The Watton-at-Stone Neighbourhood Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a set of community-led planning policies about development, regeneration and conservation in a specified area, which forms part of the formal planning policy for the area concerned. Once adopted, our plan will sit alongside the East Herts District Plan. as part of the East Herts District Council’s planning policy up to 2033, including specifying how much new housing is expected to build in which areas. Most importantly, our neighbourhood plan is being design by you, for your parish.
Which area does the Neighbourhood Plan cover?
The Parish of Watton at Stone.
Who is doing the Neighbourhood Plan?
The Plan is sponsored by Watton-at-Stone Parish Council, which has set up a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to draw up the Plan following community consultation. The Steering Group is made up of volunteers from the parish.
Will there be more houses built in Watton-at-Stone?
As part of the East Herts District Plan, Watton-at-Stone has been asked to provide at least 90 new homes. The Neighbourhood Plan will give us a much greater say in any development in the parish. It will allow us to influence where new development is located and what it might look like. It will aim to shape development proposals from the outset, rather than having to wait to respond to planning applications which are already some way down the line. It will make sure that local needs and preferences are clearly stated and taken into account regarding future development in our parish.
Is a Neighbourhood Plan only about housing development?
While the Neighbourhood Plan is our opportunity to shape new housing development in our parish, it will also contain a vision, objectives, planning policies and proposals for improving the area and providing new facilities. As well as identifying sites for development, it will also include a design code which will specify the form that any new development can take.
How can I make my views heard?
The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will be asking Watton-at-Stone parishioners to review the plan and make comments in January 2022. Every household will receive a summary brochure which will give an overview of the Plan and a form to fill in with comments. You will also be able to respond to the consultation here: Summary Brochure and online Response Form.
What if I have a question about the Neighbourhood Plan?
If you have any questions about the Neighbourhood Plan, please attend a virtual Q&A on 6 February 2022, from 3-5 pm. To attend go to bit.ly/3mPZ5UC. If COVID restrictions allow there will also be an in-person Q&A at the Nigel Poulton Community Hall at the same time. Please check here before travelling as if the live event has to be cancelled, notification will be posted here.
When will the Neighbourhood Plan be adopted?
The next consultation will begin in January 2022 and run for 6 weeks. Once the consultation ends, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will carefully review the comments and make any amendments that are needed. The Parish Council will then submit the Plan to East Herts District Council who will run a 6 week consultation and ask a Planning Inspector to assess the Neighbourhood Plan. Assuming it passes the assessment, East Herts District Council will hold a referendum where Watton-at-Stone parishioners will be able to vote on whether to adopt the Plan. It is anticipated that this will take place towards the end of 2022. If the majority of those who vote are in favour the plan will be formally adopted by EHDC at that point and it will remain in force until 2033.