Farringdon Neighbourhood Plan

As of December 2015, Farringdon has been officially designated as a neighbourhood area, so a Neighbourhood Plan can be developed, and will be supported with help and finance from East Devon District Council.

Neighbourhood Plans have replaced Parish Plans, and the big difference is that these are legal documents that, once approved, carry official weight in conjunction with the related regional plan and therefore must be used in the planning process. The new East Devon Regional Plan has just been adopted and will last until 2031, so the intention of a Neighbourhood Plan for Farringdon is that it would cover a similar period. In the section on development in open countryside, which is the designation for Farringdon, it says: "Development in the countryside will only be permitted where it is in accordance with a specific Local or Neighbourhood Plan policy that explicitly permits such development and where it would not harm the distinctive landscape, amenity and environmental qualities within which it is located".

The main goal of a Neighbourhood Plan is to give local residents and businesses a greater say in the development that goes on in their area. Its primary focus, and its legal remit, is on planning matters, although neighbourhood plans may cover other areas of interest to the community for added colour. They cannot reduce or prevent the development that has been allowed by the local plan, but they can extend it and more particularly they can define where such development should take place and what it should look like. Note that the Neighbourhood Plan is not in any way giving planning permission for any particular development nor is it supplying funds for any development, but rather it is defining the framework within which planning conditions may or may not be granted by the usual planning authorities. The main point is that they are community led, that the contents are based on evidence from the community and that it has been agreed by a majority of residents voting in a local referendum. The plan is done under the auspices of the local Parish Council but is produced by a Steering Committee that may or may not include members of the PC. Before being put to the vote, it must be approved by an independent examiner as meeting the required criteria, including the requirement to fit with local and national strategy. The final step of the process is a local referendum in which the majority of voters must support the Plan before it can be adopted legally.

Much more detail from the government can be found here or a somewhat more straightforward guide from CPRE can be found here.