The Neighbourhood Plan
In 2019, Norton St Philip Parish Council sent their Neighbourhood Plan to the former Mendip District Council, for examination under Part 5 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended).
The Neighbourhood Plan for Norton St Philip was considered by Cabinet on 2 September 2019. This was with a recommendation that the modified Plan should proceed to a local referendum. The Cabinet has resolved to accept the recommendation.
This decision was later challenged by way of a Judicial Review. Following hearings in the High Court and Court of Appeal, the Cabinet decision to approve the Norton St Philip Neighbourhood Plan and allow it to proceed to referendum was quashed on 2 October 2020.
On 1 March 2021, Cabinet agreed to carry out consultation on further modifications to the Plan. This was done with the earlier modifications identified by the Examiner and at the Cabinet meeting of 2 September 2019. These proposed modifications are set out in Appendix 1, which you can view below:
Consultation took place from 3 March to 23 April 2021. You can find the representations on this page.
The Mendip District Council cabinet report of 1 March 2021 set out an intention to bring a report back as soon as possible. This was to consider responses to the consultation before deciding whether the Plan (as modified) should proceed to a referendum.
An additional housing site in Norton St Philip was proposed in the Local Plan Part 2 – Main Modifications, and evidence was considered with other sites in a second round of public examination hearings in Nov and Dec 2020. The Inspector’s Report will be considered in the council’s recommendations on the Neighbourhood Plan as it expects to receive this soon.
Representations received in response to Further Modifications consultation
View and download PDFs of the letters of representation.
Injunction and Judicial Review
This Neighbourhood Plan was subject to a Judicial Review challenging the decision of Council Cabinet made on 2 September 2019. This was to accept the Examiner’s report and allow the neighbourhood plan to proceed to referendum. You can view the High Court Judgement dismissing this challenge on all grounds. An application to the Court of Appeal was made on 1 June 2020 and heard on 28 July 2020. View the Grounds of Appeal document.
Judgement was received on 2 October 2020. View the Judgement.
The Judgement upholds the council’s position on 3 substantive grounds of appeal. The Judgement concludes that:
- 10 Local Green Spaces are lawfully designated by the Plan
- the Neighbourhood Plan Examiner had enough expertise and experience and understood the policy background to the Plan
- the Neighbourhood Plan did not misinterpret strategic policies in the development plan.
However, the Judgement rules that policy 5, setting out the types of development that may be permitted within the Local Green Spaces, is more restrictive than national policy and the additional restrictions had not been sufficiently justified in the Plan.
As policy 5 is not considered lawful, the council’s decision to submit the Plan to referendum is therefore quashed – view the decision order.
The council is now considering how best to support the community in Norton St Philip and to move towards an amended Neighbourhood Plan, on which a referendum can be held. Any changes to the plan will be subject to additional consultation.
Referendum documents - September 2019
You can view below the Plan and supporting documents which were subject to injunction and legal challenge.
The Neighbourhood Plan (September 2019) as modified: Norton St Philip Neighbourhood Plan with modifications
The Character Assessment (September 2019) as modified: Character Assessment – as modified
Summary of representations made at regulation 16: Regulation 16 Summary of Responses
The Examiner’s report and Neighbourhood Plan as submitted are available below.
Norton St Philip Neighbourhood Plan examination report
Norton St Philip Parish Council submitted their Neighbourhood Plan to the former Mendip District Council for examination under Part 5 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended), and consultation was carried out under Regulation 16 between Friday 1 March 2019 and Friday 12 April 2019. Representations were received during this period. An examination of the plan was made and the Examination Report was received on 19 July 2019.
The documents submitted for examination are listed below:
- Norton St Philip Neighbourhood Plan
- Norton St Philip Neighbourhood Plan – appendices
- Basic Conditions statement
- Neighbourhood Plan area
- Consultation statement
- Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Screening Report and Habitats Regulations Assessment Screening Report
Evidence Base documents
Representations received in response to Regulation 16 consultation
1. Roy Clarke on behalf of Bina Ford – redacted
2. Coal Authority response received 1 April 2019 – redacted
3. Lochailort Investments – redacted
4. Natural England – redacted
5. Rocke Associates on behalf of Bell Hill Garage – redacted
6. Historic England – redacted
7. John Oliver – redacted
8. Councillor Linda Oliver – redacted
9. Rights of Way Somerset Council – redacted
Qualifying Body response to representations received
On 9 April 2018, the former Mendip District Council resolved that the Norton St Philip Neighbourhood Area be designated in accordance with Section 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended for the purposes of Neighbourhood Planning.
The ‘Qualifying Body’ applying for designation is Norton St Philip Parish Council.
Copies of the decision report and Area application are available to download below: