August Update

Continuing to evaluate the comments

We are carrying on with the work of examining the comments submitted following the Regulation 14 Consultation. Our aim is to take relevant suggestions and find ways to improve the wording of policies and therefore enhance consequent outcomes relating to the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan. Residents will have to live with the developments proposed for around Knebworth by the NHDC Local Plan, if implemented, but our intention is to diminish any disadvantages to reach a successful conclusion for the whole parish.

As mentioned last month, there were over 400 comments that need to be looked at, these could be broken down into:

  • Excellent suggestions that we will be able to incorporate,
  • Excellent suggestions that are outside of any Neighbourhood Plan scope,
  • Good ideas that will help us rewording some policies to strengthen them,
  • Some embarrassing ‘typos’ that we failed to spot despite proof reading it several times,
  • Some interpretations of the document that we need to clarify,
  • Some unusual and new ideas that we will consider for an Action Plan.

Once this is done, we need to update our Basic Conditions Statement and our Consultation Statement, which will show who we consulted and how. In addition, there will be a summary of the main issues and concerns raised through the consultation process and how they were addressed. After that, it’s back to the Parish Council for approval.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

July Update

Examine, reconsider, modify, improve
The Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) Pre-Submission Document

Thank you to those of you who submitted your comments regarding the KNP Pre-Submission Document. To ensure that everyone who wished to had the opportunity to comment, we extended the original consultation period until midnight on 31st May. Many gave their comments on several aspects of the Plan and, as a result, we will be reviewing:

  • 324 individual comments from a total of 27 residents and organisations
  • 90 individual comments from statutory consultees

Statutory consultees include local community organisations, neighbouring parish or district councils and bodies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, English Heritage and many others.

As you can imagine, this will take some time. Every comment will be considered and evaluated. We expect the comments to result in improvements to the wording of the policies and other parts of the plan. The changes we make will be logged in a spreadsheet which will be included in the Consultation Statement.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

Final call for feedback

Use the form at the back of the Summary document: submit it online, by emailing a copy to clerk@knebworthpc.org.uk
OR
Leave paper forms in the Village Hall post box (Annexe Entrance).
OR
Online, using the form on the website

If you have any queries relating to the dKNP, please leave a message on the Parish Council answerphone (01438 813795) and someone will get back to you as soon as they can.
Please leave your name, telephone number and query (including section reference, if possible).

The full draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan can be found online.

June Update

As it turns out, planning is a complex issue. This is something the KNP Steering Committee has learned during the past four years of developing the Draft KNP, sometimes to their cost. There have been some disappointments when a lot of time has been spent on a topic that the residents of Knebworth have very strong views about and they are later revealed to be ‘out of scope’ of what a Neighbourhood Plan is allowed to cover, ie “not planning”, according to our specialist consultant. However we have used many of them in our Action Plan to be taken forward independently.

On the other hand, we have learned a lot and have developed an understanding of the process. An official government process that needs to be followed does exist. We have listened carefully to the views of local residents and stakeholders. Our open days and various consultations have been well received on the whole and we have listened intently to what you want. This was the basis of the Draft KNP, ie how to make our neighbourhood the best it can be under the guidelines as far as we can under your direction.

There were several times that we wondered if we would ever get to the end*, there were events that conspired to prolong the process. After all, who could have imagined that a viral pandemic would have hindered the latest consultation process? As usual, we overcame the problem, this time by extending the consultation period until midnight on 31st May and giving everyone a further chance to comment on the Draft Plan. So, if you read this before the 31st, please get your comments in.

However, actually, we haven’t reached the end yet. We cannot get the Plan finally ‘made’ until next May due to Coronavirus related delays in the final referendum event, as declared in a recent Government announcement that no more referenda can take place until May 2021, this includes Neighbourhood Plans. However we can continue with the final consultation and Planning Inspector review stages before this. As we go through those final steps, the KNP will have an increasing weight of significance with respect to planning applications.

All comments received will now be recorded in a document. The KNP Steering Committee will then have to consider each comment and decide whether or not to make any changes as a result. These changes need to be justified and agreed as to what the changes will be.

