROUP REPORTS
WORKING GROUP POLICY STATEMENTS
SEA AND OTHER COMMISSIONED REPORTS
NP SUBMITTED FOR EXAMINATION
EXAMINATION RESULT AND REFERENDUM
Introduction text and missing documents to be added shortly
Background & Reference Materials
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about Neighbourhood Plans in General:
Why do we need a Neighbourhood Plan?
Without a neighbourhood plan the Parish could be open to speculative planning applications in areas that residents would not support.
Who is the plan for?
It is for everyone living and working in the Parish
What is the timescale?
The plan was officially started in May and is likely to take 18 months to complete. It should be completed by Sept/Oct 2017
Questions about Houses and Developments in General:
How were the potential areas for new homes decided upon?
Land owners in Stewkley Parish were invited to submit sites for development. The NP team also contacted all land owners that didn’t come forward to confirm whether they wished to develop their land. As a result, some land was excluded because the owner did not want to develop it. The remaining sites were assessed based on criteria set from the neighbourhood plan survey.
Inaccuracies in the map and table of sites
We offer our sincere apologies for errors in the map that was distributed. We had previously used the conservation map (which does not feature Griffin Field) to show the location of proposed sites and an over-enthusiastic member of the NP team drew the location in, not realising that it was already there. As a result site 53 is shown in the wrong location. Site 33 is only partially in the conservation area. Site 37 – incorrect size shown, this should be 2.8 acres
How will the housing mix be decided?
Respondents to the village questionnaire identified starter homes and retirement homes as those most needed in the future. Achieving the desired housing mix on smaller developments is challenging and a policy statement is being drafted to ensure that homes are developed that meet local needs. The site summary for each proposed location will include the type of housing that would be supported in the NP
Concerns regarding infill between individual sites
A policy will be included in the NP regarding the location of development sites, including a limit on the number of homes per site and a reluctance to approve ‘bunched’ sites.
Against a particular site for personal reasons and against all development
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and deliver the sustainable development they need. It is way of helping local communities to influence the planning of the area in which they live and work. Not all development will be wanted by everyone. As with all planning applications, there will be opportunities for individuals to object when the plans are submitted.
Concerns about the scoring of sites
Scoring the sites was an essential first step in deciding which locations would be likely to fit emerging policies in the NP. Some sites look large but the land owner only wants to develop a few homes on them, so the size of the site is not a good indication about the potential number of homes. A policy to limit the number of home per site and preventing ‘bunching’ of sites is being drafted and will be available for comment. Full site summaries are being produced and will be on the website by mid December – paper copies will be made available for residents who don’t have access to the Internet. Each summary provides more information about the site location, access and suitability for development. There will be an opportunity to comment throughout the development of the NP and all comments will be fully considered.
Land owners want to get the maximum value from their land, where does the subsidy for affordable homes come from?
‘Affordable Homes’ comes from a contribution from the landowner for developments of a particular size. The NP will be seeking to achieve reasonably priced homes at a cost achieved by good design to meet the requirement of our own local young people. It will also consult with housing associations in respect of rented and shared ownership schemes.
Will a new build residential development nearby reduce property values in Stewkley?
New houses or developments have no noticeable effect on house prices, either negative or positive. A recent study has shown that new housebuilding has little discernible and consistent impact on local house price patterns. The report by LSE London, entitled ‘Understanding the Local Impact of New Residential Development,’ was jointly commissioned by Barratt Developments, the largest housebuilder in the UK, and the NHBC Foundation, and addressed the question of whether a new development will always reduce prices or reduce the rate of increase in prices in the immediately surrounding area. Examining the impacts of eight recent residential Barratt developments on their local areas, the research concluded that prices did not decline as a result of development, although sometimes there may be some limited impact during construction. Once the developments were completed, the local areas generally moved with the market.
Questions about Housing Numbers and Specific Developments:
There has been insufficient detail about the number and size of properties being considered for each site
Site summaries are being produced and will be on the website by mid-December – paper copies will be made available upon request for residents who don’t have access to the Internet. Each summary will provide more information about the site location, access and suggested type of development.
Concern about access, in particular during construction and ongoing for residents affected by new developments off the main road
Safety and access were considered when assessing potential sites and a more detailed investigation will be undertaken for sites that have met other acceptance criteria.
Why has the Soulbury Road site been excluded from the plan?
Although consideration was given to all sites, a decision was taken to publish just the sites required to meet the AVDC target of 123 new homes. The cut-off score to meet this target was 34 out of a possible 72 and sites scoring below this were not included on the map. Going forward, details of all sites will be included in future consultation and communication and will be published on the website for everyone to see.
Concerns about whether the sewage/drainage systems will be able to cope
We recognise that there are ongoing concerns about sewage and drainage in the village. It was disappointing that Thames Water and Anglian Water did not acknowledge the problems in Stewkley when asked to comment on the Soulbury Road planning application – although they have expressed concerns verbally. We would be pleased to hear about issues regarding foul drainage and surface water drainage (with photos if possible) to help us build a picture of the actual problems that exist in the village and to identify how these could be resolved.
