About the Plan
WHAT IS A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN?
It is a mechanism for local people to have some control over how their areas develop over the next fifteen years. It provides a framework against which new planning development applications will be measured.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN AND A LOCAL PLAN
There has been confusion between the Lovelace Neighbourhood Plan (LNP) and the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) draft Local Plan (LP), with many believing them to be one and the same. They’re not, so let’s clarify the difference.
The Guildford Local Plan encompasses the entire Guildford Borough, i.e. Guildford, Ash and all the villages. It looks at the needs of the entire borough, i.e. housing needs and strategic housing sites; infrastructure in association with the relevant bodies, i.e. Highways England, Surrey County Council; business and commerce; facilities such as education, etc. Guildford’s draft Local Plan went to public consultation in 2016 and again in 2017. An Independent Examination took place in July 2018 and a further examination on 12-13th February 2019 of the Main Modifications. The Examiner’s report is awaited.
Neighbourhood Plans have be in alignment with the Guildford Local Plan, but empower people to have a say in shaping their surroundings and land use, e.g. what type of housing is needed, location, the design and density of new housing, requiring developments to be sympathetic to the character of the area, etc. They also cover business, environment and local facilities.
Both Plans are prepared in accordance with the Government regulations known as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and will cover a period of 15 years.
THE LOVELACE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN (LNP)
The Lovelace Neighbourhood Plan (LNP) area includes Ripley, Ockham and Wisley. The objective is to produce land-use policies which reflect the needs and opinions of residents, businesses and visitors, as far as is possible within the boundaries laid down by the Guildford Local Plan. The policies will provide a positive vision for future homes that meet the needs of local people, providing control on the type and density of new housing, and enhancing the social and environmental well-being of the communities.
Infrastructure changes, i.e. roads, schools, healthcare, are beyond the remit of the LNP, as are objections to any GBC “strategic” sites in Lovelace. Comments on these can be included as ‘Aspirations’ in the NP to reflect the views of the communities. The only strategic site in Lovelace is the former Wisley Airfield site but Garlicks Arch is not a strategic site. Further information can be viewed in the “Constraints and Challenges” section of the LNP (Lovelace Neighbourhood Plan – Consultation Draft, pages 25-34).
The LNP is a community project which began in early 2015. Sponsored by Ripley Parish Council, supported by Ockham Parish Council and approved by Guildford Borough Council, it is non-political and represents the communities of Ripley, Ockham and Wisley, i.e. the Lovelace Ward in Guildford Borough. The 2011 Localism Act set the scene for Neighbourhood Plans to be produced and although there is a set path to follow for the plan to be adopted, there were few guidelines on the best way to follow this path when the small group of volunteers commenced this community project.
Guildford Borough Council have a statutory duty to assist and support the neighbourhood planning activity once GBC have approved a particular plan area and group, which they did in 2015. GBC appointed a Planning Officer, Dan Knowles, to help guide the Steering Committee through the processes required to get the LNP approved and adopted and Dan has been extremely helpful and supportive.
Grant money (see below) allowed the Steering Committee to obtain independent advice from independent planning consultants, Navigus Planning, who have helped numerous other neighbourhood plan groups through the process.
Locality, a quango which grew out of the Development Trusts Association, provide information on neighbourhood planning, as does a related body, My Community. – (Locality Website, My Community Website)
The LNP is funded from public funds disbursed by Locality (http://locality.org.uk). Ripley and Ockham Parish Councils have also provided monies towards funding. Ripley Parish Council hold and disburse funds on behalf of the LNP Steering Committee and act as the lead parish council for the project.
The Steering Committee are all volunteers and do not receive any remuneration other than occasional expenses.