After six years’ work, one of the biggest Neighbourhood Plans in the country has reached Regulation 15 and is now accorded limited planning weight in determining planning applications in Colne.
Pendle Borough Council, will now review the draft Plan and its evidence base, which includes a comprehensive Design Code, an analysis of Significant Views, two Masterplanned sites, viability studies on chosen housing sites within the settlement boundary, an extensive document describing the town’s Local Green Spaces and an illustrated list and descriptions of Colne’s Non Designated Heritage Assets. The draft Plan, which designates housing sites, will then move to its third consultation, known as Regulation 16; carried out over a six-week period.
Cllr Mary Thomas, chairman of Colne Town Council, explained: “Public consultation is a central plank of Neighbourhood Plans. This is grassroots, community planning by people who know and love Colne. The Town Council carried out an informal consultation, which was really about the scope of our Plan, in 2018, a Formal Consultation for Regulation 14 eighteen months ago and six months ago, a separate consultation on our Design Code. All of this has been captured in the Consultation Statement.”
Cllr Sarah Cockburn-Price, chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Committee and regional Neighbourhood Plan Champion, said: “Make no mistake, a big Neighbourhood Plan, like this, is a vast amount of work for volunteer committee members and council officers. We are grateful to have won Government grants to fund expert help, when required.
“Since Regulation 14, we have been working hard to amend the draft documents in line with any comments received and to further boost our evidence base. After the Regulation 16 consultation, our draft Plan will be sent for examination by an Independent Examiner. We will take on board any amendments the Examiner puts forward and then the Plan will be submitted for Local Referendum. If local people vote for it, it will then be adopted and used to determine planning applications in Colne.”
Neighbourhood Planning was introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act. It allows local residents and businesses to have their own planning policies in a Neighbourhood Plan that reflects their priorities, delivers tangible local benefits and has real weight in planning decisions.