What is the difference between Parish Plans, Village Design Statements and Neighbourhood Plans?

A Parish Plan provides information about a variety of needs concerning well being and social activity of the local population, which incorporates all aspects of life and can include the physical needs of an area.

A Village Design Statement (VDS) only focuses on the physical (spatial) aspects of the community e.g. housing, hedges, lighting, signage. It sets out guidelines on the character of the area and ensures that future changes are in keeping. A VDS can be adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance and will then be used as evidence when consideration is given to future planning applications in the area.

A Neighbourhood Plan allocates land for development. It is intended to set out where new houses, businesses, shops and community facilities should go in the local area and will allocate smaller sites for development. It may also include more detailed planning policies, for example to define how new development should look. Neighbourhood Plans were brought into being under the Localism Act which came in to force in November 2011.

How much power will community plans have?

There is no formal power that a community plan has to influence decision-making. However, the Localism Act sets out an expectation that the views and opinions of local people will have greater influence over the delivery of services in their area. At the local level, the Winchester Community Planning Protocol makes a commitment that all service providers are expected to consider the findings and recommendations contained within a community plan and respond to the community with regard to the likely timescale for them being implemented or the reasons why no action will be taken.

There can be a lot of confusion over cross-border matters, where issues affect communities across borders between Winchester and other neighbouring disctricts. How do we ensure that our concerns are heard by all of the appropriate people?

The Community Planning Protocol (see link in previous question) makes a commitment for Winchester City Council to liaise with neighbouring local authorities, ensuring that our neighbour organisations hear the local concerns and that solutions to the concerns identified are developed in a joined-up manner. It is also important that communities consider the impact of their own recommendations on neighbouring communities when developing a plan.

I have heard about community 'clusters', where parishes group together to make a community plan. What about the differences that exist across parishes and how do we deal with the conflicts which arise if we're meant to be working in these groupings?

Grouping together with neighbouring parishes is a good idea, especially if you live in a small community and need more support to develop a community plan. By working together people can identify common priorities upon which they can agree and speak with greater numbers, which can have a bigger impact on policy development and service provision. If there are occasions when parishes disagree on priorities, then the plan can relect the different issues that affect each community and highlight the issues of greatest concern to each.

My parish has identified a number of specific issues through our consultation. How do we get these addressed?

We can put you in touch with the right organisastions and specialist people to help deal with the issues.