Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan – now and what happens next… The Referendum

ByMark Davies

Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan – now and what happens next… The Referendum

Schedule for the process from September 2019:

1. Submit to WPC for approval
2. Submit to SODC
3. Publish by SODC and start of 6 weeks Consultation
4. Consultation completed
5. The Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan, together with the outcome of the Consultation, submit for examination
6. Report from Examiner
7. Addition: Consultation on SODC proposed deviation from the Examiner’s recommendations
8. Referendum on the final version of the Plan (organised by SODC)

9. After the Referendum  

Update as of 17 June 2021:

The official referendum results were as follows:

  • Votes in favour of adopting the neighbourhood plan (YES vote): 1359
  • Votes against adopting the neighbourhood plan (NO vote): 189
  • Turnout : 42.79%

For more information go to: https://www.southoxon.gov.uk/south-oxfordshire-district-council/planning-and-development/local-plan-and-planning-policies/neighbourhood-plans/emerging-neighbourhood-plans/wheatley-neighbourhood-plan/

 

Further information 30 April 2021:

This Question will be put to Referendum voters:
‘Do you want SODC to use the Neighbourhood Plan from Wheatley to help it
decide planning applications in the NP Area ?’
A ‘Yes’ vote requires a majority of one. A ‘No’ vote requires the same.

The Localism Act 2011 allows Review of an NP once it has been
‘made’ (validated) by a Referendum ‘Yes’ vote. The new Local Plan LP2035
[December 2020] allows what the Examiner removed, to be replaced,
(2 x Enhancements at Wheatley eastern end.) Mistakes will be amended,
updates made, and after public reflection, Consultation will be held.
An Examiner will then check the ‘Reviewed’ text to approve.

 

Update as of 23 March 2021:

Referendum to be held 6 May 2021

Lead up To Referendum: SODC Public Consultation (Jan-March 2021) on restoring the sections of WNP removed by Examiner in February 2020, had 14 respondents, mostly favourable. SODC had second thoughts and abandoned the idea altogether (see https://www.southoxon.gov.uk/south-oxfordshire-district-council/planning-and-development/local-plan-and-planning-policies/neighbourhood-plans/emerging-neighbourhood-plans/wheatley-neighbourhood-plan/ ).

The Examiner made many amendments and modifications to WNP, and what he issued in 2020 remains the text for Referendum in May 2021. For technical reasons he removed two WNP Enhancement sites [the Bungalows Community and Ms Tombs’ Field]. Both require Green Belt adjustment with Local Plan support, but the Examiner felt it would be too long before a Local Plan was in place for WNP to make major, but merely ‘hopeful’ proposals without one. (LP 2035 appeared in December 2020, almost a year later.) He did however leave the Enhancement of Littleworth hamlet and the cross-village Green Route in the text for Referendum. Most importantly, in Para 7.81 of his Report he stated ‘The two Enhancements which need Green Belt adjustment are too dependent on an LP which does not exist at the time of this Examination… Nevertheless, work on these allocations [Enhancements] could be updated once an NP has been adopted [made]’.

The following is the text from the poster supplied by SODC (posters for notice boards in the villages of Wheatley and Holton):

**********************************************************************

Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan

Referendum

Thursday 6 May 2021

Voters can vote at the polling station, by post or by proxy. For information about registering to vote (deadline 19 April) and voting options please see:

www.southoxon.gov.uk/elections

South Oxfordshire District Council has published the specified referendum

documents on its website. These are:

  • Wheatley Neighbourhood Development Plan

  • Summary of the representations submitted to the Independent Examiner

  • Statement that the draft plan meets the basic conditions (decision statement)

  • Independent Examiner’s Report (appendix 2 of decision statement)

  • Information Statement and Information for Voters

These documents can be inspected on the Council’s website.

Go to www.southoxon.gov.uk/wheatley-np

If you need help accessing the referendum documents, please call the District Council’s neighbourhood planning team

on 01235 422600 or email planning.policy@southoxon.gov.uk.

Please help spread the word about the elections to those shielding or without access to the internet.

**********************************************************************

Update as of 15 January 2021:

The Examiner proposed that certain sections would be deleted from the submission version of the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan. The South Oxfordshire District Council are now proposing to retain these sections as follows :

  • retain Section 10, which includes policy GBBA1
  • retain the following elements of section 11:
    • policies SPES1, SPES3, and SPES4
    • Supporting text of paragraphs 11.1 – 11.7, 11.12 – 11.13, 11.14 – 11.15, and 11.17 – 11.19

The consultation on the SODC proposal to deviate from the Examiner’s recommendation is now open and will last for a seven-week period from Friday 15 January until midnight on Friday 5 March 2021. 

All relevant documentation is available on the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan page on South Oxfordshire District Council’s website at southoxon.gov.uk/wheatley-np 

Paper copies of the document are available to view by appointment only. Please contact Michelle Legg, Clerk for Wheatley Parish Council, by emailing clerk@wheatleyparishcouncil.gov.uk or calling 01865 875 615 to arrange to view the documents.

If you know anyone you think would be interested in this consultation, who is isolating or does not have access to the internet, we would appreciate your help in telling them about it. Please ask them to call the District Council on 01235 422425 or email haveyoursay@southandvale.gov.uk to discuss the proposals and get support to access the consultation materials.

