Please see our FAQs below, updated September 2023 to address key questions and issues highlighted by residents.
What is the designated area for the B&L NDP?
The designated area for the B&L NDP is shown in the map at the bottom of the page. It has the same boundaries as the Parish of Bramshott and Liphook. It is split between two Planning Authorities, East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).
What is a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)?
Neighbourhood planning was introduced in 2011 as part of the Localism Act. It is a right that communities have to shape and influence land-use and development in their areas (their ‘neighbourhoods’) through the production of agreed plan. The NDP is a planning document and sets out planning policies that will be used – alongside Local Plan and national policy – to determine planning applications in the neighbourhood area.
If agreed by the community, the NDP will form part of the “Local Development Framework” (which is a suite of legal documents that guide planning and development across the wider Local Authority Area. The policies will carry legal weight and would be considered alongside those in the Local Plan (either East Hants or South Downs, depending on the location of the application) when determining planning applications in the Parish.
An NDP usually sets out a vision for the area and the individual policies then contribute to the achievement of that vision. NDPs can include policies to allocate sites for specific use e.g., housing, community facilities, sports fields, mixed use development etc. but they do not have to. They can also include policies that seek to influence how development comes forward, by setting out criteria that must be met. They can also designate areas of land for specific uses, such as Local Green Space.
The Bramshott and Liphook NDP project is overseen by the Parish Council, as the “Qualifying Body”. The NDP Steering Group was set up and comprises both councillors and volunteers from the community to lead on the development of the NDP. It carries out all the relevant work and preparation of the NDP in order to provide robust recommendations and a well-thought out plan to the Parish Council for their final approval. The Parish Council approved the final Pre-Submission draft Plan on 12 July 2023.
What are the benefits of an NDP for the local community?
An NDP can ensure local communities directly influence any development applications that are submitted to the relevant Planning Authority in terms of its character, nature, and design. This is done through planning policies that can improve the visual appearance of an area, for instance, to improve rundown areas, encourage more green space, improve availability of recreational facilities. This will help to ensure that new developments bring positive impacts and deliver against local needs. This in turn improves the health and wellbeing of a community and protect and enhance the local natural and built environment. An NDP in place increases the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions allocated directly to this Parish when development happens, which increases the funding available for improvements to be carried out by the Parish Council.
Without a neighbourhood plan, all planning applications would be determined using the policies in the relevant local plan. Often, these are broad in nature, as they have to be relevant to the entire authority area. The NDP enables more nuanced and locally-focused policies to be implemented.
What are the limitations of NDP policy?
NDPs are planning documents. There are lots of issues that have been raised by the community that fall outside this remit. Some of these aspirations have been compiled into a list of community actions, that will be prioritised alongside the implementation of the policies themselves. They will often require partners to come together to work towards a particular aim, and funding might be required to achieve this. When development comes forward in the Parish, the proportion of Community Infrastructure Levy that the applicant has to pay to the Parish Council can be used to allocate against these wider ‘non-policy’ community projects.
Another key area that the NDP has less control over is strategic highways issues. It is Hampshire County Council that has the statutory authority here, as the Highways Authority, alongside National Highways for the main trunk roads. Therefore it is not possible for the NDP, through policies, to propose new roads, traffic calming measures, speed enforcement measures and so forth. Where the plan does have some influence is on encouraging ‘active travel’ (i.e. walking and riding) by influencing the location of development and including policies that will help to improve routes in terms of their attractiveness, safety and connectivity.
Will this NDP have any impact?
The NDP, once ‘made’ (adopted) will carry legal weight in the planning system. The policies will be used by local authority officers and the planning committee when they are making decisions about planning applications within the Parish.
The Design Guidance, which forms an integral part of the NDP will be used to influence the look and feel of proposed developments.
It will be vital for the Parish Councillors to use the policies when commenting on applications. The policies – in combination with the overarching vision and objectives, and supporting evidence – can also be used to influence the emerging Local Plans both for East Hampshire and the South Downs National Park.
How has the NDP been funded?
The Parish Council has received government grant funding to support the project. There is a basic grant of £10,000 available to all neighbourhood plan groups and a further £8,000 to those meeting specific criteria. One of these criteria is whether a plan is preparing design guidance; as the B&L NDP is doing this, the Parish Council has been eligible for the bigger grant.
In addition, the Parish Council has successfully applied for Technical Support to assist in the preparation of evidence. The NDP has received support for a Local Housing Need Study and also to prepare the Design Guidance. No money exchanges hands for the Technical Support.
Government support is provided via Locality, a national organisation that has been selected to oversee the whole neighbourhood plan programme for the country.
In addition, the volunteers have put in many hours of work to support the NDP.
Why has it taken so many years to develop the NDP Plan?
Developing a NDP is a big project and it is largely reliant on volunteers. It’s also necessary to engage locally and prepare evidence, which takes time. The legislative parts of the process alone can take over a year, and the level of complexity of a plan also impacts on timings.
For the B&L NDP, much time was spent waiting for EHDC to prepare their new Local Plan, on the advise of officers. The Local Plan process has very delayed due to COVID-19 among other things. As a result of that delay, the Steering Group decided to continue with the NDP.
Initially, the Steering Group planned to explore allocating sites for housing, Due to the complexity of working with two Planning Authorities with conflicting priorities, it proved challenging to work to find a development site(s) for allocation that the community as a whole could agree upon. Time has been spent to explore all avenues for consensus with the NDP and Parish Council’s control. Ultimately, the only sites available are all strategic in nature and, without a housing target to deliver, it was felt prudent not to allocate in advance of the local plan process – which itself would be assessing those strategic sites in our Parish against others across the whole district. All this work has added time to the overall timeable.
How did you engage with the community to gain feedback on the Plan?
From the beginning, the B&L NDP SG has been guided by the need to engage as widely as possible with the local community to ensure the NDP and its Policies reflect the views of the Parish. The March 2023 open events gave local residents a further opportunity to view and input into the emerging draft Plan and its Policies. An extensive marketing campaign was carried out in both the Spring and Summer 2023 with posters, articles in magazines and social media posts asking residents to leave their feedback on our website or in person. As part of Pre-Submission (Regulation 14) formal consultation, the NDP SG has held a number of open evenings during July, August and September again providing more opportunities for the community to see the plans and leave feedback.
Why should we accept the NDP at referendum?
Neighbourhood Planning has never been designed as a tool to halt development, rather to shape and influence it. Having the NDP will not prevent sites being allocated in the Parish via the Local Plans, should site be assessed against others on district level as suitable.
The NDP is the only way the community has the ability to impact and influence future development, including its nature and character and design. Without a NDP, all planning applications will be decided using the Local Plan policies, many of which are very broad and do not reflect fully the specific needs of the Parish. The NDP provides an opportunity to tailor policies to the Parish.
In addition, the contribution of any developer contributions in the form of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) coming directly to the Parish will increase from 15% to 25%. This money can be spent on priorities identified from the local engagement and noted in the NDP.
What conditions do NDPs have to meet?
The policies of the NDP have to be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan, with the National Planning Policy Framework and with (retained) EU and human right legislation.
Under (retained) EU Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive, the NDP must also be screened to ascertain its potential impact on the environment and whether or not an SEA is required. The B&L Plan does not require and SEA.
Plans also have to be screened against the Habitats Directive, to ascertain their potential impact on important habitats and species and whether a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HEA) is required. The B&L Plan does not require an HEA.
Each of these requirements will be tested at the examination.
How assertive can the wording be in an NDP?
Planning guidance is extremely clear in that planning policies have to be worded positively, flexibly and without being too onerous. They must be applicable to a range of development types and sizes and locations. Examiners will modify wording such as ‘does not permit’, ‘must’, ‘will’, where these are not requirements at a national level. Some of the policies are caveated with e.g.‘subject to their location, size and nature..’ again to allow officers the flexibility when making planning decisions.
Who checks that the plans are compliant before they are voted on?
An independently qualified person (Examiner) will check that the NDP appropriately meets the required basic conditions before it can be voted on in a local referendum. Usually this is done as a desk-based exercise, but sometimes a hearing might be held. Often the Examiner might recommend modifications to an NDP in order to ensure it is compliant.
