Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the likely cost of our plan?
It is not known at this stage. Some Neighbourhood plans have cost in excess of £100,000 whilst others less than £20,000. Ottershaw Ward is mostly residential, as such we estimate that the cost of producing our plan will be less than £25k. The budget will be made up primarily of expert advice, advertising, marketing, meeting venue costs, travel & admin. To keep costs down we are utilising an established communication network across most of the ward using social media, various societies and other local organisations.
Q2. Are the Forum members expected to contribute financially?
No, there is no membership charge and members will only be asked to give of some of their time. Our funding will be provided ideally completely through grant awards which could amount to a maximum of £28k. In the unlikely situation of a shortfall the Forum will need to consider other ways of attracting further funding, either through sponsorship from local business, donations or fundraising.
Q3. Who is membership of our Forum open to?
Our Neighbourhood Forum welcomes the involvement of all people age 18 or over who live, work or own business premises within the Ottershaw Neighbourhood Area.
Q4. Does our Forum have to fund raise?
Unlikely but we do not know for certain yet. If required this will be managed via the Forum Steering Committee.
Q5. What is the likely time commitment if I join our Forum?
The activities of the Forum will vary over time but as a rule will involve quarterly meetings with certain working groups being formed for short periods on the direction of the Steering Committee to address specific tasks. Forum members will always be requested but not obliged to participate.
Q6. What is the organisational construct of our Forum?
Forum members will elect a Steering Committee:
Steering Committee: This will manage the operation, functions, membership and orchestrate our Plan’s development through to its completion. It will consist of approx.. 10 members who will be nominated/elected.
Forum Members: Open to all persons of age 18 or over living, working or with business interests in the Ottershaw Neighbourhood Area. The Forum will provide the essential core membership to drive and shape the vision and content of our plan. There is no limit on the number of members in our Forum, in fact we are stronger the more we are.
Q7. Does our Forum have some sort of insurance/indemnity cover?
The Forum is currently operating as an unincorporated body rather than a limited company. A body of this kind has its financial risk managed by its local council and other risk areas supervised by them. With this construct it is not considered necessary to have insurance/indemnity cover.
Q8. What resources are available to the Forum?
The Forum will have access to the Local Council for Planning, Financial management and technical/policy assistance. The Planning Department at Runnymede has dedicated staff that are available to assist in Neighbourhood Planning who will readily provide help and guidance. From a financial perspective there are funds available to the Neighbourhood Forum. These funds can be used in a variety of ways as we move forward with our plan. For example: employment of consultants to help with the construction of the neighbourhood plan, expert advice on housing & development and the production of Forum publications. This expert support will be drawn upon through the Locality/Groundwork organisations which our Forum has already partnered with.
Q9. Will our Neighbourhood Plan provide a level of detail beneath the Runnymede Local Plan?
Yes, it will. Whilst the Local Plan covers the whole of the Runnymede Borough our Neighbourhood Plan will focus specifically on the needs of our Area. Our Plan must complement the Local Plan. The critical aspect of a neighbourhood plan is that it is community rather than government led.
Q10. How do we ensure our Plan is representative of the people of our Area?
Through the active participation of our Areas residents’ and business owners. Our neighbourhood forum will talk to a wide variety of people locally – residents, businesses, landowners, community groups, schools – to discover what’s important to them about where they live, what they’d like to improve and what their vision is for our local area. Building upon this our Neighbourhood Plan will contain planning policies that will make our community’s vision a reality.
Q11. Will our Neighbourhood Plan enable or shape development?
Yes, it will. However, initially it is more likely that the community will be interested in creating our vision for the future. This might include new schools, health centres, the relocation of businesses, the retention of a specified “village feel” and the protection of our green belt. Our Forum can have a say in the scope and design of residential development over and above that identified in the Local Plan
Q12. Will the Ottershaw Neighbourhood Area as currently defined and proposed change?
