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Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan

October 2020 – Plan Withdrawn 

Following the update to the Local Needs Housing Survey, Bethersden Parish Council have decided to no longer continue with the current Neighbourhood Plan.  The message below is from the Parish Council and sets out the reasons for their decision:

It is with great regret that the Parish Council have to acknowledge that the efforts of so many of the community to achieve a Neighbourhood Plan that started in 2012 have come to an end. This has been bought about by interminable delays, the passage of time, so many submissions having to be amended, Government changes to present planning legislation and now future proposed Law changes.

Further information is available from the Parish Council at the Bethersden Parish Council website.

Examination of the Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan

The Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to the independent examiner, Mr Richard High BA MA MRTPI in 2017.

During the Examination process the Examiner has raised a number of queries and significant issues relating to the content of the Neighbourhood plan which are required to be responded to by the Council and/or the Parish Council. All the correspondence between these parties during the Examination process relating to these significant issues can be found in the correspondence section below.

Following these issues being raised, the Parish Council made a series of proposed modifications to the draft regulation 16 Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan and supporting documentation. The Council consulted on these modifications between May and July 2019. View the proposed modifications consultation documents.

On 19 December 2019 the Examiner wrote to the council and parish council to highlight deficiencies with the previous Regulation 16 consultation documents, and recommended that a further stage of consultation was required to address these. These details can be viewed in the email from Examiner regarding Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan [pdf] 83KB.

On 19 February 2020, we responded to the Examiner on behalf of the parish council who have resolved to undertake a fresh Housing Needs Survey to Support the Neighbourhood Plan. View the full response email to the Examiner [pdf] 79KB.

Latest News – July 2020

The new Housing Needs Survey has been undertaken and a report published for the Parish Council. However, ABC have now advised the Parish Council and the Inspector that it would not be reasonable to continue with the current Examination in light of such an important and central change to the evidence base and have concluded that the Examination should be terminated. The correspondence advising of this is available below.

The Parish Council will now determine which course of action they wish to follow should they wish to pursue a Neighbourhood Plan to help the delivery of the housing needs identified in the updated survey.

Parish Boundary Change

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) conducted a review of Ashford’s borough ward boundaries in 2016/17 and made The Ashford (Electoral Changes) Order 2017 on 5 November 2017 giving effect to new borough warding arrangements for Ashford. The LGBCE Order also made consequential changes to parish warding arrangements in parishes affected by the new borough ward boundaries. The new ward and parish boundaries, as set out in The Ashford (Electoral Changes) Order 2017 and The Ashford Borough (Reorganisation of Community Governance) Order No.1 2016, took effect in April 2019.

Bethersden Parish boundary was amended as part of this change (minor change) which has led to a consequential change to the Neighbourhood Plan Designated Area. Under section 5 of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is amended and a designation ceases to have effect if there is a change in the area of a parish council.

Ashford Borough Council has re-designated, under section 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the neighbourhood area of Bethersden, upon the request of the designated body Bethersden Parish Council. The revised neighbourhood area is identified on the map below and applies to the Neighbourhood Plan.

Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan Boundary [pdf] 880KB

Examination Correspondence

Please read correspondence between the Council and Examiner below:

001 - Initial letter - Richard High [pdf] 33KB

002 Examiner Queries 19 03 18 [pdf] 54KB

003 Response to Examiner Queries 19 03 18 [pdf] 106KB

004 Q & A 12th June 2016 Part I [pdf] 159KB

005 Q & A 12th June 2016 Part II [pdf] 132KB

006 Examiner Queries 22 03 18 [pdf] 51KB

006a Response to Examiner Queries 22 03 18 a [pdf] 178KB

006b Response to Examiner Queries 22 03 18 b [pdf] 1062KB

007 Examiner Queries 09 04 18 [pdf] 43KB

008 Response to Examiner Queries 09 04 18 [pdf] 85KB

009 Examiner Queries 10 04 18 a [pdf] 46KB

010 Response to Examiner Queries 10 04 18 a [pdf] 86KB

011 ABC to Bethersden PC Reg 14 letter Sept 2015 [pdf] 141KB

012 ABC to PC Regulation 14 representation table Sept 2015[pdf] 44KB

013 Examiner Queries 10 04 18 b [pdf] 47KB

014 Bethersden SEA Scoping Report March 2017 [pdf] 974KB

015 Examiners Interim Significant Issues Cover Letter 12 April 2018 [pdf] 48KB

016 Examiners Summary of Significant Issues 12 April 2018 [pdf] 120KB

017 Position Letter (Response to document 016) [pdf] 402KB

018 Examiner Response to Position Letter 3 July 2018 [pdf] 126KB

First Regulation 16 Consultation -  2017

A Schedule of Representations received during the first Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 16 consultation is available below:

Download Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan Schedule of Representations [pdf] 97KB

Bethersden Parish Council submitted the Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan, 2015-2030 to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) in December 2017. As the local planning authority, ABC was required to consult for six weeks on the submission document. This was extended to eight weeks due to the Christmas period. This followed a previous six week period of consultation held by the Parish Council in 2015.

The accompanying Sustainability Appraisal (SA), incorporating the requirement of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive, was also offered for consultation in compliance with EU obligations.

All duly-made representations were submitted, alongside all Plan documents, to the appointed independent examiner.

Pre-submission consultation

The draft Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan was formally consulted on for six-weeks by the Parish Council between 10 August - 18 September 2015 under Regulation 14 of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012.

Download draft Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan - Regulation 14 [pdf] 8MB

Strategic Environmental Assessment / Sustainability Appraisal

In some limited circumstances, a Neighbourhood Plan may require a Strategic Environmental Assessment to determine if the plan is likely to have significant environmental effects and draft neighbourhood plan proposals are assessed to determine this. In the case of the Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan, such an assessment was undertaken, which can be downloaded using the link below.

View Bethersden SA Report June 2017 [pdf] 5185KB

See SEA Scoping Report in Examination correspondence section above.

Designation of Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan

On 5 December 2013 the borough council received a request from Bethersden Parish Council for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area. The area requested to be designated was the entire Parish of Bethersden. The application and map of the area went out for public consultation for 6 weeks, which closed on the 24 January 2014.

On 13 February 2014 the Cabinet approved the designation of the Bethersden Neighbourhood Area. A copy of the Cabinet Report, Neighbourhood Area application and map, which identifies the area, is attached below.

As Neighbourhood Plans are led by the parish, all information regarding the progress of plans, and details of how to get involved can be found on the Bethersden Parish Council website.