When are the plans implemented?
Following a successful referendum, EHDC will hold a meeting to officially ‘make’ the NDP, at which point it will become a formal part of the Local Development Framework. It will carry full legal weight at this point.
What about the previous Parish Plan?
The Bramshott and Liphook Parish Plan produced in August 2015 provides a wealth of information on the Parish and the community’s view of the challenges that the Parish faces. The information provided in this plan serves as a great foundation on which to build the Bramshott and Liphook NDP.
What roles do East Hampshire District Council and the South Downs National Park Authority have?
The designated area for the B&L NDP is split between two planning authorities. The majority of the Parish is within East Hampshire District Council’s planning authority (EHDC), and the South Down National Park Authority (SDNPA) covers the area wrapping around the South of Liphook, and to the West side of the Parish. Those parts of the Parish that have a Settlement Boundary (i.e. where development is directed to) are in the East Hampshire district.
Each Planning Authority has its own Local Plan and planning policies and at present both Local Plans are being reviewed.
EHDC are the lead planning authority for the purposes of the NDP. They have responsibility for supporting the Parish in developing its NDP including arranging and paying for the Submission Version (Regulation 16) consultation, the independent examination and the referendum.
What role does the Parish Council and the Planning committee play on the B&L NDP?
Any planning applications that come in and relate to the Parish are submitted to the relevant Local Authority. They are decided upon either by the Planning Committee (made up of elected councillor) or delegated to a planning officer.
Two members of PC sit on the SG and provide insight into Parish Council planning system and are a conduit to local planning authorities - EHDC and SDNP.
The Parish Councillors will use the policies of the NDP when formulating their responses to any planning applications.
What is the Steering Group?
The Steering Group is the core team of volunteers who guide the process, liaise with the key authorities, including EHDC, SDNPA and Locality, and importantly vote on the proposals to be put forward to the Parish Council for final consideration.
The Steering Group has been formed from a selection of local residents who represent a broad spectrum of the local community and bring a range of skills and experience to the NPD process. All members have been through a selection process including interviews, declaration of interests and their appointment has been approved by the Parish Council.
The current members of the steering group members can be found HERE.
What’s the current stage and when will it be completed?
The BLNDP has finished Regulation 14, a Formal Consultation where residents, statutory bodies and other interested parties were asked for feedback on the plan and all individual policies. That feedback and changes made to the plan were summarised in a report available on this website.
When the latest version of the plan is ready, The Submission Version NDP, along with other supporting documents, will be formally submitted to East Hants District Council (as the local authority lead for our area).They will check that they have the required documents and will then run a second period of statutory consultation, called the ‘Regulation 16 consultation’. This will last a minimum of six weeks and will give everyone a further opportunity to comment on the content of the NDP.
All comments received at this consultation are compiled by East Hants District Council and sent on, with the documents, to an independent examiner who will examine the plan to make sure it meets the legislative requirements. The examination is paid for by EHDC by way of government grants available specifically for this purpose.
The examiner may advise that modifications are necessary to the NDP. Assuming the examination is successful, the Plan will be amended into its final format (taking into account any modifications) and EHDC will organise a local referendum to take place. This will be open to all residents registered to vote in the Parish. A simple majority (with no minimum turnout) is required to approve the Plan. Once approved, EHDC will officially ‘make’ the NDP and it will officially become part of the Development Plan, sitting alongside the Local Plans.
Who will decide planning applications once we have an NDP for Bramshott & Liphook?
EHDC and SDNPA remain the decision makers for planning applications in our Parish, and they will be legally required to assess all planning applications submitted in this Parish against the NDP for conformity.
How many houses are planned for B&L - does EHDC have a 5 year housing land supply?
Neither EHDC nor the SDNPA have provided a housing figure yet for the Parish. This will be determined as part of the Local Plan processes.
Local planning authorities are required to identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide a minimum of five years’ worth of housing against their housing requirements (The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraph 74).
EHDC last published an update on 1 April 2022. As of 1st April 2022, East Hampshire District Council (outside the National Park) can demonstrate 4.78 years of deliverable housing land supply for the period 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2027, to meet the currently identified residual Local Housing Need derived by the standard method. This is an equivalent shortfall of 121 dwellings.
