Newbury Town Plan

Introduction

Newbury Planning and Highways Committee, through its Planning and Highways Committee has resolved to prepare a Newbury Town Plan. The Committee has further resolved that the area to be covered by the Plan should be the Newbury Settlement Area, as defined in the current West Berkshire District Council Core Strategy.

It is expected that the Newbury Town Plan will contribute to the review of the Core Strategy and, when adopted, will be a material consideration when considering applications for planning permission within the settlement area.

Process

The Planning and Highways Committee will take the lead in the preparation and drafting of the Town Plan. In order to implement and progress the Plan. It is recommended that the Committee establishes a Steering Group, which will report regularly to the Committee.
The Committee will consider all of the reports and recommendations of the Steering Group and will present a draft Plan to Full Council for approval to go to public consultation.
The Steering Group will consider all of the responses received from the public consultation and report back to the Planning and Highways Committee. The Committee will consider this report and send a final draft to Full Council for approval.

Why do we need a Steering Group?

Due to the work involved in producing the Town Plan, we will require additional people to those who are on the existing Planning and Highways Committee. The establishment of a Steering Group will enable us to draw on the expertise, experience and contribution of other interested parties and stakeholders and give them more responsibility, involvement and “ownership” of the Plan.
A Steering Group should be able to:

  • Consider the overall aims of the Town Plan.
  • Set a project plan and monitor activities against the timetable outlined
  • Report regularly to its parent Committee, Planning and Highways, including recommendations, and receive prompt and constructive feedback

What is the main role of a Steering Group?

As the Planning and Highways Committee remains the responsible body for the Town Plan, the Steering Group must report to the Committee on a regular basis and receive ongoing endorsement, via Planning and Highways Committee minutes, during production of the Town Plan.
The Steering Group will need to develop a project plan and consultation plan for the production of the Town Plan within any budget and time –frame agreed by the Planning and Highways Committee. The Planning and Highways Committee are accountable for the expenditure and ensuring that the project remains on track.
Therefore, the Steering Group needs to keep the Planning and Highways Committee informed of any changes in timetable or budget requirements.

Setting up a Steering Group

The Steering Group should be representative of the Plan area. As the plan area covers more than the parish of Newbury, this should be reflected in the membership of the Group. We should consider inviting representation from the other parishes (or parts of parishes) covered by the plan area.
The Steering Group may include both Planning and Highways Committee members and members of the community. There is no required size for a Group but smaller Groups can sometimes lack the breadth of experience or resources required whilst larger ones can lose focus.
• Throughout the development and implementation period of the Town Plan there needs to be a standing Town Plan item on the Planning and Highways Committee agenda.
• There should be minutes of Planning and Highways Committee decisions in relation to the Steering Group and Town Plan.
• The Steering Group may identify a need for funded expertise from other bodies and make recommendations to the Planning and Highways Committee.
• Budget responsibility lies with the Planning and Highways Committee and not the Steering Group.
• It is recommended that the Steering Group gives a presentation to the town via a town meeting, at key stages of the Town Plan process.
• Conflict within the Steering Group should be referred to the Planning and Highways Committee.
• Terms of Reference used by the Steering Group will have been agreed by the Planning and Highways Committee.  

There is no set of rules needed, however, it is recommended for the Steering Group meetings there needs to be:
• A ‘Terms of Reference’ developed that are approved by the Planning and Highways Committee- See Terms of Reference below.
• A chair or facilitator, through which all discussion is handled.
• An agenda, which discussion should follow.
• Meetings support, to be provided by Newbury Town Council

Finance considerations

The financial implications of your Town Plan will be a key priority throughout the process. However there are some considerations the Steering Group will need to be aware of.
Points include:
• A budget will be agreed by the Planning and Highways Committee.
• Substantial decisions, such as contracting a planning consultant, must be approved by the Planning and Highways Committee. The Planning and Highways Committee will also need to approve the terms and conditions of the contract.
• Any commissioning of funded expertise from other bodies must be undertaken by the Planning and Highways Committee.

Terms of Reference

Producing a simple ‘Terms of Reference’ for the Group would be helpful. This should set out the purpose and remit of the Group and the reporting and decision making procedures.

Terms of Reference for the Steering Group should be approved by a meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee.

Town Plan - Terms of Reference