SNUB ask to be at the vanguard of local planning

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have asked all local authorities in England to send out a request to local Parish Councils and Community groups to participate in what they call Neighbourhood Planning Vanguards scheme.  The concept for this scheme was introduced in the Localism Bill on the 13th Dec.  Our esteemed leaders at Broadland District Council (BDC) decided to issue an invitation on the 17th Dec to local Parish Councils but only those who have completed a Parish Plan!

Now whilst the speed of this may seem like good forward planning we in SNUB take a different view.  We believe that if this invitation was a genuine attempt to involve the community it should have gone through three internal BDC committees and Cabinet before the invitation was issued.  We understand that it was discussed at the Place Shaping Committee on the 15th Dec but with only 4 working days between publication by DCLG and the letter issued by BDC, this was the only committee who saw this before publication.

Once again we see the secretive and inner cabal of Cabinet and senior officers over stepping the mark in terms of their delegated powers.  Indeed the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (the council’s own internal audit function) expressed similar views at their meeting on the 4th Jan where elected members requested an extension to the time given to Parish Councils to respond.  The minutes record the following:

“Members express concern that the deadline for responses from parish and town councils was unrealistic, as most only had monthly meetings and lacked the resources to respond so quickly. A Member also suggested that small communities were unlikely to be interested in taking part in such a costly exercise.”

The net result of this is that Rackheath Parish Council at their meeting on Wednesday 19th Jan had not seen the invitation, as they have not completed a Parish Plan and even if they had the self-imposed deadline issued by BDC was Friday 7th Jan.  BDC then held a meeting for those interested on Wednesday 19th Jan the same night that Rackheath Parish Council had their meeting.  Bear in mind however that DCLG do not require responses until 14th Feb.

We also believe that Salhouse Parish Council, who have submitted a Parish Plan, have not had the time to discuss this due to the timings of their meetings.  So there we have it; the two Parishes directly affected by these development plans have not had the opportunity to respond either through de-selection by the inner cabal or by self-imposed and unrealistic time scales by BDC.  Hardly fair or democratic.

This point is worth considering; BDC issue an invitation the week before Christmas knowing that all Parish Councils had already held their final meeting before the festive season.  They provide 17 working days over the holiday period for a response from people who do this on a part time volunteer basis and then allow themselves, full time professional staff at BDC, 30 working days to respond to DCLG!  Once again hardly fair or democratic.

As a consequence of this SNUB have approached DCLG direct to request that SNUB are considered as a suitable community group to develop their own Neighbourhood Planning Vanguards scheme thus by passing BDC.  We would of course work closely with local Parish Councils however we see nothing in the guidance that prohibits groups like SNUB participating in their own right.  The insistence on using Parish or Town Councils is the BDC interpretation as, we believe, a way of maintaining control of an area that they are losing control in ie local planning!  There is £20,000 for each group that participates in this scheme and we are of the view that based on previous experiences we would achieve a much better return on this investment then the power hungry bureaucrats at BDC.  We will wait and see what DCLG say.


  1. I cannot comprehend why we are paying councillors to attend these meetings. They are just treated as cannon fodder. Once again the inner group of Proctor and Kirby arrange for all the power to be delegated to themselves. The rest of them just acquiesce .

    I cannot believe it is legal to hold all these meetings back to back in this way, it certainly lacks morality. Even the Overvew and Scrutiny Committee scarcely dissented. What price democracy in Broadland today.

    George Bernard Shaw wrote
    "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few."

  2. Please allow me to correct some misunderstandings. Broadland District Council extended the invitation to express an interest in the Neighbourhood Vanguard Scheme to all of our Parish and Town Councils and not just those who had previously produced a Parish Plan.

    As you observed the CLG deadline is short and we wasted no time in getting the invitation to express an interest out by the 17th December.

    The topic was discussed through the Place Shaping Committee, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Broadland’s Cabinet.

    We were advised that Rackheath Parish Council had not received their letter and have provided them with all the information they need, so they may well express their interest in being a pilot.

    Representatives from Salhouse Parish certainly attended the briefing meeting for interested parties and as far as we are aware will be discussing this at their parish council meeting on 2nd February. After which they may well decide to express an interest.

    The timescale set by CLG is tight and Broadland allowed time for Broadland Officers to work with those Parish Councils who expressed an interest, hence the deadline to receive expressions of interest by 7th January.

    A number of Parish Councils did express an interest within the timescale despite some of them not having meetings in the interim.

  3. yet again it would appear that someone has failed to fully read the pronouncements of government and mae a correct interpretation rather than one than suits their own interests and serves to misrepresent the position to an unsuspecting audience. I may not be Broadland Council's no 1 fan, but they do at least provide an accurate representation of the facts, which any individual can read for themselves if they chose to.
    Rackheath resident

  4. Another anonymous says....yet again it would appear that a member of the unsuspecting audience has failed to read the pronouncements by BDC managers and made an incorrect representation of their accuracies rather than a correct interpretation of their inaccuracies.This may be one of many small points but I must 'put this baby to bed'!Selected Parish Councils did NOT receive vanguard documents untill 24th December ( fact)....Rackheath Parish Council ( the same Rackheath which will see the greatest removal of land, etc.and probably the one Parish Council that should have been on the XMAS card list)WAS NOT!( fact),....a member of the public brought the vanguard documents to the attention of the PC on Mon 17th Jan...10 days after the closing date...and 2 days later at the Rackheath PC meeting,was still shocked to find that the majority of the Rackheath PC, still knew nothing of this? and furthermore, a member of the public brought this to the attention of the Local District councilor,who then embarrassingly said he would report it to BDC, stating that it was because Rackheath had not published a parish plan that they were not my question is,who is being economical with the truth here?...the BDC manager or the Local District Councilor?....seems to me that people who represent local majority views do provide an EXACT representation of the truth.