This figure informs the council’s 'authority monitoring report' and future decisions on planning applications for housing development.
The decision to not allocate sites in the Bramshott and Liphook NDP
At the NDP steering group meeting held on 14th February 2023, it was decided not to allocate sites in the B&L NDP. The decision was made because it was clear that there was increasing risk of developers taking advantage of the fact that this Parish is now only one of a few surrounding parishes in the EHDC Planning Authority area without a NDP. The risks arising from this are:
- It is in fact potentially easier for development to be allocated by EHDC to Bramshott and Liphook because there is no NDP in place unlike surrounding parishes;
- Any development does not have to meet the character and nature of development you, the community, have told us you want to see because the Plan is not made;
- The portion of the CIL that goes to EHDC or other higher statutory authorities from development is greater than if an NDP is made and thus allows statutory authorities to allocate those funds to projects away from Bramshott and Liphook.
The SG did explore whether or not to allocate sites and undertook a Local Call for Sites and subsequent assessment of and engagement on sites.
Sites located within the Settlement Boundary can already come forward for development. It was considered that a specific allocation policy for these sites was not therefore required.
The remaining sites were all very large in nature and had been submitted to EHDC / SDNPA for consideration as part of the Local Plan process. Whilst the NDP could allocate such a large site, the sites are considered to be strategic in nature and it was considered to be more prudent to assess them at the strategic local authority level against other strategic sites that collectively would meet the District-wide housing requirement. This assessment across the district could in theory render one of the parish sites as less suitable than others outside the Parish. An allocation in the NDP could therefore be considered premature and would not have taken this strategic comparison into account.
The one large site in the South Down part of the Parish was unsupported by the SDNPA, who actively advised that it would not be supported should it be allocated within the NDP. This was because, as expressed above, the site is of a strategic nature and the SDNPA would assess it on that basis and against other sites across the whole of the National Park.
In addition, in this Parish, it is clear that there was no consensus with respect to any site being allocated.
Finally, NDPs with site allocations are a longer process because there is more scrutiny. This would have led to greater pressures on the volunteer team and local budget.
The B&L NDP does however have Policy BL1 (Location of Development), which sets out where development is considered to be appropriate and particular criteria it should meet to enable sustainable development. Once the NDP is in place, this policy can help assessors check the suitability sites suitability for development as shaping the type and quality of development with other policies.
Additionally, Policy BL2 (Meeting local housing needs) sets out the type of housing (size, affordability, tenure etc.) of homes that should be prioritised locally to address local housing need. A Local Housing Needs Assessment was developed to underpin this policy.
The work undertaken on sites will not go to waste and will be used to influence the emerging Local Plans. When these Local Plans are in place, the Parish Council the may then want to consider a review of the NDP to ensure it continues to conform to strategic policy. This could include a site allocation if there is an appetite to do this.
This decision was not taken likely. The site work, including assessments, will not be lost. It will form part of the NDP evidence pack and can feed into the emerging Local Plans and inform any future review of the B&L NDP.
Did the NDP decide not to allocate due to a threat of legal action from developers?
No. No legal action has ever been threatened to the NDP. There is no legal requirement for NDPs to include site allocations and only approximately 30-40% plans do include them. Not allocating sites in the NDP does not prevent site promoters seeking to include them in the emerging Local Plans.
Does an NDP with no allocation have control over development?
Yes. An NDP is part of the statutory development plan, and that statutory recognition means that it can have real and significant influence on the extent and character of development in the area it covers.
The NDP can be used to galvanise support for community projects and investments. It can also be used to lever in funding for projects.
The Design Guidance, which forms part of the NDP, will influence the look, feel and design of development, to ensure that it contributes positively to the local area.
Other policies in the NDP seek to safeguard valued green space against inappropriate development, protect the dark skies, and encourage biodiversity.
Without allocation will this NDP mean we are open to speculative development?