Following any amendments resulting from the pre-submission consultation stage, the revised Neighbourhood Plan has to be submitted to the local planning authority, in this case North Herts District Council. This submission has to include the KNP area map, a Consultation Statement detailing the consultations undertaken in order to prepare the Plan and a statement on how the Plan fulfils the basic conditions, shown below:

Meeting the Basic Conditions for Neighbourhood Plans which are specified by law:

  • must be appropriate having regard to national policy
  • must contribute to the achievement of sustainable development
  • must be in general conformity with the strategic policies in the development plan for the local area
  • must be compatible with human rights requirements
  • must be compatible with EU obligations**

*The “end” will be when the Plan is ‘made’ following a referendum.
**We’re not sure if this still applies and are seeking advice.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

May Update

A timely reminder that you can comment on the proposals as laid out in the above document until midnight on 9th May. It is still possible to view the full Draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan
document online as detailed below:

https://www.knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/ (includes online response form)
https://www.knebworthparishcouncil.gov.uk/knebworth-neighbourhood-plan.html

NB – We are unable to hold our Open Day due to the Coronavirus situation. If you have any queries relating to the Pre-Submission Document, please leave a message on the Parish Council answerphone (01438 813795) and someone will get back to you as soon as they can. Please leave your name, telephone number and query (including section reference, if possible).

The printed copies of the summary which were posted through your letterbox had further details, plus information on completing the paper forms on the back pages. Your Response form can be submitted online, by emailing a copy to clerk@knebworthpc.org.uk or paper forms may be still be returned to the collection box located in Village News (which is currently still open as usual), or put through the letter box of the Village Hall office post box (Outside the Annex door).

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

April Update

By now you will have received the KNP Pre-Submission Summary and Response Form through your
letterbox. Please take some time to read it as it could affect you personally.

NB – As we write the Coronavirus situation is starting to have a large impact on many events and we are still waiting for confirmation on whether or not the Open Day will be able take place. In the meantime we have decided that up to date information will be put on the KNP website and the Parish Council website as soon as we have confirmation one way or another. Plus there will be a notice on the door of the Village Hall on the day advising people of what they can do to see the full document and have queries answered.

Despite being a very comprehensive document detailing the policies that we have developed over the past four years, it is, in fact, only a summary of the Draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan. The full draft KNP document is available in print format or online as detailed below:

https://www.knebworthneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/
https://www.knebworthparishcouncil.gov.uk/knebworth-neighbourhood-plan.html
Plus hard copies are available at the following locations:

  • The Community Library, currently situated in St Martin’s Church, London Road, Knebworth
  • Village Hall office, Park Lane, Knebworth
  • The Station Pub, Station Approach, Knebworth
  • The Lytton Arms, Park Lane, Old Knebworth
  • Knebworth & District Royal British Legion Club, Gun Lane, Knebworth
  • North Hertfordshire Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City

The policies in this Neighbourhood Plan have emerged from an ongoing process of consultation with the community. We are once again seeking your views, this time on the policies in the Pre-Submission Draft Neighbourhood Plan. We would like your opinions on the policies as detailed in the document.

The consultation period started on 14th March and runs to 9th May 2020. All responses received by midnight on the 9 th May 2020 will be considered and may be used to amend the draft document. To submit your comments, please see details on page 22 of the document delivered through your letterbox. There you will find details on how to reply directly online or by email. Paper forms may be returned to the collection boxes located in Village News and the Community Library, or put through the letter box of the Village Hall office in Park Lane.

Please come along to Knebworth Village Hall on Saturday 18 th April between 10am and 2pm if you would like to talk to us about the consultation, have any questions, would like help with filling in the form or to see a copy of the full draft document.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

March Update

If you had been wondering why news of the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan has been quiet recently, this is because we were all waiting patiently for the Parish Council to scrutinise the details of our draft submission document. This was no mean feat at 111 pages!

However, we are now pleased to be able to inform you that Knebworth Parish Council (KPC) approved the official Draft Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan during their February meeting. We feel that, not only is this a strong indication of the strength of the backing we have from KPC, but a considerable endorsement of all the work of the Steering Committee so far.

We knew that there would be several steps in the process to follow, but we were all somewhat surprised to learn that this process can be broken down into around 20 more steps! So, the work continues.

