To consider the designation as a Neighbourhood Area of Burneside Parish.
Note – Councillors Giles Archibald and Jonathan Brook declared other registrable interests in this item of business both by virtue of the fact that they were Members of Kendal Town Council which had submitted a written objection to the proposal. Having sought legal advice from the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer), both Members felt it to be appropriate to remain in the meeting, however, to not take part in the discussion and to abstain in the voting on the item. Councillor Archibald remained in the Chair for the item.
The Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder presented the report, informing Members that, under the Localism Act, 2011, communities could shape new development by preparing Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Orders.
On 19 April 2016, Burneside Parish Council had submitted an application for a Neighbourhood Plan area that constituted the whole of Burneside Parish (Strickland Ketel and Strickland Roger) excluding those parts of the Parish within the development boundary of Kendal in the South Lakeland Local Plan – Land Allocations. These allocations were West of High Sparrowmire and part of North of Laurel Gardens. The Neighbourhood Area had been formally approved by South Lakeland District Council on 29 June 2016.
Burneside Parish falls partly within South Lakeland’s area as Local Planning Authority (LPA) and partly within the Lake District National Park Authority’s (LDNPA’s) area as LPA and the application had been made to both LPAs accordingly.
On 28 January 2020, Burneside Parish Council had submitted an application to the Council and LDNPA for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area following informal discussions with officers from the Strategy Team and in liaison with the LDNPA’s equivalent officers. The proposed Neighbourhood Area constituted all of Burneside Parish. This application, therefore, constituted a variation to the currently designated Burneside Neighbourhood Area.
Under the Neighbourhood Planning (General) and Development Management Procedure (Amendment) Regulation 2016, LPAs had to designate (approve) a Neighbourhood Area in cases where an application was received from a Parish Council which consisted of the whole of the parish council area. The regulations did not require LPAs to invite representations to be made where an application met this criteria.
An anomaly now existed between the current legislation and the Council’s Constitution. Legislation was clear that there was no discretion and that a LPA must approve a Neighbourhood Area application if it met the criteria. Under the Council’s Constitution, the Director of People and Places (now Director of Strategy, Innovation, and Resources) had delegated powers to approve any further applications for the designation of Neighbourhood Areas in respect of parishes that were wholly or partly outside the Lake District National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park only where:-
(a) the applications related to the designation of single whole parishes, excluding areas of any other parishes; and
(b) no substantive objections were received.
In order for the delegated power to be exercised and in compliance with the Council’s Constitution requirements, the application had been publicised and representations had been invited. The representations received were outlined in Section 4.0 of the report. There had been three objections to the application, and these were considered to be substantive in nature. The objections had been considered, and a response to each was provided at paragraph 4.4 of the report. Due to substantive objections having been received, under the Council’s Constitution, the decision needed to be made by Cabinet.
Given that the legal regulations required LPAs to designate Neighbourhood Area Applications as submitted, and taking into account the representations received, it was considered that the proposed Neighbourhood Area was appropriate and that the Council should designate the Neighbourhood Area as proposed.
The report indicated that the LDNPA had formally agreed to designate the Neighbourhood Area.
Members acknowledged the need to comply with regulations as stated within the report.
In light of notice of the intention to abstain raised by Councillors Archibald and Brook, a vote was taken on the proposals.
RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-
(1) the outcome of the consultation and objections referred to within the report; and
(2) that the Neighbourhood Area application submitted by Burneside Parish Council on 28 January 2020 and published on 16 April 2020 will now be designated as a Neighbourhood Area of Burneside Parish in accordance with Regulation 5A of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) and Development Management Procedure (Amendment) Regulation 2016.
Reasons for Decision
Progressing a Neighbourhood Plan will help to ensure that people have a greater say in what happens in their area, empowering people, which is a Council Plan Value. Additionally, it is likely to support delivery of Economic Growth, Balanced Community, and responding to climate change and enhancing biodiversity priorities, depending on the content of the final Plan.
The designation as a Neighbourhood Area of Burneside Parish will enable the Parish Council to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for the Parish as a whole.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
There are no alternative options other than to approve the designation of the area applied for. Under Regulation 5A as inserted by the Neighbourhood Planning (General) and Development Management Procedure (Amendment) Regulations 2016 the Local Planning Authority must designate the specified area as a neighbourhood area.
If the Council refused the application, this would be contrary to legal regulations which state the Local Planning Authority has to designate the Neighbourhood Area, and would prevent Burneside Parish Council from preparing a Neighbourhood Plan that consists of the whole Parish area. The Council would be required under the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 7(2) to publish a document stating its reasons for the refusal.