Update as of 03 June 2020:

11 February Andrew Ashcroft, Examiner, reported on Draft WNP noting proposed modifications.

17 February WNP committee responded to Examiner’s draft modifications. All the modifications were accepted.

28 February Examiner’s Report published. The Examiner praised the quality of the WNP and recommended it for Referendum.Wheatley Neighbourhood Development Plan – Examiner’s Report

05 March Whitehall released emerging LP 2034 to SODC conditionally.

06 March WNP Chairman and Vice-chairman met J.Howell MP concerning outside obstacles (state of emerging LP 2034 and OBU appeal).

08 April – by this date WNP Vice-chairman Roy Gordon and SODC Advisers had incorporated/implemented and published the Examiners modifications in WNP version 42. See in following link: http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/WNP_document_v42%20REFERENDUM%20VERSION%2008042020.pdf

15 April WNP wrote to Robert Jenrick about OBU appeal but too late to be recorded in his verdict of 23 April. combined DL IR and R to C_Oxford Brookes University.pdf (1)

01 June WNP Committee Brief Update to WPC (virtual) meeting. WNP brief update to WPC 01 June 2020.

 

Update as of 16 January 2020:

Examination of WNP – completion is subject to the progress of the SODC Local Plan and the decision on the OBU appeal.

08 January WNP was notified of a letter from Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) sent to the leader of SODC, 07 January – see the following link:  http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/20200107%20Letter%20from%20the%20Secretary%20of%20State%20South%20Oxfordshire.pdf    

The letter reminds SODC of the Housing Minister’s previous letter, 09 October, directing SODC ‘not to take any step in connection with the Adoption of the [Local] Plan, while I consider whether to give a direction in relation to the Plan…My officers are working to gather evidence to support me to make a decision…(Letter P1, Para 1.]

Following this notification WNP Chair and vice-Chair (JF & RG) took advice and composed a letter to send to John Howell MP to ask for his intervention.

14 January The letter was sent to John Howell Howell0001 along with a copy of the letter from Robert Jenrick.

Update as of 13 December:

20 November Examiner put 14 questions to WNP for Clarification – mainly on Policies but with some textual explanations too, and for wider comment. 12 December was the deadline but with extra offered if required. It was decided not to task the Committee with the work, which would have been unwieldy. Chair and vice-Chair (JF & RG) took on the task.

09 December RG and JF discussed their (independent) draft responses with SODC Advisers R. Rios and R. Tobutt for 3 hours. Examiner’s new deadline of 20 December for collating the two drafts into one gratefully accepted.

Update as of 30 November:

In October All required documents/information were passed on, by SODC, to the appointed examiner Andrew Ashcroft.

19 November Andrew Ashcroft arranged a ‘Clarification Meeting’ with representatives from SODC, WPC, and WNP.

Update as of 01 November:

18 October SODC consultation completed. Go to SODC website (link shown below) to see comments received, by SODC, during the publicity period.

Update as of 15 September:

02 September WPC approval
03 September Submission to SODC
06 September Published by SODC and start of 6 weeks Consultation which finishes at 5 pm on 18 October 2019. To see all the documents submitted – the version of the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan being WNP.01 – go to the following web page:
http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/planning-and-building/planning-policy/neighbourhood-plans/wheatley-neighbourhood

Update as of 31 August:

The Final pre-Submission Consultation 07 May – 21 June 2019 was duly completed (see Evidence Base/Public Consultation for details).

Approximately 160 in total attended 4 events. 104 written responses were received and all were analysed with reference to the Draft WNP text.

Report made to Wheatley and Holton Parish Councils concerning responses submitted (see Evidence Base/ ‘Chairman’s Reports/attendance Parish Council (WPC/HPC) meeting’ 1 July 2019 for details).

The number of Statutory Bodies contacted during this Final Public Consultation was 36. Twenty -six of these acknowledged receipt and / or responded (see Evidence Base for link to details). 

On 28 August 2019 a meeting of WNP Committee endorsed the Draft NP version.

 

 

About the Author

Mark Davies editor

1 Comment so far

Doug lamontPosted on  2:34 pm - May 29, 2019

I am generally in full support of this excellent, comprehensive and detailed plan for Wheatley, which shows vision and imagination whilst maintaining a totally professional and credible approach.
I would, however make the following observations; Firstly, Many people in the village are unclear as to the need or viability of creating a new village hall when there are already adequate venues within the village centre such as the Merry Bells.Sites for any new building would clearly not be available at the heart of the village.
Secondly, I am concerned by the assertion that no new development should be approved before and unless a new burial ground is provided. There is no legal requirement and no responsibility for any level of administration to provide burial grounds and whilst it is clearly desirable the plan will make itself a hostage to fortune should a suitable burial ground not be available, The Parish Council has already spent significant funds on researching sites within the village non of which has , so far, met the requirements of the environment agency and this includes land at “WHE15 ( miss Thom’s field). Additionally, it is not entirely clear that the taxpayers of Wheatley would support the very large investment in creating a burial ground ( in excess of £150,000) in order to facilitate what is a maximum of 8-10 burials per year.
Finally, The future of the OBU Wheatley campus is clearly crucial to the future of the plan and it is vital that the plan is approved on the basis that the current SODC local plan proposals for it under Strat14 are maintained or improved.

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