The three most imminent stages to be implemented are:

  • Submit Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening Report to North Herts District Council
  • Prepare Summary document for Knebworth Parish residents
  • Distribute Summary with Parish Update newsletter – 6-week consultation and Open Day (March/April)

As usual, we will keep you informed, in the meantime please check the website for updated documentation and information.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

February Update

If you use the buses or trains, if you use the B197 or use the High Street, if you drive or park a car in Knebworth, or if others park in your street this is relevant to you. Traffic, Transport and Parking was one of the working groups developed during the survey and consultation stages of the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan. Feelings run high and there are plenty of opinions to be heard on these matters within Knebworth.

With this in mind, we would like to bring the following items to your attention: Hertfordshire County Council has developed the North Central Growth and Transport Plan (NCGTP) which covers the northern end of the A1(M), including the towns of Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth Garden City, Baldock and Royston, and key transport links between these towns and to surrounding areas.  The NCGTP considers the key problems and opportunities which currently exist, or may in the future, on the transport network and identifies what types of interventions are needed to improve the transport network. There is also a draft South Central Growth and Transport Plan which covers the southern end of the A1(M) and includes the towns of Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.

Public consultations on both the draft North Central Growth and Transport Plan and draft South Central Growth and Transport Plan started on 6th January, 2020 and close 30th March 2020.

Hertfordshire County Council is also currently consulting on its proposed Local Transport Plan via its Rail Strategy Consultation, which can be found here: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/consultations/transport-and-highways/rail-strategy-consultation.aspx#. It sets out the County Council’s aspirations for developing the rail network in Hertfordshire at both the strategic and local level.  This document is a revision of the strategy originally adopted in 2016.

Also, NHDC is currently looking at parking management and how this can be implemented. There is a consultation out from NHDC on their Parking Strategy, which should be read in conjunction with the previously approved parking strategy, which can be found at: https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/parking/parking-strategy in pdf format. This is a reasonably interesting and important document as there is reference to ‘improvements’ in Knebworth and the B197.  

The detail of how NHDC proposes to implement the policy framework set out in the Parking Strategy will be contained in a separate document, the ‘NHDC Parking Operational Guidelines’, which will set out the necessary guidance and assessment criteria to be followed.

These Guidelines are currently under preparation and will be presented to the NHDC Area Committees and Cabinet in Spring 2020.  If you have any queries regarding the NHDC Parking Strategy, its Strategic Action Plan or its associated documents please email transport@north-herts.gov.uk

In addition to these issues, there have been changes to the bus services through Knebworth and these can be found at: https://bustimes.org/localities/knebworth and https://www.centrebus.info/service-changes/  Please note specifically that the 388 is affected at the current time. We hope you find this helpful and that you are able to comment if you wish to.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

December Update

The good news is that the Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan (KNP) is so thorough and comprehensive that “it’s the biggest Neighbourhood Plan” that our planning professional has ever dealt with. Residents should be reassured by this as it means that we have taken on your views comprehensively and dealt with your local concerns and issues, at least those which fall into the scope of the NP*.  However, Devil is in the detail and to ensure that everything is absolutely correct we have decided to submit it to the December meeting rather than November.

Following intense and extensive extra sessions, it now looks very certain that we’re on course to have it ready for Parish Councillors to review in time to discuss at their meeting on 11th December.

You might be interested to know that one of the issues within the KNP is how important the Green Belt is around Knebworth, particularly with regard to avoiding coalescence with other settlements such as Stevenage.  NHDC produced a document in 2016, which was revised in September 2018 before they made amendments to their own NHDC Local Plan. 

We would like to draw your attention to the North Hertfordshire Green Belt Review Update 2018 on the NHDC website Local Plan Examination Page  https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/local-plan-examination/examination-documents. It clearly shows that the Green Belt around Knebworth plays a significant part in helping to keep separation from other settlements. One of the reasons that the Planning Inspector has asked for more hearings to take place is because NHDC commissioned the Green Belt Report and then appeared to ignore the findings.

That might help you understand why we are still waiting for further information on the status of the NHDC Local Plan and any potential impact due to the Inspector’s requirement for more hearings.

*The scope of the Neighbourhood Plan is often a cause for confusion as it can only deal with planning issues. We intend to make the scope clear when we ask for your views again.

Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee