Start up public event
There were Drop-In events at Harbertonford Village Hall, Saturday 8th June, and at Harberton Parish Hall on Sunday 9th June. The purpose of these events was to identify the concerns of villagers. Around 30 people came to each event. The subcommittee will now be ordering the approximately 150 yellow notes which resulted. If you missed the meetings, or have afterthoughts, you can still comment on the public comment page or you can send your comments to Geoff Broom at email@example.com
The inaugural meeting of the neighbourhood plan subcommittee of the Parish Council, together with volunteers, was held on 8th May 2013. The minutes are here.
Note that some links below to South Hams District Council do not work due to changes to SHDC website. They will be repaired if possible.
The localism act 2011 allows communities to plan the development of their area. The possibilities, restrictions and procedures are described in a booklet:
This booklet describes the national guidance. Our own local plan has also to take account of existing documents concerning our local planning.
Much of this local documentation is already on this website on the page www.harbertonford.org/index.php/Region/HousingDPD
How this initiative started
At the Harberton Parish Council meeting on 13 March 2012, councillors debated the neighbourhood plan issue and authorised Geoff Broom and Tim Padfield to research the demand for a neighbourhood plan by distributing a questionnaire. The result of this enquiry was presented to the July Parish Council Meeting.
Here is a map of the Parish (note that all maps display 500 px wide but may be downloaded at higher resolution)
The localism act allows neighbourhood plans to cover areas ranging from a single street to an entire parish, and even allows neighbouring parishes to collaborate on a single plan which crosses their border.
Earlier community opinions
Two local opinion surveys can be used as a starting point for developing the Neighbourhood plan, since hardly any of the opinions expressed have been realised.
The Harberton & Harbertonford Community Appraisal, http://www.harbertonford.org/uploads/Parish/appraisal1999.pdf was published in January 1999. This is a scanned version, since the DCC no longer offers it on its website.
The Community Council of Devon contacted the Parish Council asking that a similar exercise be conducted in 2009. The councillors decided that the Appraisal has not changed to any significant degree in the past decade and did not warrant the work necessary to compile a brand new document.
However, Geoff Broom undertook to repeat the appraisal for Harbertonford alone. His compilation is The Harbertonford Community appraisal 2010, http://www.harbertonford.org/uploads/Parish/survey2009.pdf
Existing housing allocation which cannot be changed
The hatched areas are allocated for housing in the DPD. The allocation cannot be changed but the details of layout and access can be.
Existing documents from DCC and SHDC which may affect the Neighbourhood Plan
Rural Areas Site Allocation DPD
Existing local plans from the higher level of district and county councils must be respected as "prior art" and are not allowed to be contradicted by the Neighbourhood Plan.
South Hams Local Development Framework, Core Strategy
This is the core strategy for the area, on which several local settlement-specific plans are based.
"2.3 A LDF comprises a portfolio of documents that together set out the planning policies and proposals for the area. It will include a Core Strategy, Core Policies, site specific allocations, Area Action Plans (where needed), a Proposals Map and a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI). More detailed guidance will be contained in documents known as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD)."
This is not the whole of it:
"2.5 ... The timetable for the production of documents is set out in the South Hams Local Development Scheme (LDS).
Moving back up the hierarchy to national documents, there is more:
"2.6 The wider context for planning in the South Hams is set by national, regional and county guidance. At national level, Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) are replacing Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs). These are available on the Department of Communities and Local Government website www.communities.gov.uk. At regional level, guidance to 2016 (RPG10) was approved in September 2001 and 5 will be replaced by a new statutory regional plan called a Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). The RSS is being prepared by the South West Regional Assembly (as the Regional Planning Body) and will have a horizon to 2026. The preparation of the RSS has been informed by a number of sub-regional studies, including those for the Plymouth and Torbay sub-regions, which are relevant for the South Hams. The Submission version of the RSS was published for consultation in June 2006 and is due to be adopted in 2008. The RSS documents are available at www.southwest-ra.gov.uk. The Core Strategy review process will need to interpret the final version of the RSS when it is adopted. At county level, the Devon Structure Plan sets the strategy for Devon to 2016. Structure Plans have been abolished under the new Act, but the Devon Structure Plan will be saved for three years from adoption (October 2004) or until replaced by the new Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS)."
