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The plan was a community-led affair but affiliated to the
Parish Council who acted as its sponsor. The Neighbourhood Plan
was informed by village workshops, community surveys and other
parish meetings. The process was overseen by a Steering Group,
made up of both residents and business owners within the parish
of West Bergholt, who valued the opportunity to have a say in
the future shape and development of their village.
A Neighbourhood Plan must comply with a number of conditions,
known as the Basic Conditions. These require that the Plan:
The National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (NPPF) is the
principal document in which national planning policies are
Government guidance is provided on the Planning Practice
Timeline of Neighbourhood Plan
The NPPF sets out a presumption in favour of sustainable
development. This means development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs. There are three dimensions to
sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
West Bergholt sits within a number of other plan and service
The Neighbourhood Plan sets out to ascertain which areas would
benefit from intervention and to sound its community out on
areas where they think planning could be carried out at a local
The development plan for the area consists of the Essex
Minerals Local Plan 2014 and the Essex & Southend Waste
Local Plan 2017, which currently provide the local planning
policies which govern minerals and waste development in Essex.
Colchester Borough Council have produced a set of adopted
Development Plan Documents (DPD) that are referred to as the
adopted Local Plan which guides future growth and development in
the Borough up to 2021.
The DPD comprises the:
The biggest impact on local land use planning matters is
Colchester's Local Plan. A new Local plan is in the process of
being formulated to cover the period up to 2033. Our
Neighbourhood Plan must be in general conformity with the
strategic policies of the adopted Local Plan and it has also
taken into account the direction of the emerging Local Plan,
although the relationships with other service and planning
bodies is in fact equally important.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitat
Regulations Assessment (HRA)
A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) screening
determination was prepared for the Neighbourhood Plan, which
concluded that the Neighbourhood Plan will not result in
significant environmental effects and therefore a SEA is not
needed. Natural England and Historic England agreed with the
conclusion that SEA is not required.
towards the latter stages of the Neighbourhood Plan development
the draft Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and
Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) was circulated to LPA Officers.
Whilst the RAMS is still in draft form, the Essex Coast RAMS
sets out Zones of Influence (ZoI), which have been agreed by
Natural England. Residential development falling within the ZoI
is likely to significantly affect Habitats sites through
increased recreational disturbance in-combination with other
plans and projects across Essex. The whole of Colchester Borough
is within the ZoI, which means that all residential development
in Colchester Borough is likely to significantly affect Habitats
sites through increased recreational disturbance in-combination.
The Neighbourhood Plan therefore needs to consider appropriate
avoidance/ mitigation measures. Until recently this could be
done through a screening opinion, and a HRA screening report was
prepared for the Neighbourhood Plan concluding no likely
significant effects. However, a recent decision from the
European Court of Justice (People Over Wind and Sweetman)
requires avoidance and mitigation measures to be considered in
an appropriate assessment rather than a screening opinion.
The implications of this are that an appropriate assessment is
required for the Neighbourhood Plan, even though the effects are
in-combination and relatively minor when considering that the
Neighbourhood Plan allocates land for 120 dwellings and West
Bergholt is not adjacent to a Habitats site.
Changes are expected to be made to the Neighbourhood Planning
Regulations in December 2018 making it clear that Neighbourhood
Plans can have an appropriate assessment under the Habitats
Directive and meet the basic condition of no likely significant
effects on Habitats sites. Once these changes have been made to
the Regulations an appropriate assessment will be prepared for
the Neighbourhood Plan. The SEA Directive states that SEA is
mandatory if an appropriate assessment is required. Therefore, a
SEA has been prepared for the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Neighbourhood Plan must comply with the Human Rights Act
1998 and be compatible with the rights protected by the European
Convention of Human Rights, including those dealing with
privacy, discrimination and property.
The Basic Conditions Statement explains in detail
how the West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan complies with the Basic
Conditions and other legal requirements.
The Steering Group overseeing the development and assembly of
the Neighbourhood Plan was keen to establish the following:
The group set out to do this via its meetings, workshops,
surveys, exhibitions, face to face meetings and through a
visible presence on the website, village notice boards and in
the Village Bulletin. A full consultation and involvement
summary are provided in the supporting documents.
In 2013, workshops and surveys were undertaken to establish
how people felt about the village and to establish key lines of
enquiry. Surveys of households, businesses, schools and colleges
were undertaken. Results are included in the supporting
documents, but key points were recorded as follows:
In total, nearly 500 households representing over 1000 people
responded to the various consultations.
Key issues identified were:
Other points identified were:
In April and May 2015, an Issues and Options exhibition and
consultation were carried out. This took the information from
the earlier surveys plus independent evidence from desktop
research and played this out to the community through a range of
scenarios and propositions. Results are included in the
supporting documents, but key points were recorded as follows:
In October 2016, a consultation on the draft plan and policies
Key points were as follows:
In 2018 the Neighbourhood Plan was issued in draft for a
six-week consultation period in accord with Regulation 14. The
responses from that consultation have now been duly considered
in this Regulation 16 version of the Plan.