Village and Civil Parish of Heslington, near York, England


July- Most recent update Heslington Parish Neighbourhood Plan

Dear Resident

Heslington Parish Neighbourhood Plan

As you may know a leaflet has recently been distributed in some areas of the parish

and to some village groups urging residents to demand a referendum on the

Neighbourhood Plan. This follows the Heslington Parish Council decision in April

2021 to withdraw the current Plan, amend the policies with the necessary rationale

and evidence base and following consultation, resubmit amended Plan to

referendum. The Heslington Parish Council issued a statement in May 2021

explaining the rationale for this, and how the Neighbourhood Plan will be moved

forward. You can read it on the News section of Heslington website

We understand that some residents may be perplexed and even upset by the leaflet

they have received and the Heslington Parish Council decision. This delay to the

Neighbourhood Plan’s progress is a particular disappointment for the Working Group

who have worked so tirelessly on the Heslington Parish Council’s behalf to get us to

this point. All of their good work is highly valued by the Heslington Parish Council

and will be retained as the Neighbourhood Plan goes forward. Like the residents who

helped work on the Parish Neighbourhood Plan, Parish Councilors are volunteers.

We are not experts in parish matters either. But as your elected representatives we

have to be accountable, and take advice from Yorkshire Local Councils Association,

other bodies and employ an official officer. The Parish Council take responsibility for

submitting the Plan to independent examination without re-employing the expert

Consultant to check it over first. This omission is one of the reasons we are in the

current position.

The Neighbourhood Plan Working Group completed their work with the submission

of the plan for independent examination in 2019. In the months since then, and

particularly following the Independent Inspector’s report of February 2020,

Heslington Parish Council have had on-going discussions, gathering information with

the Planning Consultant and other connected bodies. This more recent advice has

informed their collective decision to the Neighbourhood Plan process.

We feel it is important to clarify and correct some points made in the leaflet as

accountable representatives of the whole parish.

“There is no Local Plan” The Local Plan will be the strategic plan for the whole of

York City. It is well advanced and CYC use the draft version to guide planning

decisions. The major changes to the Neighbourhood Plan were partly to make it

compliant with the draft Local Plan. The current draft Local Plan includes a new

settlement of over 3 thousand houses in Heslington Parish.

“Reject the current version and start all over again” As explained in our earlier

statement we would not be starting all over again, but we would withdraw the current

Plan, amend the policies with the necessary rationale and evidence base and

following consultation, resubmit amended Plan to referendum “ As advised by our

Consultant, this would also give the added opportunity to strengthen wording of the 

present 16 policies to ensure they are the most effective in planning terms. Your

Parish Council want to make this Neighbourhood Plan the best they can for all of

Heslington’s residents, including the policies that residents wanted most.

“We will be completely unprotected for this period and possibly forever.

Developers could be given a free reign.” The present residential areas already

have good protection; Conservation Status for a large area and the Village Design

Statement. These remain in place giving protection. Heslington Parish Council have

also recently commented further on the proposed Green Belt Boundaries which adds

another layer of protection around the built environment. The deleted policies relate

to areas that presently do not have such protection. The Heslington Parish

Neighbourhood Plan covers the whole of the Parish.

“reflecting your wishes” The Heslington Parish Council is mindful that at the

preliminary consultation stage, the Resident Survey results indicated strongly that

the deleted policies concerned issues that remain at the top of

desirables/improvements for the Parish – student accommodation, traffic through the

village, retaining the agricultural setting of the village.

The policies were deleted as the current plan’s rationale, evidence base and drafting

are insufficient to support them. Two of them were moved to an advisory category

and re-cast as “Community Actions”. These have no status in planning law rendering

them to a “hope”.

“Cost a great deal” We are assured of the finance to employ the Consultant who

will guide the Parish Council through the process. This does not mean starting at the

beginning but there is work to do. We welcome hearing from residents who would

like to help take this forward.

For information about the Neighbourhood Plan and other major planning issues we

would refer you to Heslington Parish website and the minutes of Heslington Parish

Council Meetings. The information there is impartial, and we believe it accurately

reflects the differing views of a range of residents.

Published by Heslington Parish Council 17th July 2021

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