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Consultation Form Guidance

Another Council’s Guidance on Pre-Submission Local Plan (Regulation 19) Consultation Form

In case, like others, you find HBC’s Guidance a little confusing, these are the key points copied from another Council’s Guidance to their public that you might find more helpful. Their name is replaced with [our]. Don’t be put off responding! All you need to do is use our Council’s own Evidence Base page ( to find a topic & its document that you wish to comment on. Then you need to read it through & find any relevant sections on which you wish to comment; make sure you reference the sections plus the document’s page number, on your form as illustrated in HBC”s sample form found on the HBC link foot of this page . It is concerning that, unlike other Councils, HBC has not stated that its supporting documents are available as hard copies in all our libraries. Only a proportion of our residents have computers or feel comfortable accessing, let alone have the facilities for printing, the necessary forms. This does not encourage engagement.

What is legal compliance? If you are seeking to make representations on the way in which [our] Council has prepared Our Local Plan, then your comment is likely best submitted against the matter of legal compliance.

The Inspector will first check that the Plan meets the legal requirements with which plan-making should accord as set out in legislation including: The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, the Localism Act (2011), The Neighbourhood Planning Act (2017) and European Directives and English Regulations where they are relevant to statutory environmental assessments such as Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment. Comments relating to legal compliance must be specific in terms of how and why they believe the plan is, or is not, legally compliant and support this with evidence and justification in the context of the legislation.

What is Soundness? The tests of soundness against which the plan will be assessed are set out at Paragraph 182 of the National Planning Policy Framework (enter NPPF July 2018 in search bar). In determining whether Our Local Plan meets these tests and can be considered to have been soundly prepared, the Inspector has to be satisfied that the Plan has been:

Positively Prepared: This means that the Plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to so do and consistent with achieving sustainable development. Where an authority has not met development needs in full, a Plan, supported by evidence, must justify why needs are not met and what steps were taken in seeking to meet them.

Justified: The Plan should be the most appropriate strategy when considered against reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence.

Effective: The Plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities

Consistent with national policy: The Plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the NPPF.

Comments relating to soundness must be specific in terms of how and why they believe the plan is, or is not, sound referencing the tests relevant to the comment. Comments must be supported by evidence and justification.

What is the Duty to Cooperate?

The requirements of the Duty to Cooperate (DtC) are set out in Section 110 of the Localism Act 2011 and Section 33A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (available by search engines). In short, the legislation requires all Local Planning Authorities to demonstrate that they have had active and on-going cooperation with key bodies, such as neighbouring authorities and other statutory bodies on strategic matters, including infrastructure, housing and employment needs and flooding.

Comments relating to the Duty to Cooperate must be specific in terms of how and why they believe the plan has, or has not met its Duty, and support this with evidence and justification.

Attendance at the Examination in Public: One of the fundamental parts of the Examination in Public is the hearing sessions requested and led by the appointed Planning Inspector. Should respondents wish to appear at examination, they should make it clear in their submission, and on what grounds they wish to appear and why it is necessary. The Inspector will determine which parties are to attend sessions and on what subject matters using the comments submitted to guide that decision. Appearance at the examination is at the discretion of the Inspector and the Council do not determine this.

Where can I view the documents undergoing consultation? The documents undergoing formal consultation are: Our Local Plan: 2033 (Regulation 19), Sustainability Appraisal (2018), Habitats Regulation Assessment (2018), Infrastructure Delivery Plan (2018) and Local Plan: Policies Map(s) 2018. Whilst a large amount of supporting evidence is published alongside Our Local Plan, these do not form part of the statutory documents being consulted on. However, where relevant, evidence can be referenced in support of the comment(s) you are making.

Our Local Plan 2036 Consultation and associated technical studies can be viewed on the Council’s website If you have any further queries, you can contact the Planning Policy team by emailing or calling 023 9244 6539.

How can I submit my comments? You can submit your comments in a number of ways including online and by email. The Council has also prepared a questionnaire for respondents to help guide you in setting out your response and ensure that your comments are made in alignment with the purpose of the consultation, which is focused on soundness and legal compliance. HBC’s questionnaire and guidance are online and further copies can be obtained online.

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