We are disappointed to have to report that the examination of Corsham’s Neighbourhood Plan has been delayed for a number of weeks.
The delay is to do with the Habitats Regulation Assessment Screening Report. Wiltshire Council’s report concluded that a separate HRA would not be necessary for the Corsham Neighbourhood Plan. However, a recent legal case elsewhere in the country has meant that many Neighbourhood Plan examinations have been held up whilst government guidance is awaited. The guidance was expected several weeks ago but has not materialised. A number of other Planning Authorities are commissioning their own legal advice rather than wait any longer for the official government guidance. Wiltshire Council has now agreed to follow this route by getting their own legal opinion.
Our Link Officer, Carolyn Gibson, has been speaking to the legal team at Wiltshire Council to seek advice on the way forward with the Corsham Neighbourhood Plan. We should know more in another week or so. If the advice is that the HRA Screening needs further clarification or changes, it would mean another five-week consultation with Natural England.
Obviously, we need to be certain that the Neighbourhood Plan is robust so that it is not open to challenge if and when we proceed to referendum. We are keeping a close eye on the situation to ensure the process is not unduly delayed.
Councillor Steve Abbott, Chairman of the Town Council and Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group commented “We are frustrated at this unexpected delay but hope that timely legal advice will mean that the examination can proceed as soon as possible. We are hopeful that a referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan will go ahead early next year.”
Councillor Steve Abbott, Chairman of Corsham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
‘Our Neighbourhood Plan is reaching the crucial final stages before adoption by Wiltshire Council. The remaining stages in the process are:
This is an important opportunity for our community to shape and influence development and redevelopment that will take place in the Corsham area over the next few years, ensuring that it is appropriate to our needs and aspirations.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan for Corsham is currently being independently examined to determine whether the Plan meets the basic conditions and other legal requirements. Below is correspondance received from the examiner:
The second six-week consultation on the draft Corsham Neighbourhood Plan closed on 25 May 2018.
Comments made during the consultation are available via http://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/portal
The submission versions of the Draft Corsham Neighbourhood Plan are also available below: