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We will continuously update this page with the most common questions asked by London Colney residents. It is important that the neighbourhood plan writing process can be understood by everyone.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan allows communities to create a shared vision for the area they live in. Neighbourhood planning is a process which enables local communities to shape the growth within their local area, including decisions on where housing, green spaces, local services and facilities are supported and how these should be designed. The resultant Plan typically consists of planning policies, aims and objectives for the local area.
Aren’t there already policies in the St Albans City and District Local Plan for London Colney?
The adopted Local Plan dates back to 1994 (including a number of policies which were saved in 2007), and these policies are now out of date. A new Local Plan for St Albans City and District was being prepared; however, this has been withdrawn from examination and will not now be adopted. In effect, there are no up-to-date planning policies for London Colney.
Why is a Neighbourhood Plan being prepared?
The purpose of the London Colney Neighbourhood Plan is to help improve the quality of life and environment for the community as a whole. This is important because there is no current up-to-date development plan that covers the area. This is creating a policy vacuum, meaning we have no policy in place to guide and steer future growth and change, nor determine planning applications submitted in the area.
It is therefore really important that a Neighbourhood Plan is produced. This will enable the local community to establish a vision for the future of the area and set planning policies that will shape future change.
So the Neighbourhood Plan will seek to influence the form and quality of the new development, to ensure that future change is done so in a way which respects and enhance local character. In addition, the Neighbourhood Plan can help to shape the type of infrastructure coming forward within the parish.
But the Neighbourhood Plan can be so much more than this. It provides an excellent opportunity for the issues and aspirations of the local community to be incorporated and addressed. This includes protecting local green spaces and heritage assets for example. Once formally ‘made’, the Plan will be a blueprint for positive change, with the needs of the local community at its core.
More than 900 communities across the country have successfully completed and had a Neighbourhood Plan ‘made’ as planning policy for their area. Many more are in progress, including those at examination. In total, 2,700 communities have or are working on Neighbourhood Plans.
Who is preparing the Neighbourhood Plan?
The Neighbourhood Plan is being led by a Steering Group consisting of Parish Councillors and local residents. There will also be input from a number of working groups whose focus will be on specific themes, such as environment and transport.
An initial survey was distributed to residents in June 2019 to gain their thoughts on what the current challenges and opportunities are for London Colney.
We are currently in the early stages of the Neighbourhood Plan process. Progress on the Neighbourhood Plan will continue throughout 2021.
Can the Neighbourhood Plan be used to stop development?
No. National policy does not allow for Neighbourhood Plans to prevent development. In the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan, it is likely that speculative development will come forward in London Colney. All opportunistic development proposals will therefore be assessed on their individual merits. With the above in mind, the Neighbourhood Plan will include policies around design qualityand infrastructure, to ensure that any development which does come forward is of a high quality, addresses the needs of the local community, and reflects the best characteristics and qualities of the local area.
What is the examination?
The Neighbourhood Plan will be subject to consultation before it is submitted to St Albans City and District Council, who will arrange for it to be scrutinised by an independent planning examiner. The examination will consider whether the Plan aligns with national and local policies, and whether its policies will achieve sustainable development. If the examiner is happy that the Neighbourhood Plan has followed due process, a referendum will take place.
What is the referendum?
Everyone who is eligible to vote in London Colney will have the chance to say whether they think the Neighbourhood Plan should be used to begin shaping future change and determining planning applications. If more than 50% of people who turn out to vote are in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan, then it will become part of formal planning policy for London Colney.
Where can I find out more about Neighbourhood Planning?
Central Government regularly publishes a Neighbourhood Planning newsletter which can be accessed online via the following link:
Information and advice is also available via the Locality website:
For information on Neighbourhood Plans in St Albans: