Tattenhall – How Not to Write a Neighbourhood Plan Policy

The forthcoming JR of the Tattenhall NP will establish one hopes to what extent allocations in them are covered by the SEA directive.

But what an appallingly worded policy that is causing all the fuss.

“large scale, inappropriate development along existing village boundaries will not be supported by the community”.

Did not the examiner (not a planner) or Chester West and Cheshire’s planners not think this wording is a pile of doggy do do.

Three things:

-‘Innappropriate development’ not defined is a technical term that applies only to Green Belt.

-‘Along existing village boundaries’  you would meet the policy by leaving the narrowest of gaps.

-‘will not be supported by the  community’ – not an issue for a plan but another material consideration.  An agreed NP is part of the development plan, so all it needs to say is whether it would or would not be approved.  This says neither and is ambiguous.

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3 thoughts on “Tattenhall – How Not to Write a Neighbourhood Plan Policy

  1. I agree with everything you say about the wording of the policy, and your analysis is an excellent example of how a bad policy can be deconstructed.

    But the last sentence really lets you down. I appreciate that this is a personal blog. But, criticising other people’s decisions as ‘amateurish’ and then coming out with an unprofessional statement like that is a bit hypocritical.

    I could have referred some neighbourhood planning groups to this post. But now I won’t.

    • I was under the impression that the Inspector was a developer. If he was also an inspector previously I apologise but all the more reason for criticism. The issue is is if slopping wording produces exactly the opposite of what the community wants then it is not am ‘informed’ choice. NPs have no test of soundness. Hence there is no test as to whether they are ‘effective’. Rather the tests are:
      The plan is appropriate having regard to national policy and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State
      The plan contributes to the achievement of sustainable development
      The plan is in general conformity with the strategic policy of the development plan for the local area
      The compatibility of the plan with EU and human rights obligations
      An inspector cannot require that a plan is amended to be more effective, cannot state that it is not the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when
      considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence, though the latter omission I think is contrary to European Law and English Common Law, thye inspector can and should point these things out however. This to my mind is a major omission, an MP can be very poor quality not supported by the evidence and better plans supported by teh evidence may exist. This is asking for legal challenges because of a deeply flaw ‘light touch’ legal basis for NPs which presumes that local communities have teh right to promote ineffective, unevidence, poor quality plans if they so choose.

  2. ‘Did not the examiner (not a planner) or Chester West and Cheshire’s planners not think this wording is a pile of doggy do do’. I understand the examiner is MRTPI and I was under the impression that he is or was a planning inspector.

    I am not sure that the basic conditions tests for Neighbourhood Plans will ensure that the policies are ‘sound’. But if they are what the community want, then that’s their choice…

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