Here we've tried to answer villagers' general questions about neighbourhood planning. If you have a question, please contact us
Question: If new houses are built adjacent to the settlement boundary, will the boundary be extended and then more houses be built near the new boundary?
Answer: No. The boundary is set in the Breckland Local Plan and does not get amended each time new houses are built. For example the Warwick Farm development remains outside the settlement boundary. Incidentally we recently asked our consultant to advise if we can set an exact distance to what Breckland Council simply term "immediately adjacent to the settlement boundary, and will let you know what she says.
Question: How was it decided which buildings would be included in the Plan as non-listed but protected?
Answer: We started with the village and County heritage records and then applied criteria devised by Historic England to review potential buildings. You can find details of the criteria in the Plan's supporting document that justifies Policy 6.
Question: What happens if Breckland Council don't accept the wording of the policies or the Plan in general?
Answer: We didn't have to accept Breckland Council's comments if we disagreed with them. We have rejected a large number of their comments which we considered were unreasonable and would have "watered down" the Plan. The final decision was made by the independent government examiner when the Plan underwent his review after the final (Reg. 16) public consultation.
Question: If a "health check" is carried out on the Plan, how will you choose an examiner to do it?
Answer: There are a limited number of examiners. We read many examination reports for other villages' plans and had a good idea of which examiners are stricter than others. For the 2 health checks we used one of the stricter ones, (a) to make sure all potential weaknesses in the Plan are identified before it goes to formal examination, and (b) because then that strict examiner would not be allowed to perform the formal examination and we might get an easier ride!
Question: Will Breckland Council accept the language used in the policies to make sure nothing is left open to interpretation?
Answer: Based on our experience not willingly! Breckland planners seem to hate words such as "shall", "must", "will be" etc. We've heard from other parishes in the district how some of their policies have been watered down by Breckland Council. We decided the way to avoid that was by having good evidence to justify the policy wording. Finding and collating that evidence was the main reason the Plan took us so long to prepare. But as a result of that effort we think we have much better evidence than most other neighbourhood plans we've read. Among other things, that evidence includes references to Breckland's own local plan and the national rules and to other already approved plans from around the country which include similar policies to our own. Our consultant's reviews helped us understand what other evidence we needed and where to find it. The 2 examiner health checks gave us a good idea if our policy wording would be acceptable and put us in a good position to argue against any attempts by Breckland Council to dilute our Plan. We stuck to our guns throughout and got most of what we wanted approved by the examiner
Question: Where can I find more detail about the Plan?
Answer: In the pages of this website - please use the menu at the top of each page to navigate around the site. Additionally if there's anything we can clarify or explain further please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: From what date will Breckland Council's 5% limit for the number of new houses apply?
Answer: Officially the limit applies from the date the Breckland Local Plan was approved, which was 29 November 2019. However since then they have counted new houses in a different way, and as at November 2021, they advise 48 new houses have already been completed or approved for counting against the limit. This adds great strength to our case that hereafter only new housing on teh 9 allocated sites, plus a few exception sites, should be allowed
Question: If a single new building consisted of five one bed-room flats rather than one five bed-room house, how would that count towards our share of the housing allocation?
Answer: In the local plan Breckland Council allocates new dwellings rather than new buildings. Therefore our understanding is that five one bed-room flats in a single building would count as 5 dwellings.
Question: Can the Plan specify what type of homes are built?
Answer: Thanks to our consultant's help we have included a specific policy (2B) dealing with this, which sets out requirements for smaller and affordable homes. The supporting document ' Saham Toney Parish Housing Needs Assessment' explains that in more detail.