Not necessarily. EHDC is already not meeting its 5-year housing land supply. This can make it easier for site promoters to bring forward sites that are not allocated in the Local Plan. Sites within the Settlement Boundary can be brought forward in any case. Larger scale sites would have been difficult to allocate at the Parish level as there would have been no opportunity to consider them against other significant sites outside the Parish. This could have led to over development in the Parish.
Does it make any difference to developers contribution whether an NDP has site allocation?
No. An area without a NDP will receive 15% of the CIL contributions from a development in the Parish (where CIL has been adopted by the Local Authority and where the site has not been exempted). An area with a ‘made’ NDP will receive 25% of CIL contributions. There is no requirement for an NDP to allocate sites and not allocating has no impact on CIL.
Why doesn’t NDP talk to SDNPA about best location for development?
The SG has engaged with the SDNPA throughout the process. The one major site in the SDNP that came forward is not supported by the SDNPA.
If the NDP committee doesn’t make recommendations on sites for development then who does?
Sites of a strategic nature – which is the case for the sites considered by the NDP – are best assessed at the strategic level. This is because they can be considered against other sites across the wider district area to determine which have the best potential of addressing housing and other needs. This contributes to sustainable development that is plan-led.
The PC will engage with the emerging Local Plan process and the information gathered about the sites within B&L will be used to inform this, alongside feedback gathered from the community.
Can an NDP stop development from happening in our area?
No, the Government has made clear that NDPs are not tools to stop development. They are intended to be enabling Plans so they cannot, for instance, promote a lower rate of development in an area than may have already been agreed by the Planning Authority. They must be consistent with National and local planning policies.
An NDP can promote and allocate land for specific uses, in consultation with land owners, and can assist with protecting parts of the Parish for specific use classes, ie. retaining commercial units etc.
Even if the NDP allocated a site, this would not prevent the LPA from allocating further sites in the Parish.
Why wont SDNP allow development in the SD area of Liphook and is the NDP against building on SDNP?
The NDP is not against development in the SDNPA where this can be demonstrated to be sustainable (and meeting the requirements of Policy BL1). The SDNPA, however, are not supportive of large-scale sites of a strategic nature – which is the case for the sites considered by the NDP – being allocated in the NDP. Rather they consider that these are best assessed at the strategic level. This is because they can be considered against other sites across the wider National Park area to determine which have the best potential of addressing housing and other needs. This contributes to sustainable development that is plan-led.
How does the NDP support the housing crisis, for example addressing need for affordable housing and multiple occupancy homes
Policy BL2 (Meeting local housing needs) sets out the type of housing (size, affordability, tenure etc.) of homes that should be prioritised locally to address local housing need. A Local Housing Needs Assessment was developed to underpin this policy.
How does the NDP ensure housing is in the best location?
Policy BL1 (Location of Development) sets out where development is considered to be appropriate and the particular criteria it should meet to enable sustainable development. Once the NDP is in place, this policy can help assessors check the suitability sites suitability for development as shaping the type and quality of development with other policies. It should be read in conjunction with other policies in the NDP, which collectively safeguard the most sensitive areas of land and set out how planning applications can minimise their negative impact.
Why has the NDP not done a poll of residence preference for site location?
See previous answers on the merits of allocating strategic-sized sites.
How does the plan address the need for sustainable housing within easy walking of the shopping centre?
This is a criterion set out in Policy B1. In addition, Policy BL10 (Improving walking, cycling and equestrian opportunities) requires developments to be well-connected to the existing movement route network and be within a 10-minute walking radius of key locations (the station / village square) in the Parish.
How much developers contribution does a parish receive without an NDP? How much does it receive with and NDP?
An area without a NDP will receive 15% of the CIL contributions from a development in the Parish (where CIL has been adopted by the Local Authority and where the site has not been exempted). An area with a ‘made’ NDP will receive 25% of CIL contributions. There is no requirement for an NDP to allocate sites and not allocating has no impact on CIL.
How does the NDP determine required infrastructure needed in the parish?
Infrastructure need is monitored by the relevant organisation, E.g. the need for school places is monitored by the Education Authority.
Why isn’t the NDP trying to improve traffic issues in the Square, and how does the NDP address transport issues for potential future developments?
