Strete Parish Council decided to proceed with the development of a Neighbourhood Plan in mid-2015 and that the Plan should cover the whole of the parish, not just the village.
Two open meetings were held in the Parish Hall in August and September 2015, enabling almost 40% of the community of Strete to come together and share their views on what they would like to see included in any future Plan.
An application to register the Neighbourhood Plan Area Designation for Strete together with Terms of Reference was submitted to South Hams District Council on 8th October 2015. This was subsequently approved after a six week consultation period on 19th November 2015.
Under the Terms of Reference a Steering Group was set up, consisting of parish councillors and volunteers from the community.
The Steering Group met for the first time in October 2015, and decided to form four working parties that would deal with specific aspects of the Plan.
Volunteers were co-opted to support the working parties.
Ralph Clark took on the role of Administrator for the Neighbourhood Plan with the objective of ensuring the Steering Group had guidance on all the relevant requirements as well as applying for funding through the appropriate channels.
The initial members of the Steering Group were:
Andy Pound, Claire Smith, David Ferguson, David Rothwell, Giles Halliwell, Harry Fenton, Ian Coates, Jeremy Swainston, Kate Gill, Louise Newman, Malcolm Hollis, Mark Hanson, Martin Sobey, Pam Wills and Richard Soans.
The Working Group supporting volunteers were:
Alison Stocks, Andrea Phillips, Graham Campbell, Jane Hall, Liz Ferguson, Penny Penhale, Jill Welham and Penny Perret.
In November 2015 the Steering Group unexpectedly lost one of its important members from a heart attack, Ian Coates.
Penney Perret and Alison Stocks were unable to commit to the work required as volunteers for the Working Group and stood down from this role.
However, work began on summarising all the comments and views from members of the community who attended the two earlier open meetings in the Parish Hall.
This continued through November until the end of December 2015.
In January 2016 a draft household survey document was produced that incorporated the summarised views and comments together with a range of options aimed to assist each household in the community state their preferences on each issue raised.
In February 2016 the draft Household Survey documents were reviewed by members of the Steering Group and all amendments were agreed and accepted by voting, where necessary, for a majority decision. The next process is to arrange printing of the survey and options booklet.
Following proof reading of the Household Survey documents in March 2016 arrangements were made for printing and hand delivery by volunteers to every household in the parish over the weekend of 12th and 13th March 2016.
480 Strete Neighbourhood Plan Household Survey & Response Forms together with an Advisory Booklet was hand delivered to properties in the parish.
224 completed Response Forms were returned - representing 47% of the community.
A Prize Draw was held in the Parish Hall on 30th March 2016 when the first drawn Response Form, with contact details included on the form, received a prize of £100.
This was awarded to Mr R. Lloyd.
Congratulations and thanks to Mr Lloyd and thanks to all members of the community who returned their Response Forms.
All returned survey documents with contact details included were subsequently redacted using a permanent marker pen on completion of the Prize Draw to comply with the agreed requirements of the Data Protection Act
This was followed by three consecutive meetings on Monday evenings through April 2016 at which volunteers set about collating and summarising the responses in the survey documents. At the end of each meeting the survey documents were retained in a locked ballot box to protect the transparency of the survey. The box was retained by one person and the keys for the lock by another to ensure no access could be made until the next meeting.
A summary record of the responses and comments received in the survey documents was presented at the meeting on 25th April 2016 for members to comment on.
It was decided that the information presented needed more time to properly consider.
Each Steering Group member was asked to consider the responses before the next meeting in May.
Two meetings were held on 9th and 16th May 2016 to resolve ambiguity concerns expressed by some members in respect of the numbers recorded in the housing section of the Household Survey who were in favour of development and those against.
This was unanimously resolved by Steering Group members present on 16th May 2016 as detailed in the Neighbourhood Plan minutes of that date.
In addition, the Summary of Responses received from the survey was published and uploaded onto the website for members of the community to view.
The responses will now be used by the Steering Group to determine the priorities that will form the policies of the Neighbourhood Plan.
At the meeting in June 2016 the Steering Group members agreed to appoint South Hams Planning Ltd to provide guidance and support in delivering core evidence information / data for an initial draft Neighbourhood Plan policy to be used in a later consultation process with the community.
The evidence is to be built up around the priorities provided by the community in the Household Survey.
South Hams Planning Ltd (Richard Boyt) attended the meeting in July 2016.
RB commented that the results of the community Household Survey and the Housing Need Survey of 2015 provided 60% of the evidence needed towards Strete Neighbourhood Plan's policy for housing.
RB provided suggestions as to the additional evidence needed and Steering Group members have been tasked to secure as much of this as possible before the next meeting.
A Project Timetable has been produced setting out the evidence requirements needed to meet the aspirations of the community and a preferred time frame for completion.
At the meetings in August and September 2016 reference was made to the Joint Local Plan consultation document, produced by Plymouth and South West Devon, in respect of the Housing growth for small villages in South Hams having a target projection of 10 to 20 homes over twenty years. Strete is a small village.
Various objectives have been set for Steering Group members to provide evidence statements at the meeting in September. These are:
At the meeting on 3rd October 2016 Steering Group members were provided with two Ordnance Survey maps of the village and were asked to discuss, agree and mark on the maps a provisional increase to the existing development boundary of the village.
This process included identifying provisional areas within the boundary where housing development could be considered and could not be considered.
This will assist when a 'Call for Sites' is advertised.
Thirteen Evidence Chapter Headings were circulated and allocated to members.
Guidance questions for completion have been prepared and distributed with the objective of having details available for the next meeting.
At the meeting on 31st October 2016 each Chapter Heading Group presented their responses to the questions and edited comments are expected to provide the evidence needed for draft policies and form an introduction in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Two maps were produced from the points discussed previously by Steering Group members.
On Map 1 areas of land exposed to the south coastal AONB, the west of the village over rolling hills towards Slapton Ley and Slapton and the north western edge of the village were identified with hatching.
These are considered to be sensitive areas where Steering Group members have suggested the prospect of housing or other massed built development to be unacceptable as a matter of principle.
Map 2 has three recommendations for managing future development.
Areas for potential housing development will eventually be added after considering the constraints in Map 1 and the three recommendations in Map 2.
Progress to date requires a 'Call for Sites' advert to be prepared for placement in December 2016.
A circular to all members of the community is to be arranged in advance to provide a progress update and inform every one of the reason for the 'Call for Sites' advert to avoid any possible concerns.
Volunteers hand delivered the ‘Call for Sites’ newsletter during week ending 27th November 2016.
At the meeting on 30th November 2016 draft policies which were discussed at length.
From the comments raised it was agreed that the evidence obtained in the chapter headings would need to be structured to fit with the draft policies presented to form a draft Neighbourhood Plan.
It was suggested that engaging a policy-writing specialist for the latter stages of the Neighbourhood Plan might be more cost effective as the context writing needed is time consuming and a big ask for any lay person to undertake.
The issue of second home ownership control and the policy included in the St Ives NDP was discussed as an example that could be included in Strete Neighbourhood Plan. Members agreed that a similar arrangement for Strete should be adopted.
Arrangements were confirmed for a ‘Call for Sites’ advert to be placed on page 7 of the Dartmouth Chronicle on 9 December 2016.
In response to the 'Call for Sites' advert, an enquiry was received from the Land Agent representing Blackpool & Start Estate and Strete Estate in December 2016. Guidelines and Constraint Maps agreed by Steering Group members were forwarded to the Land Agent for consideration by his clients.
In January 2017 a letter together with a map identifying land offered for development was received from the Land Agent. The contents were discussed by Steering Group members at a meeting in February 2017.
It is hoped that a policy-writer will be appointed to assist with the policy writing requirements of the plan in March 2017.
In March 2017 Plymouth and South West Devon produced a draft Joint Local Plan for consultation. Strete was identified in this as a village able to accommodate 10 dwellings over the plan period until 2034. This number meets with the housing number preference expressed by the community in the household questionnaire in 2016. Lee Bray was appointed as a policy-writer using the evidence built up during 2016 to prepare a draft plan that will include the land offered for development for community consultation.
Lee Bray produced an Outline Structure for the draft plan in April 2017 which was discussed by members followed by comments for guidance to be included in the draft plan. Approximately 12 policies are likely to be required in the plan. Some of the policies in the Plymouth & South West Devon Joint Local Plan reflect the views of Strete community and, although these cannot be repeated in the plan for Strete, it was decided that formal support for these policies should be registered with South Hams District Council as part of the consultation process.
The decision to support relevant Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan Policies, has been registered and confirmation received in May 2017 . Reference supporting these policies will be included in the plan.
A request for a screening opinion from SHDC for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) has been submitted. This is to ensure our plan has no unacceptable impacts on the environment (regulation 15). SHDC have advised that a full report will be needed as any proposed development in an AONB needs a Landscape Appraisal.
Discussions took place in respect of Cox’s Field being the only site available for housing development in the draft plan. This resulted in each group member being given a maximum of three minutes to present their views on the issue. This was followed by a vote from members present to resolve the issue of where housing development should be in the parish.
The decision to include Cox’s Field in the plan as the only suitable site available for housing development was subsequently approved. A site assessment is to be arranged to determine suitability, availability and achievability of the site for inclusion in the draft plan.
A grant funding and technical support application for a SEA has been submitted to DCLG through ‘Locality’ in June 2017. AECOM made contact to discuss SEA arrangements and advised the process would take 10 weeks minimum from the end of June.
Comments from SHDC in respect of the Draft Plan were reviewed and amendments to address these points include the following.
SG members reviewed the email comments received from the Land Agent for Strete Estate, in respect of potential housing development on land offered by Strete Estate, and agreed an appropriate response to each of the points raised.
Updated 17th June 2017 ...
What new housing is needed, what for, where should it be and what should it look like. Also, where housing should NOT go, and what it should NOT look like. Bring vacant or derelict buildings back into use.
Whether the local economy would benefit from limited commercial development that would allow local people the opportunity to start up their own businesses and generate employment opportunities. If so, where could units go?
With a growing village population – and more housing – are there existing or foreseeable communication and access problems, and what could be done to alleviate them? Consider the need for additional car parking.
Protect existing public spaces and recreation facilities, and earmark sites for new ones. Enhance those that already exist.
Plan for the provision of school, health, recreation and other facilities. Preserve and enhance the character of the locality. Ensure that new development is compatible with the built and natural environment. Ensure that the needs of the outlying areas of the parish are considered and taken into account.
Once the Plan is in place, give planning permission for things the community wants to see happen.