It is unlikely. Our Area has already been defined focussing on our village and environs through early work within our Forum construct and has already been provisionally approved by the council planning department. The process of designation will include a public consultation period where people can have their say. In the unlikely event that there is a large amount of criticism of the chosen area this will require revision and resubmission.
Q13. Have RBC a preference regarding our Neighbourhood Area?
No, RBC do not have a preference regarding our Neighbourhood Area. They have been involved in the early definition process and have provided insight regarding our arguments for inclusion and exclusion of specific areas.
Q14. Are Neighbourhood Areas predefined?
No, they are not. The Area is a logical contiguous area within which we can maintain our focus on keeping a "Village feel". Our area must not overlap with any surrounding Neighbourhood Areas.
Q15. How do we go about ensuring that the make-up of our Neighbourhood Forum represents the Neighbourhood Area?
We are already mounting a Neighbourhood wide publicity campaign which is aimed at informing everyone in the Area of our Forum and we are anticipating the membership resultant from this being drawn from a diverse mix of householders, businesses and communities across the area. It is only if following this, representation is not considered sufficient that any reconsideration of Area would be entertained.
Q16. Does our Constitution need RBC approval?
Yes, it does. Our Constitution is a key part of the Neighbourhood Area and a Neighbourhood Forum designation application which is submitted to Runnymede Borough Council for approval.
Q17. What time period should our Neighbourhood Plan cover?
There is not any specified period and it has not yet been defined. It would probably be sensible to cover a minimum future vision of 15 years. However, an effective Neighbourhood Plan will need to be informed by and inform the current and anticipated future Local Plans. The current Runnymede 2030 Local Plan (adopted in July 2020) only looks out to 2030. This time horizon is considered far too short. As a result, the next iteration will begin looking out another 5-10 years. Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans are reviewed every five years. It would therefore seem sensible to align the time period covered by our Neighbourhood Plan with the next iteration of the Local Plan. Our Forum will decide upon this early in its lifecycle.
Q18. How long will our Forum last?
As a minimum our forum will last the duration of our plan's development through to ratification/referendum. A forum may choose to extend its life beyond this if the scope of its remit remains or expands. There is no obligation for forum members to remain throughout the life of the forum. A Forum must be re-established every 5 years.
Q19. Are there examples of ways in which other local communities have been successful in influencing planning through their Neighbourhood Plan?
The Neighbourhood Planning process has been in effect for several years and there are several local areas who have either developed Plans or are in the process of doing so. West Byfleet, Thorpe, Virginia Water, Hook Heath are examples of this people led process. Where established these Plans have already proved to be instrumental in shaping the development within these areas.
Q20. What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a document that includes policies which MUST be given serious weight when a planning application is submitted for approval. A Neighbourhood Plan has the same standing as a Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework and cannot be ignored. Planning officers and Planning committees are obliged to test submitted planning applications against the policies contained in these documents.
Q21. What constitutes ‘Wide community consultation’?
Our Neighbourhood Forum will consider and manage this. However, we already have a wide communication network which includes social media, business networks and informal and formal non-profit organisations with communication networks. Using these networks to best effect will ensure a wide coverage within the community. Additionally, a physical publicity campaign is proposed to leaflet every household and provide a presence within the village and other local establishments.
Q22. How can RBC be involved ‘at a distance’?
Initially RBC will be required to approve our application for designation of our Neighbourhood Area and Neighbourhood Forum. Whilst there is no wish for them to interfere with our deliberations, they will want to know how we arrived at our conclusions. Mostly they want to know any outcome is fair and representative. As we go through our Plan’s development process, it will be available for consultation and advice and will be responsible for managing and approving at certain milestones. We will make use of their expertise as and when required.
Q23. Will our local MP be involved?
It is not a requirement. However, our Forum may wish to consider this. If the Local MP (or any other MP for that matter) qualifies to sit on our Neighbourhood Forum, then they are welcome to volunteer or decline to volunteer like any other qualifying person.