Neighbourhood Planning for Ottershaw – A New Approach in 2021
When the Ottershaw Neighbourhood Forum was formally established in the autumn of 2020 our approach was to deliver a neighbourhood plan during 2023 which complied with the Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) current 2030 Local Plan (LP) whilst including relevant aspects in support of the RBC 2040 emerging local plan currently in development.
Following extensive discussions and research with the local council and our consultants it is now clear that this approach is not viable and would not pass official examination. A changed approach was therefore required and has been developed. The main elements of this are as follows:
The Forum will aim to develop and deliver 2 Neighbourhood Plans:
Plan 1 - Aimed to complete during autumn 2024.
This plan will be broadly aligned with the RBC current 2030 Local Plan and will aim to address key areas focussing on the development of detailed policies designed to protect the appearance and character of our village built and green areas and the surrounding neighbourhood area.
Plan 2 - Aimed to complete in 2026-27.
This plan will be aligned with the RBC emerging 2040 Local Plan and will aim to address the additional and change areas covered by the new RBC local plan in particular; housing needs; green infrastructure and sustainability whilst addressing all the areas of local social infrastructure (health/education/recreation/retail/hospitality) which we identify through community engagement as requiring improvement.
Plan 2 will include all still valid elements of Plan 1.
When and if approved, Plan 2 will completely supersede Plan1.
If successful, Plan 2 will realise the ONF community Vision for Ottershaw 2040.
Plan 2 will supersede Plan 1 but will bring forward all its relevant content.
Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plans 1 and 2 - Schedule
A high-level summary of our schedule for completing our Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plan 1 is shown below:
At this point there is no developed detail for Plan 2.
In order to make the process as open and transparent as possible and to ensure wide community involvement across Ottershaw, publicity and awareness-raising activities will be carried out throughout the process. This will include leafletting, social media, website, posters, members newsletters, local press, local events and direct engagement with local community groups organisations and businesses. Additionally, targeted surveys will help gather the wishes and views of our local Ottershaw population.
This is the preliminary work laying out the high-level content and structure for the development of our Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plan.
The process of creation of our Neighbourhood Plan, the content informed primarily by our community’s opinion. This phase will also require the input from several commissioned studies covering issues such as housing needs and development design.
Near the start of our process we will have to gather data which we can use to support our evidence base and provide a detailed view of our Ottershaw Neighbourhood Area. This will include information on things like population, environment, housing, employment, transport links and strategic context. As key themes for our neighbourhood plan emerge, more specific subject-based evidence may be compiled as a basis for formulating specific policies. Data collection will continue through the majority of the plan development process.
A number of residents surveys will be conducted across the whole community in our Neighbourhood Area in order to inform our plan. The outcomes from these surveys will directly control the scope and content of the plan.
This phase is critical to our plan and will identify and develop the policies which are at the right level of detail and reflect the requirements of our Ottershaw community. Our neighbourhood plan policies can interpret, add detail, clarify expectations or introduce new complementary policies to those already set out in the Runnymede Local Plan, whilst having regard to the overarching National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Formal Review & Examination
When we have completed drafting our Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plan there will be a phase of approximately 9 months where our plan will be subjected to informal and formal review and regulatory examination, consultation and revision.
Following revision and assuming no major issues arise our plan will progress to referendum.
At the end of this process the Runnymede Planning Authority will publish our plan for comment and vote by all Ottershaw Neighbourhood Area residents, organisations and businesses.
Our plan will only succeed if we achieve over 50% approval. Our target date for referendum for Plan 1 is September 2024.
Following a successful referendum our first Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plan will be brought into effect as official policy. The Ottershaw Forum will continue to exist to develop its second plan and will also act as a statutory authority to ensure our first plan is complied with.
The relationship between our Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plan and Runnymede Council’s Local Plan
Neighbourhood Plans are mainly concerned with planning policy and must be complementary to existing Local Plans. Runnymede’s Local Plans may also include projects to improve and develop particular aspects of our neighbourhood (eg. they include outline plans for housing development).
Whilst Local Plans lay out a vision of future development for a whole borough, in our case the whole of Runnymede, the needs of individual towns and villages such as ours within that area can vary and are not covered in detail. Neighbourhood plans such as ours are documents that detail further development priorities for individual communities. They are community-led and can be written by town or parish councils, or where there is no town or parish council by a specially-created neighbourhood forum, in this case the ONF.
When promulgated the Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plan will have to be formally recognised by RBC in all areas within the scope of the plan.
Taking part in the writing of the Ottershaw Neighbourhood Plan will ensure you have a say in the future appearance of our village and the use of land and buildings in our neighbourhood.
The Council’s current Local Plan 2030 and those aspects particular to Ottershaw can be viewed on the Runnymede Borough Council website.