Neighbourhood Plan: a message from the Independent Examiner

Timothy Jones, the Independent Examiner appointed for the Faverham Creek Neighbourhood Plan, has issued the following guidance and directions relating to the examination process.

Examinations are normally based on written submissions, but if anyone thinks there should be a hearing and/or site visits they should notify Mr Jones before 12.00 noon on Friday 14th August 2015 – see instructions below, item 6. If there is a hearing and/or site visits, they will be in the week beginning Monday 5 October.

Guidance and Directions
1. Swale Borough Council, with the agreement of Faversham Town Council, has
appointed me to examine the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Development Plan (“the
NDP”). I am wholly independent of both councils and to the best of knowledge and belief of
all others involved with the NDP, being a planning barrister based in Birmingham.
2. The principal purpose of the examination is to consider whether the NDP meets the
basic conditions. These are:
(1) having regard to national policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the
Secretary of State, it is appropriate to make the NDP;
(2) the making of the NDP contributes to the achievement of sustainable development;
(3) the making of the NDP is in general conformity with the strategic policies contained
in the development plan for the area of Swale Borough Council (or any part of that area);
(4) the making of the NDP does not breach, and is otherwise compatible with, EU
obligations; and
(5) The making of the NDP is not likely to have a significant effect on a European site
(as defined in the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010) or a European
offshore marine site (as defined in the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats,
&c.) Regulations 2007 (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects).
3. I am also required to consider: whether the NDP is compatible with Convention rights
as defined in the Human Rights Act 1998; whether the NDP complies with the provisions
made by or under sections 38A and 38B of the Planning and Compulsory Act 2004; and
whether the area for any referendum should extend beyond the neighbourhood area to which
the NDP relates,
4. The normal rule for neighbourhood planning representations is that they are
conducted by written representations with any site visit being unaccompanied. A public
hearing should be held when the examiner (a) considers that a key issue should be examined
in more depth or (b) to ensure a person has a fair chance to put a case. It is up to the examiner
to decide who is invited to speak.
5. An accompanied site visit may be required where it is necessary to access land that is
not publicly accessible. During an accompanied site visit an examiner should be accompanied
by at least one person from each side of any difference in respect of the land being visited or
viewed. No evidence is given on a site visit. The place to give evidence is though written
representations and, to the extent allowed, at the public hearing.
6. In order to facilitate this process I am issuing the following directions.
(1) The point of contact for all communications with me is Ms Natalie Earl, Senior
Planner, Planning Policy, Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street,
Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 3HT, natalieearl@swale.gov.uk . No communication
should be sent directly to me.
(2) All communications with me should be in writing, not by telephone or other
oral communication. They will be publicly available documents.
(3) If anybody considers that a public hearing is appropriate, they should notify
me, c/o Ms Earl, in writing no later than 12.00 noon on Friday 14th August 2015
stating the exact topic or topics on which a public hearing is sought, the reasons why
this is sought and who it is suggested should be invited to speak.
(4) If there is to be a public hearing this will take place during the week
commencing Monday 5th October 2015.
(5) If anybody considers that an accompanied site visit is appropriate, they should
notify me, c/o Ms Earl, in writing no later than 12 noon on Friday 14th August 2015
stating the exact location or locations at which an accompanied site visit is sought, the
reasons why this is sought and who they wish to be present.
(6) If there is to be an accompanied site this will take place during the week
commencing Monday 5th October 2015.
Timothy Jones, Barrister,
No 5 Chambers
15th July 2015

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