Neighbourhood Planning: Westwood Update Special Edition

Westwood Parish Council has commissioned this Special Edition which is focussed solely on the very important topic of Neighbourhood Planning, the term used by central and local government to address the nation’s need for new housing and supporting services. In simple terms, there are central government targets for the provision of new housing, including the associated infrastructure and services, to meet the needs of a growing population, and each Local Authority must make their contribution to meeting those targets. Similarly, each Town and Parish Council will be expected to make a contribution to support their Local Authority. As there is a presumption that all Councils and Local Authorities will be positively supporting the needs of the nation, Westwood Parish will be expected to determine what types, how many and the locations of new housing in our area.  Special Edition Westwood Update

Plannning Applications

This will be a cause for considerable concern throughout our community, and we are already having to deal with planning applications for the building of new properties. However, Neighbourhood Planning is the formal process which has been defined to allow us, under the leadership of the Westwood Parish Council, with support from Wiltshire Council, to take ownership and control this key issue. It will enable us to determine the scope, scale and impacts of new housing developments within the parish boundaries.

Westwood Parish: Neighbourhood Planning Strategy

The planning strategy for the Westwood Parish is under development. The current version, which has been signed off by the Westwood Parish Council is located at  Neighbourhood Planning Strategy

Wiltshire Neighbourhood Planning Guide

Wiltshire County Council's Neighbourhood planning guide is located at planning guide

Neighbourhood planning reference material

Reference material

Neighbourhood Plan Update and Questionnaire

The creation of a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for the Parish was initiated by Westwood Parish Council which delegated the process of drafting a plan to the Parishioners of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (NPSG).

Westwood Parish Council (WPC) would like to thank the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (NPSG) and other members of the community that have contributed to the creation of the Neighbourhood Plan. It is an impressive document and, in excess of one hundred pages and containing some exciting ideas for the Parish - WPC would like to keep as much of this good work as possible and plans to publish a draft soon.

 It is clear that we all care deeply about the village and its future parishioners’ attendance at WPC meetings is testament to this.  In order that we reflect Parishioners’ wishes as accurately as possible and mindful that the most sensitive issues are normally (but not exclusively) planning-related; WPC seeks your response to the following questionnaire as a basis for inclusion of the relevant policies in our Neighbourhood plan: (Please return the paper copy of your questionnaire to the Parish Rooms by Friday March 29th 2019.)

The NP will last a decade we have the power to change it and WPC sees it as a strategic document that can protect and shape the Parish of Avoncliff, Iford and Westwood on an intergenerational timescale. On behalf of the community, Westwood Parish Council would like to thank the NPSG for their work and the draft document, a number of proposals have arisen from the process and it is these details we are now consulting upon. You may find some of them contentious and they may cause you to object to them / or agree with them strongly this is the point of the consultation!

WPC is mindful of the: ‘golden thread of sustainable development’ which is the high-level policy requirement upon planning authorities and the guiding principle that we look to it is also open to interpretation and permits, in certain circumstances, the NP to place restrictions upon planning within the Parish. How we choose to implement such a policy in our plan is therefore a question of judgment and balance protecting what makes the parish a unique and wonderful place to live, at the same time not ‘setting it in aspic’ unable to adapt to the modern world.

Why are we asking for your views on these issues  / What is neighbourhood planning?

The draft plan will not please everybody and we may not share the same appreciation of what is valuable in the community as our neighbour. Therefore, before we lose or, adapt an element of the village that others might appreciate; Westwood Parish Council wants your views on specific proposals that arose from the work of the NPSG. In the context of what a NP can do:-

 “Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.”


The Neighbourhood Plan sits within a hierarchy under the Local Plan[1] which, in turn, sits ultimately under the policies of the National Planning Policy Framework[2] “At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking.” The three dimensions to sustainable development are: economic, social and environmental.

This requires local planning authorities to positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area and they should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change, unless:

1.       any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole or

2.       specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted - For example, those policies relating to sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives (see paragraph 119) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Heritage Coast or within a National Park (or the Broads Authority); designated heritage assets; and locations at risk of flooding or coastal erosion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is brownfield site / land ?

Previously developed land has the same meaning as land of that description in Annex 2 of the National Planning Policy Framework. Previously developed land is referred to as brownfield land.[3]

What is Social and Affordable housing ?

Affordable housing is social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. From April 2012 affordable housing is defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (prior to this the definitions in Planning Policy Statement 3 apply).[4]

What is a Settlement Boundary ?





Article published: 31 Jan 2019

Neighbourhood Plan update

Copies of a consultation notice have recently been delivered to the households of Westwood Parish. Consultation dates have been arranged for 24th (7-9pm), 25th (7-9pm) and 26th (10am-4pm) September at the Westwood School
    The purpose of the consultation is to provide an opportunity for all parishioners to offer their opinion on the content of the Draft Neighbourhood Plan in relation to the provision of new housing. As the Neighbourhood Plan is an important document representing local views all households are encouraged to be involved and to attend one of the sessions.
    This consultation is being undertaken by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group in order to gather key information for the Neighbourhood Plan. A draft Neighbourhood Plan is to be submitted to the Parish Council in due course and it will be subject to extensive public consultation. The subject of housing provision in the Parish will form part of the draft Neighbourhood Plan.

Unfortunately no reply details were given for those wishing to respond via the leaflet and who are unable to attend the consultation sessions. Arrangements have been made with the village shop to collect such responses." 


Article published: 22 Sep 2015

Dear residents

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group wishes to thank all those who provided comments during the recent phase of consultation. This has given the group important information with which to develop the Neighbourhood Plan.

The group received around 200 individual responses, many of which made more than one comment, resulting in over 300 specific items being recorded. The purpose of this communication is to give you a brief report on the early findings.

The primary sources of comment were transport and facilities for villagers, followed by infrastructure and housing. Each of these areas of concern contained a number of issues raised, all of which will be taken on board. We will not, however, forget the other topics raised and will consider all comments accordingly.

The Parish Council Steering Group will now work to reflect the outcome of the public consultation in the shape of a draft Neighbourhood Plan, which it is expected will be available early next year. Further opportunities will then be provided for parishioners to be presented with the draft plan and provide further input in a series of consultation events.

Some comments received may not be appropriate for the Plan and may be passed to the Parish Council for action, although we would remind you that you can, and should, send concerns directly to other authorities, such as Wiltshire Council, for action, where appropriate.

John Bishop

Westwood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group


Article published: 30 Nov 2014

Our Neighbourhood Plan

A Neighbourhood Development Plan is a statement of how a community would like their environment to evolve. It sets out a vision for the area and policies for the use and development of land. We would like to hear your comments on matters which you consider important in shaping the future of our community.

Very soon every household in the parish will be getting a leaflet describing how you can get involved in the creation of our plan. We hope that we will receive ideas and views from everyone.

Westwood Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group. (WNPSG) can be contacted from the Contact page

Article published: 01 Aug 2014

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