Strategic traffic and road matters sit outside of the scope of the NDP. Responsibility for highways sits with HCC (local roads) and National Highways (strategic roads).
Where the NDP can seek to make a difference is by promoting and enabling more cycling and walking routes within the Parish. Policy BL10 does this by mapping the existing network and demonstrating where improvements can be made. Highlighting these improvements in the NDP will give them greater weight within potential proposals and could also help to bring in funding.
Policy BL11 seeks to ensure that development proposals fully consider their impacts on particular stretched parts of the road network.
Ultimately it is the Highways Authority, however, that considers whether a development is likely to have a severe impact on roads (as per Para 111 of the NPPF). Developers have responsibility to demonstrate how their schemes will promote active travel, not create severe road issues.
The SG is aware of the major frustrations caused by traffic congestion through the Square at peak times, mainly due to Bohunt School children crossing the roads. There are a number of solutions being explored including: Pelican Crossing, traffic calming etc. These sorts of schemes could be brought in either by a developer (when mitigating traffic impact at the request of the Highways Authority) or via funding such as CIL.
Is the NDP supporting a relief road – if not why not?
This sits outside the scope of the NDP. Most Highways Authorities are no longer supporting such schemes as the national drive is for more active and sustainable travel solutions.
How is NDP addressing the need for more car parking spaces for multiple occupancy homes?
Policy BL3 requires proposals to provide adequate vehicular access and space for cycle parking and off-road parking for residents, visitors and service vehicles, in accordance with the adopted East Hampshire Vehicle Parking Standards.
How does the plan address the need for sports facilities?
This is addressed in BL17, which provides support to proposals that would bring forward particular facilities (as evidenced by the local community). These might hence be included as part of any future strategic allocations.
How can I give my views as the plan develops?
Please check the homepage or Upcoming Events to find out what stage of the NDP we are in - if we are in a consultation period there will be a feedback form to fill in. Members of the public can attend any of the Steering Group meetings, usually held monthly at the LMC. See the Minutes and Meetings page for the schedule.
Who can I contact if I want more information?
You can read about the NDP here on this website, and use the Contact Us page to get in touch with the Steering Group.
What is a ‘Call for Sites’?
A ‘Call for Sites’ is a specific request for landowners to submit land and property, that is available for development, for the NDPs consideration. The sites that come forward are individually assessed against a set criteria to establish their potential, restrictions and scope to provide suitable facilities and development for the parish.
What is a Site Options Assessment?
A Site Options Assessment assesses all potential sites that have been put forward for consideration to the NDP and also to EHDC and SDNPA, in their own independent Call for Sites. The assessment is unbiased and utilises a criteria matrix and ‘traffic light’ system to set out potential sites within the parish. The assessment provides unbiased evidence on which sites have scope for further consideration.
‘Locality’ provide this technical assessment for free through independent consultants, AECOM.
What is a Strategic Environmental Assessment?
A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) considers environmental factors such as biodiversity, landscape character, historical environment, air, water and soil quality, and also socio-economic factors. The process helps avoid and mitigate potential negative effects and helps to identify the land and property opportunities available to an NDP for allocation for different land uses.
It is a statutory requirement, and includes consultation with Natural England, Historic England and the Environment Agency. ‘Locality’ provide this technical assessment for free through independent consultants, AECOM.
What is a Habitats Regulations Assessment?
A Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) considers whether a Plan or proposed development is likely to have a significant effect on the integrity of a protected ‘European Site’, whether alone or in combination with other local Plans or projects. The assessment determines whether the significant effects of proposals on a protected European site can be ruled out on the basis of objective information, or if mitigation is required to make the proposals acceptable.
‘Locality’ provide this technical assessment for free through independent consultants, AECOM.
The result of Brexit does not currently impact HRAs as the protected ‘European Sites’ are integrated into English legislation.
What is a Housing Needs Assessment?
A Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) provides robust, objectively assessed data on local housing need for specific areas. It is just one part of the evidence base and helps an NDP to understand the specific housing requirements of their neighbourhood and to work out the share of wider housing growth an NDP should plan for.
‘Locality’ provide this technical assessment for free through independent consultants, AECOM.