The report of the Executive Manager – Communities is attached.
The Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Upton presented the report of the Executive Manager – Communities outlining the Gotham Neighbourhood Plan and seeking approval of the Plan to form part of the Council’s Development Plan, subject to a positive referendum result.
Councillor Upton confirmed that three Neighbourhood Plans had already been approved, and this would be the fourth. The Plan had been produced by Gotham Parish Council in conjunction with the local community and conformed to the Borough Council’s strategic policies. The Plan had been assessed by the Council and an independent Examiner and through a consultation process with both stakeholders and the public. The Examiner had reported to the Council that, subject to the modifications proposed in his report, the Plan should proceed to referendum. The Council had produced a Decision Statement that included all the proposed modifications suggested by the Examiner and the Council had agreed that those should be made to meet the basic conditions. During the examination, there had been extensive debate regarding the identification of areas of land as local, green spaces and the Examiner had concluded that one of those should be removed and the other retained. Whilst the Council had raised its concerns regarding the designation of both of those areas of local, green space, and could under the Town and Country Planning Act have removed the second area of local, green space, the Examiner considered that the retained local, green space was compliant with national planning policy and guidance. Consequently, its removal by the Council would be hard to justify and its removal would also have necessitated further consultation, and given the implications of its removal, the modification would require further independent examination. Following consideration of those issues, it was recommended that the Plan should proceed to a referendum, no later than Monday, 9 December 2019 as required under the Neighbourhood Planning Referendum Regulations.
The report was moved by Councillor Upton and seconded by Councillor Rex Walker.
Councillor Gray welcomed the report and acknowledged the hard work of all those involved in producing the Plan.
Councillor Howitt welcomed the report and acknowledged the importance of Neighbourhood Plans to local communities.
Councillor Thomas confirmed that although the Independent Group had previously raised some issues regarding the Plan that had been taken through representations the Independent Group was now in support of its adoption.
Councillor Rex Walker, in inviting all Councillors to support the Plan referred to the hard work and dedication of all those involved in producing the Plan. Members of the Gotham Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Committee and Councillor John Anderson were thanked in particular for their involvement.
It was RESOLVED that
a) Council approves the Decision Statement on the Gotham Neighbourhood Plan for publication.
b) Council approves the holding of a referendum for the Gotham Neighbourhood Plan, with the area of the referendum being the Parish of Gotham.
c) Subject to a majority vote from the referendum, the Council ‘makes’ (adopts) the Neighbourhood Plan and authority be delegated to the Executive Manager – Communities to issue a statement setting out this decision as soon as possible following the referendum.