  5. I have spoken with the district councillor and he was happy to clarify what he had spoken about at the meeting. He had suggested that a Neighbourhood Plan, whilst it would need to be consistent with the Local Development Framework, would have more statutory weight than a Parish Plan would. (Although a Parish Plan could be a material consideration in planning matters) The fact that Rackheath did not receive their written invitation or the subsequent e-mail reminder sent to all parishes (those who we don’t have e-mail addresses for were sent a hard copy. Rackheath was sent their reminder by e-mail) is a concern. Regarding the post if we cast our minds back there was widespread postal disruption and backlog at the time caused by a prolonged period of bad weather coinciding with the busy Christmas postal period. When the district councillor was informed that Rackheath’s invitation had not arrived he acted immediately and the information was given to them. Subsequently Rackheath have expressed an interest. 13 parishes in total have expressed an interest to us – 9 in response to the original mailing and 3 in response to the follow up e-mail plus Rackheath We will be looking to see if we can improve our communications with town and parish councils, perhaps capturing receipts that messages have been delivered and read.

  6. Anonymous appears from the BDC communications managers' reply that the information from SNUB is indeed an accurate and 'correct' representations of the facts...I owe you an apology and will follow SNUB postings with a renewd outlook...Ms.Doy should remember that 'he excuses himself;accuses himself...thank you, Rackheath resident (and her family).

  7. I certainly did not make the comment attributed to me above. I'm not interested in the comments made by Ms Doy, which I would expect to be accurate. I am more concerned with SNUB suggesting that they could take part in the Vanguards scheme when a reading of the proposed regulations clearly shows that where Parish Councils exist. they are the body who can take on this role, not some self selected group of people. Furthermore the starting point is also the agreed level of growth, which in Rackheath's case will be 4000 or so houses, which I thought SNUB were opposed to. I would much rather the people of Rackheath through their Parish Council decide how to deal with 4000 houses than people from outside the Parish. Its not rocket science, someone just needs to read the documents thoroughly first before making inaccurate statements, which makes you look even more out of touch. And to make a comment on my behalf to suggest that I was wrong and I apologise to SNUB for being so, beggers belief. How many other comments on here are being written by the same individual?
    Rackheath resident

  8. Anonymous said....If the last comment had taken the time to look at the post script, they would have clearly seen Rackheath resident ( and her family) so where the thought of of anybody commenting on their behalf comes from, IS BEYOND ME! but in reply, thousand of residents from Rackheath, as well as surrounding villages have NEVER agreed to 4000 houses in the area as a 'starting point'( and come to mention it, neither have the Parish fact, you will find they were and still are, opposed to this,as is SNUB).... and the above seems to forget, SNUB were asked to represent the local Communities by the people themselves through meetings and how you can comment that they are self elected is also beyond me? members of the public who are willing to give up thier own spare time to represent the communinty deserve nothing but respect..these so- called 'housing targets'are were imposition upon us from unrealistic targets set firstly by government and secondly DCLG / BDC and their 'partnerships! and if anonymous above thinks they are so up-to-date with everything, then she too should try giving up some spare time to represent the true feelings of her community...RACKHEATH RESIDENT ( AND HER FAMILY).

  9. Richard Williams31 January 2011 at 10:15

    The council policy was explained to the Parishes at a meeting on 19th January. Under the Vanguard scheme you have first to accept the ridiculously high development schemes as already put forward by the Council under the Joint Core Strategy, the LDF.
    The only adjustment a neighbourhood scheme can make is upward. Your Parish Council can propose more development but not less.

    No wonder they want the PC's to buy into it, by so doing the parishes will be accepting the District Councils present plan for 10,000 houses in the Growth Triangle and a minimum of 37,500 houses in the GNDP area.

    As this is a government scheme they are as economical with the truth as the District Council, since they give the impression that local people can influence planning in their neighbourhood.

  10. Reading all the comments, let us be quite clear that the BDC letter was NOT received by Rackheath PC. How anyone can be so stupid to expect a letter dated 17th December to be received promptly is amazing. Once again it RUSH, RUSH which is just not Democracy. Don't be too hard on SNUB, at least they represented all of us residents at the Planning Enquiry.

  11. Amazed to see the Broadland comment that this important document was agreed by just three small Committees. Is this DEMOCRACY ? Where they all happy with this rush.

  12. Just a warning. Trust Broadland Council at your peril.

  13. Leopards and spots!! Duplicity and deviousness seem to be the watchwords here,its to be hoped that the planning inspectors have their measure and cut them down to size