Swanick in Amber Valley is England’s first Neighbourhood Plan rejected at referendum after the Parish Council recommended a no vote after they disagreed with the independent examiner – Nigel Mc Gurk’s s report. They complained it had been ‘gutted‘ and that he had done similar at Alweras were the Parish Council recommended it be withdrawn. In Swanick the district hadn’t even asked the Parish council or informed them of the referendum date, contrary to the regulations.
Are we dealing with a rogue examiner here – no he was simply doing his job. Both plans were badly written with large restrictive and unjustified local green space designations (meeting none of the tests in the NPPF) and no housing allocations. Swanick capped housing at the bottom of the range of need identified by the district without justification. Neither plan was positive or proactive.
Both parishes were poorly served by their districts. The neighbourhood plans were dogs breakfasts obviously poor at first opening – they should never have got near examination. Lets hope Niegel Mc Gurks has a long career as an examiner as long as such poor plans are more than common.