The Neighbourhood Plan
The Titchfield Neighbourhood Forum has prepared a Neighbourhood Plan for Titchfield.
The Plan sets out their vision for the future of Titchfield and contains planning policies to guide the development and use of land in Titchfield.
Following a consultation carried out by Fareham Council on behalf of the Titchfield Neighbourhood Forum, the plan was submitted for independent examination earlier this year.
The Council has received the report on the examination of the Titchfield Neighbourhood Plan.
The examiner has confirmed that, subject to a number of modifications, the Plan should progress to the next and final stage which is a public referendum.
Click here to read the Examiners Report : https://www.fareham.gov.uk/PDF/planning/TitchfieldNDPReport.pdf
A referendum will be held on Thursday18 July 2019 to decide if the plan should be adopted
What you need to know before voting
Why you should vote ‘yes’
There is, understandably, some anxiety about the figure of 153 houses in the Neighbourhood Plan as a "housing need" for Titchfield.
Let me explain how it came about.
There is a legal requirement for the Forum to state a number for "housing need". The government funded consultancy AECOM helps Neighbourhood Plans by calculating this need. It is an imprecise science, calculated from a number of factors including birth rate, death rate, the number of people who have expressed a wish to live in Titchfield, and mitigating factors. AECOM's first estimate was for 262 houses. The Forum pointed out another factor and AECOM reduced it to 153. So you can see how tentative it is.
There is no plan to build 153 houses in Titchfield. It is an expression of the need. Not all needs are satisfied.
In fact, Fareham Borough Council has said that the housing needs of Titchfield will be more than satisfied by the Hambrook development just outside the Plan area.. And the Neighbourhood Plan specifies that the green areas we cherish - Barry's Meadow, the play area at Bellfield, the allotments, the Village Green etc. should not be used for building.
It would be naive to imagine that the Forum could have ignored the AECOM figure. Had it done so Fareham Borough Council would have disallowed the Neighbourhood Plan. There would be no Neighbourhood Plan.
The immense advantage of adopting the Neighbourhood Plan is that it will have legal status. Any government inspector is obliged by law to take notice of the Plan.
No other organisation in the village has such legal muscle. If the Plan is rejected any inspector can ride roughshod over the wishes of the village and the local authority. No amount of posturing will have an effect.
Only the Neighbourhood Plan can protect Titchfield.
Titchfield Neighbourhood Forum
why you should vote ‘No’
If you vote yes in this referendum will be saying yes to the building of 153 houses within the Neighbourhood Plan area. We urge you to vote NO.
The examiners report regarding housing says:
‘The Draft Titchfield Neighbourhood Plan, relying on a report from AECOM, refers to a requirement of 153 dwellings’….’The draft TNP should therefore retain this figure’
He goes on :‘This is not a case where I could properly devise a criteria-based policy for new housing sites.’ What he means by this is windfall development and building on greenfield sites will not allow for 153 houses.
This is a catch 22 situation. You have to build 153 houses but you have nowhere to put them.
He gets out of this by saying : ‘I have therefore concluded that housing provision should be determined on the basis of national and district policy’
At the moment district policy (Fareham Borough Council’s Draft Policy) says NO building within the neighbourhood plan area.
However recent changes to National Policy say an additional 2,000 houses are required on top of those already allocated to Fareham.
Saying yes to this referendum would open the back door to developers identifying sites within Titchfield.
Please do not think that the addition of all the ‘aspirations’ in the plan will happen - they are just that, aspirations.
The Titchfield Village Trust say vote NO to this plan.
Abstaining is not an option it will be the equivalent of saying yes.
A simple 51% majority saying yes, even if only 3 people vote, will mean the plan is accepted.
Please make sure you vote.
Chairman, Titchfield Village Trust
Read more on the debate
Some further thoughts on the Titchfield Neighbourhood Plan from Ann Wheal Chair of Titchfield Neighbourhood Forum
FBC Press Release states: ‘Residents will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question: ‘Do you want Fareham Borough Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Titchfield to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’
If more than 50 per cent vote ‘yes’, then Fareham Borough Council will ‘make’ the Titchfield Neighbourhood Plan. This means the plan will help determine planning applications in the Titchfield Neighbourhood Area and it will also form part of the statutory development plan for Fareham.’
Independent External Examination - The examiner, Mr Timothy Jones, Barrister FCIArb, a member of the Planning Bar, considered all the documentation submitted and also visited the area twice to gain a full impression of Titchfield. He examined the Consultation Statement to the written Plan to ensure that all the Basic Conditions were met. He writes in his summary “I commend the Draft TNP for being in an easy -to- read style”. He was satisfied with the Consultation Statement and says “I am impressed by the Consultation Statement, which shows more extensive consultation than is often the case.”
In housing matters, Barrister Jones states that the report on housing numbers has been produced by reputable consultants and is specific to Titchfield. He sees the need for affordable housing but does not think this will be met totally by windfall sites. He agrees with the Plan that no development should take place on greenfield sites and concludes “that housing provision should be determined by national and district policy” Timothy Jones also say:
“I recommend that the modified NDP proceed to a referendum, the referendum area being the area of the Draft TNP.”
The Posbrook Lane Appeal - as the Neighbourhood Plan had been submitted to FBC at the time of the Appeal, then 80% of the Plan influenced the process. That is why David Phelan, our Forum representative, played such an integral and important part in the Appeal process and successful outcome. If it had been approved then 100% of the plan wold have influenced the process.
Community Aspirations - The Neighbourhood Plan, in addition to legally binding policies, contains Community Aspirations. These are suggestions within the Plan area that residents have identified for change. Providing the Plan is approved, a group within each area will work hard to ensure these aspirations are achieved. The groups are housing/planning, traffic/parking, historic Titchfield, the building and natural environment, the economy and business.
Paul Robinson - “Without the safety net, that an endorsed Neighbourhood Plan offers, being in place, future changes that FBC might need to visit upon us will be very much harder to rebut.
I absolutely recognise that housing is one of the issues closest to our hearts, but the NP addresses a host of other initiatives. If unsighted on the Plan, I would encourage a quick read to get a feel for the span of policies that set criteria that the Council would be obliged to recognise should the Plan be endorsed.
That a massive amount of hard work has been put into development of the NP is no argument to vote for its endorsement at the referendum. But it is worth noting that to vote against it would deprive us all of a degree of legislative protection against future Council initiatives, some of which could be extremely unpalatable, unwelcome and ultimately impossible to adjust regardless of the degree of lobbying on our part.”
The Views of the Titchfield Village Trust
Some of what the Neighbourhood Forum is saying doesn’t quite paint the whole picture. The Forum say:
‘Barrister Jones states that the report on housing numbers has been produced by reputable consultants and is specific to Titchfield.’
AECOM (the consultants) may be reputable, however, they do use the same phrases in reports they compile for other Neighbourhood Plans but just change the number of houses required depending on the size of the plans area, so not that specific. They are also the company that advised the BBC on the building of the ‘Eastenders’ set but underestimated costs by 75% (£27 million)
The inspector and the plan also say :
“That housing provision should be determined by national and district policy”
Which means 153 houses being built because that is a central part of the plan.
He also says he sees the need for affordable housing but does not think this will be met totally by windfall sites.
The 400 houses planned between the Segensworth Roundabout and Hambrook’s garden centre along the A27 and on the edge of the village should contain 40% affordable homes according to the Draft Local Plan.
The Forum say :
“Without the safety net, that an endorsed Neighbourhood Plan offers, being in place, future changes that FBC might need to visit upon us will be very much harder to rebut.”
The Draft Local Plan from FBC, which takes us to 2036 says of the Meon Gap, which includes the Neighbourhood Plan area
“This is an extensive area of highly valued landscape in the Borough which benefits from a number of environmental protections. The merits of this landscape have been recognised by recent appeal decisions at Old Street in Hill Head and land east of Posbrook Lane in Titchfield. These decisions endorsed the Council's view that the Meon Valley is an important landscape and that the proposed new housing would have had a negative impact.
This area is designated as a strategic gap. Going forward, the Council could also consider designating this area as a highly valued landscape.
The Council will also be working with PUSH (Partnership for Urban South Hampshire) to consider the potential for greenbelt land across local authority areas, and there could be scope for this area to become part of a South Hampshire greenbelt.”
There are already landowners within the gap indicating they are willing to sell land for development! FBC are stating this would have a negative impact and will do their utmost to protect it. The Forum are saying :
“it is worth noting that to vote against it would deprive us all of a degree of legislative protection against future Council initiatives, some of which could be extremely unpalatable, unwelcome and ultimately impossible to adjust regardless of the degree of lobbying on our part.”
We do not think being designated a highly valued landscape or becoming part of the green belt would be unpalatable or unwelcome, however, what we do find unpalatable are the 153 houses required by the Plan; the Forum are right you would have no say about when or where they would be built.
As for the Community Aspirations, they are things we all aspire to but they are just that, aspirations. Writing them down does not mean they will happen. Voting Yes, however, does mean 153 houses within the plan area will happen.
Vote NO to The neighbourhood Plan and 153 houses.
PROMOTED BY TITCHFIELD VILLAGE TRUST: THE PARISH ROOM
Titchfield Parish Room, High Street, Titchfield, PO14 4AQ