Twyford St. Mary's Church seen from Berry Meadow in spring, summer, autumn and winter*
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood planning is a legal right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans. Neighbourhood Development Plans become part of the Local Plan and the policies contained within them are then used in the determination of planning applications.
The whole Parish of Twyford lies within the Boundary of the South Downs National Park (SDNP). This gives us the highest level of protection available, in planning terms, and any new development will be largely limited to local needs and facilities for visitors.
How does it work?
The Twyford Parish Council is leading on neighbourhood planning in our area.
The approval and adoption process involves publication of draft proposals and consideration of comments before submitting the plan for approval to the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and then for independent examination of the plan. A community referendum is held at the end of the process.
The referendum is an important part of the process allowing those that live in the neighbourhood area to decide whether or not the Neighbourhood Development Plan comes into effect or not. This is direct democracy and outlines the importance of working with the wider community and securing their support at an early stage in the process.
The Twyford Neighbourhood Development Plan (TNP) will set the policies for Twyford for the next 14 years and will determine how planning applications are decided. The TNP will address the needs of the village as a whole, representing all sections of the community.
Regular consultation with the community is of the essence in neighbourhood planning.
The Starting Point for the Neighbourhood Plan
The Twyford neighbourhood plan cannot operate in a vacuum; it has to work within the guidelines (click below to view) set by a number of higher authorities, in particular its status as designated National Park . These are:
Of particular importance, the Twyord Neighbourhood Plan needs to be in conformity with the strategic policies contained in the South Downs Local Plan (SDLP) and the focus of the Plan has to be on guiding development rather than stopping it.
Satelite view of Twyford. Click for larger map.
South Downs National Park – Twyford is on the western border. Click for larger map.
Twyford Neighbourhood Plan Area
Twyford Neighbourhood Plan - Plan Preparation Process
The Neighbourhood Plan is all about your parish, its countryside, the village, its housing, community facilities, parking, business use, the school, our important landscape and more. It is a plan for the whole of Twyford Parish. The Plan looks forward for the next 12 years; it has to make provision for the community to adapt in that time. Policies include protection of our precious assets and policies for development, site plan for the new houses and resolving flooding and drainage issues. The Plan is guided by the higher level plan of the South Downs Local Plan (SDLP) which was adopted in July 2019.
The 1st Draft Plan was published in 2016 and you had the opportunity to comment on it. Your comments were listened to and the Plan revised. A summary of the changes made can be seen HERE. Significant further amendments were also made to specify a single site for housing allocation, bring the Plan into conformity with the South Downs Local Plan (SDLP) and respond to a Sustainability Appraisal of the Plan (SA) and a Habitat Regulations Assessment (SRA) undertaken in September 2019. As a result, most of the policies were modified,and where appropriate referenced back to SDLP policies in order to avoid duplication New policies covering Orchard Close, Water Environment, Historic Rural Roads, Pollution Controls and Stacey's Garage were also added. These were all incorporated into a Pre-Submisssion Draft Plan.
Public Consultation on Pre-Submission Draft Plan
Public consultation on the Pre-Submission Draft Plan was undertaken between 6th January and 24th February 2020. A full exhibition of the Plan and supporting documents was held at the Twyford Social Club on 23rd January and 1st February with Parish Council representatives being present to provide advice. For those unable to attend the exhibition, the Draft Plan and a downloadable comments form were provided on the website. 140 people visited the exhibition and over 480 separate individuals viewed the Plan and supporting documentation via the website.
47 individuals and organisations provided extensive comments to the Plan and Twyford Parish Council (TPC) in turn prepared detailed responses to each and every comment. The comments and the TPC responses (amounting to over 100 pages) can be viewed on the "Your Views" page of this website.
As a result of the comments made during public consultation, a significant number of changes were made to the Plan and an updated Submission Plan produced (see HERE). To see the text changes from the Pre-Submission Draft Plan click HERE (The changes are highlighted in blue). The changes are also identified by bracketed numbers which are explained in an accompanying Schedule of Changes which can be viewed HERE.
Eight Explanatory Notes explain some of the thinking behind the development of the text and policies. These Notes which cover aspects such as Plan format, house sizes and affordable housing criteria are shown in the Related Links at the bottom of this page.
Submission of Plan to SDNPA and SDNPA Public Consultation
In December 2020, the Submission TNP (see HERE) was formally submitted to South Downs National Park Authority together with a Consultation Statement (see HERE) and a Basic Conditions Statement (see HERE). The Sustainability Appraisal (shown below) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (shown on the "Environment" page) were also updated to take account of the recent changes to the Plan.
As part of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations, SDNPA then published the Submission TNP together with the Statements referred to above and invited the public to comment. This public consultation took place between January 28th and March 25th 2021.
Bacground documents, comments and responses received during this consultation period, which ran from January 28th to March 25th 2021 can be viewed on the SDNPA website (see HERE),
Examination of the Plan and Report by an Independent Examiner
In April 2021, an Independent Examiner, Mr Andrew Ashcroft, was appointed by SDNPA to review the Submission Plan and to say whether further changes were required. As part of this, the Independent Examiner considered the evidence and comments made on the Plan by SDNPA, TPC and others.
He was required to judge the plan against Government and other planning guidelines. His report published in August 2021 (see HERE) found that the Plan passed that test and could, subject to several modifications, be adopted. The Examiner visited the Parish and in his report comments in depth on the Plan development process as well as each of the policies. Where he has recommended changes, the details and reason for them are very carefully explained. His report can also be viewed at the SDNPA website, the link to which is shown at the top of each page of this website.
He recommended a number of changes. While most of these were for clarity and to make the plan more effective, he deleted some policies where he thought the Parish Council was being too prescriptive or was repeating a policy in the South Downs Plan. He also moved some policies which are “Community Actions“ into a separate section; these include, for instance, the Parish Council’s aspirations for traffic management and the provision of extra car parking spaces by extending the current car park.
Twyford Neighbourhood Plan - Referendum Plan
Referendum Plan and Referendum on 13th January 2022
The South Downs National Park and Twyford Parish Council both accepted the Examiner’s Report and the changes he proposed, and these were all incorporated into the Referendum Plan (click adjacent icon). This together together with the Independent Examiner's Report and other supporting documentation formed the basis of the Referendum.
The Referendum was organised by Winchester City Council (see HERE for details) and was held on Thursday 13 January 2022 to decide on the question below:
“Do you want the South Downs National Park Authority to use the Neighbourhood Development Plan for the Parish of Twyford to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”
The Result: Yes: 349 (83%); No: 70 (17%); Spoilt Papers: 0; Turnout: 33%
The vote has confirmed community support for the Twyford Neighbourhood Development Plan. The Plan will now be formally 'made' by the South Downs National Park Authority and will be used by them in deciding future planning applications in Twyford.
Sustainability Appraisal (SA)
A Sustainability Appraisal (SA), which included a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), was undertaken of the Pre-Submission Draft of the Twyford Neighbourhood Plan and this has now been updated to match the Submission Plan
The main purpose of undertaking this was to ensure that, as far as possible, the most sustainable options were chosen for the policies and allocated site in the Neighbourhood Plan. The SA process appraised the policies and allocated site as well as reasonable alternatives against a Sustainability Appraisal Framework. This sought to identify any potential significant negative effects of the Plan. Where negative effects were identified mitigation measures were suggested to reduce or negate the negative effects. The appraisal process also identified potential positive effects and, where possible, suggested ways of enhancing these. The SA also included a set of indicators which would form the monitoring regime for the Plan. These can be used to monitor any significant negative and positive effects of the Plan. This will ensure that if negative impacts occur, action can be taken to reduce them. Monitoring the effects of the Plan will also help to inform the development of future neighbourhood plans.
The updated Sustainability Appraisal can be viewed by clicking on the adjacent icon. Its Appendix 3 (Appraisal of policies against sustainability objectives) can be viewed HERE.
Sustainability Appraisal (updated)