There was a discussion during the January meeting of the Village Plan Steering Committee, regarding whether Hardwick’s planning activity should be refocused to deliver a Neighbourhood rather than a Village Plan. This may sound rather trivial but belies the significance of the issue.
Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan (see more detail below) is more involved than a Village Plan but brings with it significant benefits.
If you have an opinion regarding whether Hardwick should stick with a Village Plan or pursue a Neighbourhood Plan, please let either the Village Plan Committee or the Parish Council know.
What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood Planning is a way for communities to take a proactive approach to deciding the future of the places where they live and work. It is not a legal requirement but a right, which communities can use to determine the development and use of land and to make other improvements to their neighbourhood, including the development of homes, shops, offices, infrastructure and their design.
Why undertake a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan helps set out a community’s vision for their area over ten, fifteen, twenty years. It is not a legal requirement but a right, which communities can use to determine the development and use of land and to make other improvements to their neighbourhood, including the development of homes, shops, offices, infrastructure and their design. This can be done through a Neighbourhood Plan, a Neighbourhood Development Order or a Community Right to Build Order, all of which follow similar processes.
Who and what is involved?
The parish council initiates the process and works with the community to develop their proposals. The consent of local people must be secured through a referendum before the plan can be passed. As the Local Planning Authority, South Cambridgeshire District Council, supports the parish through the neighbourhood planning process, a summary of which follows:
- The process is instigated by one or more parish councils (or, where appropriate, a Neighbourhood Forum).
- Initial local consultation on the proposed Neighbourhood Area by the parish council and with the district council (SCDC).
- Neighbourhood Area proposed by parish council to SCDC.
- Consultation of at least 4 weeks by SCDC on the Neighbourhood Area.
- Comments received are considered by SCDC and, if appropriate, the area is designated – usually within 8 weeks, but sometimes up to 20 weeks.
- Parish council prepares the draft Neighbourhood Plan with SCDC support and advice.
- Parish council conducts pre-submission publicity and consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
- Parish council considers consultation responses and amends plan, if appropriate.
- Parish council submits the Neighbourhood Plan to SCDC. SCDC check for legal compliance.
- If compliant, SCDC conducts community engagement for a minimum of 4 weeks.
- Independent examination to check that a number of basic conditions have been met as set out in the National Planning Policy Guidance (concerning such matters as consistency with national planning policy, heritage features in the area, sustainable development, and conformity to Local Development Plan strategic policies etc.).
- Report of independent examination received and published.
- SCDC considers report, reaches its own view and decides whether to submit the Neighbourhood Plan to a local referendum.
- Referendum undertaken by SCDC and results declared.
- If supported by simple majority of those voting, and compatible with EU obligations and Convention rights, the Neighbourhood Plan is ‘made’ (adopted) by the Local Planning Authority (SCDC).
Websites, documents and useful links
SCDC have created a list of useful links for information about Neighbourhood Planning.
Central Government produce a newsletter that contains useful contextual information:
Visit the refreshed locality website for current news and information:
And for information about the new grants scheme available from 1 April 2015, visit:
Visit this site for a range of very useful guides and resources:
Visit: DCLG neighbourhood planning pages – for a range of information, including the basic conditions that need to be met by your neighbourhood plan.
Visit http://planning.communityknowledgehub.org.uk/ for good practice guides and case studies, particularly helpful with guidance on community consultation.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/notes-on-neighbourhood-planning for regular bulletins from DCLG.
Visit http://www.pas.gov.uk/neighbourhood-planning for general information about the various aspects of Neighbourhood Planning.
How Can you Help?
A growing group of volunteers are working together to kick-off the process but its ultimate success depends on you.
We want to consult as widely as possible across all areas of the village and for everyone, particularly including young people in the village, to contribute. The Plan can only be as good as the ideas and community energy that is put into it. So,
- If you have any ideas on what Hardwick should look like in the future, what facilities it needs in the short, medium or long term, let us know.
- If you are passionate about some aspect of village life – transport, the environment, sports and social activities or just want to give something back to the community, please get involved.
- If you have skills or talents that can help us develop the plan or communicate and consult with the village, please volunteer some of your time.
Hardwick Village Plan Volunteers
If you want to volunteer, please email
If you have ideas on what Hardwick should look like in the future, what facilities it needs in the short, medium or long term, please email
The Hardwick Village Plan website is published by a working group endorsed by the Hardwick Parish Council.
If you want more information or have any concerns about any of the information published on this website, please email