Cold Ash NDP can go forward to Referendum

We have great news…

West Berkshire Council (WBC) has accepted the recommendations of the independent Examiner and decided that our NDP can go forward to referendum. The referendum will be the final step in the process that has taken over 5 years. The referendum has been scheduled for the 2nd of May 2024. There is a risk that it may not happen on that date, if a general election is called in the meantime, however WBC is making the preparations to hold the referendum on that date, which is also the date of the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The whole process in now in the control of WBC. Cold Ash Parish Council (CAPC) and the Cold Ash NDP Steering Group’s formal involvement in the process has ended. Obviously, we still have a strong interest in the outcome of the referendum, however CAPC are not permitted to influence the outcome of the referendum, in any way. We are permitted to share the facts that will help our parishioners decide on which way to vote. So, here are the facts:

  • The LibDems, as the majority party on the West Berkshire Council, strongly recommend that all areas of West Berkshire be covered by an NDP.
  • The Conservatives, as the main minority party, made the following statement in their monthly parish newsletter ‘It is now even more pressing for rural parishes to consider developing Neighbourhood Plans which might provide some protection against unwanted excessive housing’.

The plan has been subject to several rounds of consultation. The responses to the plan, and the individual policies within it, have always been extremely positive. The main consultation, held in October 2021, resulted in positive responses from over 80% of respondents on the vast majority of the policies proposed.

  • The examination, by an independent examiner, made few recommendations that required changes to be made to the plan. Cold Ash Parish Council is content that the plan is materially unaffected by the required changes and is substantially the same plan that was consulted on.
  • A positive outcome in the referendum would establish our NDP as part of the Local Plan. This would provide a formal basis on which to ensure that local considerations are taken into account when decisions are made on the location and type of development taking place within our parish. This provides the Parish Council with the levers required to better represent the interests of you, our parishioners.

The referendum will be the culmination of over 5 years of work, involving thousands of hours of effort. All of this has been done to provide the right conditions in which to maintain and evolve our parish, so that it continues be a wonderful place to live.

We encourage all electors within the parish to vote in the referendum.

Ivor McArdle, On behalf of Cold Ash Parish Council

Good news! Our NDP has now entered the Regulation 16 stage.

Good news! Our NDP has now entered the Regulation 16 stage. Below is the communication of this from West Berkshire Council, which includes the aims of Regulation 16 and how to contribute to the formal consultation, should you wish to.

Cold Ash Parish Council has been working on its neighbourhood plan which has recently been submitted to West Berkshire District Council. After submission, responsibility for taking the plans forward lies with the local planning authority. 

Neighbourhood plans are formal planning documents prepared by Town and Parish Councils in consultation with their local community. They allow local people to shape the future of the areas in which they live, and they include policies for development and the use of land. 

The neighbourhood plan for Cold Ash, also known as the Cold Ash Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), will guide development in the parish of Cold Ash to 2039.

We are carrying out a consultation on the Cold Ash NDP from Friday 21 July until 4:30pm on Friday 1 September 2023. The consultation is also known as ‘Regulation 16 Consultation’. We would like to invite your comments on the submitted plans and their supporting documents.

How to comment on the Cold Ash NDP:

The submission Cold Ash NDP and its supporting documents can be viewed:

  • Online: https://www.westberks.gov.uk/coldashnp;
  • At West Berkshire District Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD. The offices are open Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm, and on Fridays 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Representations can be made in writing or by way of electronic communications:

  • Online: using the Council’s Local Plan Consultation Portal which can be accessed at: https://consult.westberks.gov.uk/kse/. You will need to register, but then any comments you make will be stored in your account for future reference. Registration is possible using a Facebook or Twitter account.
  • By Representation Form which is available to download at: https://www.westberks.gov.uk/coldashnp. Completed forms can be returned by email to planningpolicy@westberks.gov.uk or by post to: Planning Policy Team, Development and Regulation, West Berkshire District Council, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD.

All representations must be received by 4:30pm on Friday 1 September 2023.

What happens next?

Once the consultations finish, the Cold Ash NDP will undergo independent examination. The representations received on the Cold Ash NDP will be forwarded to the appointed examiner. 

The opportunity for further comments at this stage would only be at the specific request of the examiners. Most neighbourhood plans are examined without the need for a public hearing. If you think the neighbourhood plan requires a public hearing, you can state this in your comments, but the examiners will make the final decision.

Following the examinations, the examiner will issue a report, which could include some recommended changes to the draft plans to meet a set of tests known as ‘Basic Conditions’. If this part of the process is successful, the next stage would be to proceed to a Referendum.

If the Cold Ash NDP is successful at Referendum, then the plan will form part of the statutory development plan and will form the basis for determining planning applications in Cold Ash Parish and Hermitage Parish.

Kind regards,

Planning Policy Team

Development and Regulation – West Berkshire Council