Concerns about the impact on traffic and infrastructure and whether developers would contribute towards road infrastructure improvements
Traffic and parking issues in Stewkley are of great concern to the NP team and a number of initiatives are being considered to reduce the impact including: restricting the number of homes per site, introducing a 20 mph zone in problem areas, extending the AVDC parking standards for new developments so that all car parking requirements can be accommodated off road and creating additional space for local residents as part of the scheme.
What is the time scale for Soulbury Road development?
The District Council have not yet set a date to consider the application, however we understand it will not be before 2017
Would the school be able to cope with the additional children?
Bucks County Council confirmed that they believed there would be sufficient primary school capacity to meet future needs. Concerns have been expressed about children being transported out to other areas to attend school. Currently 59 of he 199 pupils attending St. Michael’s School come from outside the recognised catchment area. Phasing of future developments over the 20 year period of the local plan would help to even out demand for school places.
Question about the Village and the Conservation Area:
Protecting linear village could overcrowd the centre and integrated, smaller developments could have a greater impact than larger developments outside the boundary. More views could be affected
The linear nature of the village is a well-established Stewkley feature, supported and protected by the Local Planning Authority. However, the NP team are aware of the danger of overcrowding and protection of views. The review of potential sites took into consideration aspects such as sloping ground and low rise development to help preserve views into the countryside for existing homes. A policy to limit the number of home per site and a reluctance for ‘bunching’ of sites is being drafted and will be available for comment by the end of the year.
Ribbon development beyond the 30mph signs
Responses from the village questionnaire did not support extending the building line and in view of this, the Steering Group felt that modest development at the edges of the village would be preferable to sites invading the countryside. A review of speed limits at the boundaries is being undertaken with plans to introduce a buffer zone to slow vehicles down before they reach the 30 MPH speed limit.
Concerns about building in the conservation area and not understanding how much of the sites labelled ‘partial’ would be in the conservation area
Policies for the protection of conservation areas, as in the past, will continue in the future as per paragraphs 8.4-8.7 in the draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan – VALP. These policies however do not mean no development but that development might be considered if all the policies in the Local Plan are met. A good example would be the development at Coal Yard, Dunton Road.
Protecting rural nature of the area and farm land, environmental impact and landscaping of new developments, protection of green spaces, the impact on trees with preservation orders and maintaining the character of the village.
These themes featured very strongly in the village questionnaire when residents told us just how important the countryside and environment is to them. The policies being drafted for the NP are designed to protect these important factors.
Impact on crime
Respondents to the village questionnaire told us that the felt save living in Stewkley. There are no indications that an increase in the number of homes would result in additional crime.
Impact of loss of employment area
Any future development of the business park would be not be scheduled for 15 years. Discussion would be possible within this timeframe for the Parish Council to identify alternative locations to relocate businesses within the Parish
Questions about NP, AVDC and VALP:
What is the time frame for development – everything in the 2016 flier seems to be within the first 5 years?
The table in the flier identified the timeframe put forward at this stage by the landowner. The actual timing of any development is likely to be very different, and to an extent may be controlled by the NP to be phased over the next 20 years.
Can we appeal against the target of 123 new homes imposed by AVDC?
The target was questioned by Stewkley Parish Council as it was derived by a formula applied to all villages deemed to be on ‘medium’ size, regardless of the location, amenities and infrastructure. That target is now out of date. AVDC themselves were criticised for using this arbitrary approach to decide how many homes each village and town should deliver to enable AVDC meet its target, and have adopted an evidence-based approach instead. The actual target number for Stewkley has not yet been revealed (as of March 2017), however the housing land assessment suggests a target closer to 100 might be expected.
Submitting just 43 dwellings for the VALP is not enough when AVDC is asking for a total of 128. This assumes that Soulbury Road is accepted.
It is not accepted that Soulbury Road is agreed and the Parish Council has submitted a strong opposition. AVDC made it clear that they did not want more options submitted at this time and reassured the Parish Council that the “reserve allocations” submitted for the VALP would only be given full weight if a neighbourhood plan had not come forward within the allowed time frame (late summer 2018).
Why are sites previously rejected by AVDC being submitted?
At this stage all sites put forward by Stewkley landowners remain open for comment and consideration by the parish. Sites may have been rejected by AVDC for reasons that would not stop development. For example, AVDC rejected sites for development of less than 5 houses. Several Stewkley sites would potentially have 2 or 3 houses only.
Would the village miss out on S106 development money if we just had small developments on small sites?
The Parish Council and Neighbourhood Planning team continue to seek clarification on this question.
What is the HELAA and where can I find it?
HELAA is the Housing and Economic Land Area Assessment document issued by AVDC and is a strategic picture of the availability and suitability of land for development. It is a key component of the evidence base to inform the preparation of the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP). Further, it attempts to establish realistic assumptions about the number of homes and amount of economic development that this land could yield and the timeframe within which this might come forward. It may be found here (Stewkley sites are discussed in Part 5).
HELAA version 4 – January 2017 Part 1 (Intro-Aylesbury)
HELAA version 4 – January 2017 Part 2 (Beachampton-Cuddington)
HELAA version 4 – January 2017 Part 3 (Dagnall-Grendon Underwood)
HELAA version 4 – January 2017 Part 4 (Haddenham-Oving)
HELAA version 4 – January 2017 Part 5 (Padbury-Swanbourne)
HELAA version 4 – January 2017 Part 6 (Thornborough-conclusions)