Turning now to the search for the RSS, which was designed to control development to 2026, it can be traced only as a draft version on the obsolete archive page of the abolished South West Regional Assembly:
It seems we are still waiting on the definitive RSS but the trail ends on Aug6 2008 with the opening of a public consultation period. While waiting for further developments one can browse a scrub landscape of contributory documents with strange acronyms.
At county level there is the Devon county structure plan http://www.devon.gov.uk/devon_county_structure_plan and the Devon Local Transport Plan http://www.devon.gov.uk/dltp.htm.
So there are lots of documents for the persistent reader to plough through. Speed reading is an essential skill because the ratio of relevant information to aspirational candy is very small.
Summary of the community wish list
The 1999 survey showed a strong demand for more tree planting, in a community orchard, for example, and a community public space of a natural appearance. There was an undefined wish for better sports facilities.
The 2009 Harbertonford survey added allotments, now realised, and repeated the wish for picnic area, orchard and sports facilities. It also added a cafe and suggested moving the pub, not as a building but as a facility. Car parking was identified as a major problem in both surveys.
Both surveys were sympathetic to small scale social housing but not to major expansion of the village.
New in the 2009 survey was a wish to see more green energy initiatives. An interesting contrast to the present unrest over wind turbines.
The perceived danger of the main road through Harbertonford figures in both surveys.
From this review, which is reinforced by a detailed reading of the two documents, we can distill a few important aspirations:
Traffic through Harbertonford is a major problem - dividing the village physically and giving constant daytime noise and anxiety in crossing that spoils the atmosphere. Parking in the village is difficult and also spoils the atmosphere through disputes over parking spaces and accidental damage to cars in the narrow streets.
The lack of public open space is a paradox of country life in the south Hams. There are no footpaths starting in the village, or even within two kilometres. There are two green lanes, one of which is scarcely accessible because one has to negotiate a narrow portion of the A381 with no footpath and rocky sides giving no escape. There is no 'right to roam' area south of Dartmoor. There is no open woodland.
Many social wishes could be met by extending the services of the village hall. It is much used, but could be extended with a covered sports hall, and an open air cafe area.
There are several sites adjacent to the village where a few houses could be built, by self-builders or by local families. These were set out in the early drafts of the housing development exercise by SH forward planning but were not incorporated in the final DPD. (see the SHDC pages for the evolution of the DPD)
Most of the initiatives sketched out here involve acquiring land from private landowners, or securing right of passage over such land. This neighbourhood plan will succeed or fail depending on the cooperation of land owners.
Neighbouring plans for inspiration and comparison
Nearby communities with registered neighbourhood plans in preparation:
Ugborough, Salcombe, Ivybridge, Totnes, Paignton, Torquay.
Ugborough is the community most like ours in population and situation. The others are considerably larger.
There must be a demand for a neighbourhood plan. The questionnaire (linked at the top of the page) is the first stage. Assuming a positive response, plan boundaries must be established. At this stage the plan must be submitted to South Hams District Council for formal approval to proceed.
A few remarks which are relevant to the debate as it affects Harberton parish
From the core strategy
p 13: "SO23: Promote development which will help to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases."
p24: In accordance with Government guidance, [housing] development should be advanced at the highest density compatible with the site, which will generally be within the ranges of 30 - 40 dwellings per hectare in rural areas
This might be acceptable if accompanied by provision of open space and allotment space adjacent to the development.
p36 "6.10 The other principal form of development which can potentially deliver affordable housing is on what are known as ‘Exception Sites’. The Council anticipates that such sites would be adjoining the settlements identified in Policy CS1 on land where new-build housing would not normally be permitted. Such development is therefore an ‘exception’ to policy. In line with Government guidance, 100% of the houses on exception sites must be affordable homes. The detailed policy on this issue will be included in the Development Control Core Policies document."
Presumably the "Community right to build order" supersedes the "Exception Sites" concept.
p48 "6.38 The Council’s overall vision in relation to tourism is that the South Hams should become the premier UK “Green” tourism destination..."
p50 "6.42 ...national policy also supports rural and agricultural diversification where it is environmentally acceptable. The Council recognises that the diversification of economic activity on farms is an important element of the district’s rural economy.
p50 "2. Development must re-use or adapt existing buildings where possible."
Let us try to retain the structure of the derelict mill in Harbertonford.
This wiki allows readers to comment directly on the page. However, in this case we want people to respond to the formal questionnaire, so this page is read-only. If the process is approved by the Parish and District Councils, interactive pages will be added to this website.