The Astwood and Hardmead Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee would like to thank the parish for the support given to the Plan at Referendum.
Milton Keynes Council have "made" the Plan, and it is now a required element to be considered against any development applications for the Parish.
The Plan was voted in by the parish on 25th November 2021.
There are two final stages for its adoption by Milton Keynes Council:
A report will be sent to the Milton Keynes Cabinet which is meeting on 14th December. The Cabinet will recommend to the full council to make the Plan.
On 19th January 2022 the full Council will meet, at which point Plan will be made.
If you wish to watch these meetings live, they are accessible on YouTube:
Whilst the Neighbourhood Plan was under independent review, the appeal on the 5 properties proposed for Cranfield Road was approved, in spite of the objections and concerns raised during the planning consultation process.
You may question if there is value in adopting the Plan if an application which did not conform to the policies contained in the Plan could be successful.
The Cranfield Road application was raised whilst the Plan was at an early stage of development, and was outside of the control of the Plan; it is worth noting that planning applications can be raised at any time, irrespective of adoption (or otherwise) of the Plan. It is equally important to note however, that even in draft, the Plan held some weight against the outcome of the orignal application.
Adopting the Plan at Referendum will ensure that any future planning applications subsequently submitted will be assessed against the full weight of the Plan; applications that do not conform to the policies contained in the Plan are less likely to be approved.
Background ~ What is, and why a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan (NHP) is our chance to have a say in the future of our parish. It is a powerful tool for shaping the development and growth of a local area. Until the Localism Act in 2011, it was almost impossible for local communities such as ours to have a say in the planning matters that shape the place where we live. The Localism Act gives local communities the opportunity to develop a shared vision for their Neighbour Area and to shape the development and growth of their local area. Neighbourhood Plans are developed from within the community, and provided they achieve necessary legislative milestones, they become “made” and are used by the Local Planning Authority in determining planning applications and making policy. Neighbourhood Plans have to be prepared in accordance with the Local Planning Authority’s adopted
Local Development Plan, in this case the Milton Keynes Plan:MK. This plan has been adopted by the Government Inspector and covers Housing and development needs in the Milton Keynes and surrounding areas through to 2031 – the Plan can be obtained by clicking here.
Plans also have to follow the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (NPPF) which sets out the structure for the planning of sustainable development. Plan:MK is the strategic plan for Milton Keynes and provides both generic and place-based policies to guide development. Plan:MK provides the local context for the neighbourhood plan whose policies and proposals must be in general conformity with its policies. The Neighbourhood Plan offers the specific, place-based detail to show the type of development that local people would like to see, and shows the appropriate locations for this. In October 2018 a group of volunteers from the Parish (see below) came together to develop a joint Astwood and Hardmead Neighbourhood Plan in response to guidance and recommendation from Milton Keynes Planning department; the department is mindful of the perception of imposed planning upon rural areas, and sought to work in consultation with rural communities regarding development, rather than delivering policy-based expansion without consideration of local needs or sensitivities.
What activities have been undertaken since the process started?
Since the initial Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee meeting in late 2018 we have completed many activities which include, but are not limited to:
A drop-in workshop was held in Astwood Village Hall in March 2019. The workshop was run to allow the community to engage with the NHP committee and understand the process, its objectives and timescales. The workshop was publicised through SCAN, targeted leaflet drops at each parishioner’s home and the Astwood & Hardmead WhatsApp group.
In April 2019 a parish-wide questionnaire, comprising 15 questions was issued to obtain feedback and guidance on a range of aspects of the parish in order to inform the policies which would be incorporated in the plan. This questionnaire was reissued in September 2019 to the residents of Hardmead, whose responses had not been received, and to include any households in Astwood who had not submitted a response to the April questionnaire event.
A "call for sites" exercise was conducted in October 2019, through which any landowners with plots within the development boundary could formally promote those plots for consideration for development through the Plan. These sites were then shared with the parish at a drop-in session in the Astwood Village Hall in November 2019, and feedback / recommendations were sought from the parishioners at this event
With the identification of potential development plots in the parish the committee put together its recommendations in-line with the guidance derived from the Parish questionnaire and the November feedback session. These recommendations were shared with the Parish at a session in the Village Hall on Sunday 15th March 2020.
Each of the plots presented by landowners for development consideration has been assessed - these assessments are available at the foot of this page.
WHAT STAGE IS THE PLAN CURRENTLY AT?
The Neighbourhood Plan was taken to Referendum on 25th November 2021. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of adopting the Plan (89% in favour).
The Plan was approved by Milton Keynes Council Cabinet on 14th December 2021, and was made on 20th January 2022.
Please find below a range of links and references for your assistance should you wish to know more about Neighourhood Plans, Local Plans or the processes and activities underpinning either.
The Neighbourhood Plan regulations were published in 2012, and can be found on the Government's website.
The Government have also published additional information about what neighbourhood planning is.
There are also number of organisations that can give advice to communities considering carrying out a neighbourhood plan.
Please see a selection of these organisations below:
Localities Supporting Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning Programme helps local groups develop neighbourhood plans.
Planning Aid England (PAE) helps communities through the key stages of the Neighbourhood Planning process under the Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning 2013-15 initiative. PAE works directly with neighbourhood planning groups to provide support, advice and professional input to the plans being prepared by those communities. Visit RTPI - neighbourhood planning
Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is the national umbrella body of the Rural Community Action Network (RCAN), which operates at national, regional and local level in support of rural communities across the country.
A national toolkit produced by ACRE, is used by RCAN practitioners to guide community groups through the LEAD process. Nine steps are outlined, each providing practical advice and resources that help to make the production of any plan a manageable endeavour. Visit ACRE - community led planning
NHP volunteer Steering Committee
The attached PDFs are assessments of the plots which were put forward by landowners in the parish.
The attached PDFs are minutes from the Astwood and Hardmead Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meetings.
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