Council gives green light to Northamptonshire village development plan at first annual meeting

A neighbourhood plan will now be implemented giving the community an opportunity to prepare positive planning documents recognising important local assets

A council has agreed to adopt a development plan which will help shape the growth and protect the assets of a village near Northampton.

West Northamptonshire Council agreed to ‘make’ the Ashton Neighbourhood Development Plan 2019-2029 at its first annual meeting on Thursday (May 20).

The meeting was held at Northampton Saints’ Franklin’s Gardens where members agreed to adopt the plan so that it has effect as part of the statutory development plan for the area.

referendum, held on May 6, asked villagers taking part the question: “Do you want West Northamptonshire Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Ashton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

There were 117 votes in favour with just five against.

A report to the council recommended it noted the result of the referedum and makes the Ashton Neighbourhood Plan.

Councillor Rebecca Breese introduced the report to members and moved the proposal.

She said: “In 2015, Ashton village, a community of circa 153 dwellings and 400 residents, decided to take advantage of the powers vested in communites in the Localism Act of 2011 and developed a neighbourhood plan.

“Six years later, on 6 of May this year, it went to referendum at the elections and 95.7 percent of those who voted approved of the plan.

“So for new councillors, and indeed as a reminder to existing councillors, neighbourhood plans give communities an opportunity to prepare a positive planning document recognising important local assets, employment sites and identifying where they would like new dwellings to be developed.

“Once adopted, these plans have material plan impact and so can take their place in the planning hierarchy and will be referred to in any planning application that comes before the next parish area.

“Over the next few years, council will see neighbourhood plans coming before us fairly regularly I think for adoption and I would encourage all councillors to look at the parish plans because they’re an interesting snapshot and history of our communities throughout the west.

“And they are not just rural villages, they can also be adopted by our towns and other parishes.

“So, chair, I would like to propose the council enables the making, as it’s called, of this parish plan.”

Seconding the recommendation, Councillor Stephen Clarke said: “The plan-making process has been followed and the council must now publish its decision statement before notifying Ashton Parish Council of the outcome.

“Once brought into force, the policies of the plan take precendent over non-strategic policies in our local plan covering the Ashton neighbourhood area up to 2029.

“Ashton lies between two of the national character areas identified by Natural England, the Northamptonshire Vales and Yardley Whittlewood Ridge.

“I therefore second the recommendation to formerly make the Ashton Neighbourhood Plan which was considered in the referendum.”