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Braybrooke NDP Examiner Procedural Matters and Questions

Procedural matters and questions - 5 December 2022

Independent examination of the Braybrooke Neighbourhood Plan 

Examiner: Andrew S Freeman BSc (Hons) DipTP DipEM FRTPI

Councillor George Normand
Braybrooke Parish Council

Andrew Needham 
North Northamptonshire Council

Examination Ref: 01/AF/BNP

5 December 2022

Dear Cllr Normand and Mr Needham

Braybrooke Neighbourhood Plan Examination 

Following the submission of the Braybrooke Neighbourhood Plan (the Plan) for examination, I would like to clarify several initial procedural matters.  I also have 14 questions for Braybrooke Parish Council, to which I would like to receive a written response(s) by Friday 23 December 2022.

1. Examination Documentation

I can confirm that I am satisfied that I have received a complete submission of the draft Plan and accompanying documentation, including the Basic Conditions Statement; the Consultation Statement and Appendices; the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitat Regulations Assessment Screening Report and the Regulation 16 representations, to enable me to undertake the examination.  

Subject to my detailed assessment of the draft Plan, I have not at this initial stage identified any very significant and obvious flaws in the Plan that might lead me to advise that the examination should not proceed.  

2. Site Visit

I will aim to carry out a site visit to the neighbourhood plan area in the week beginning 9 January 2023. The site visit will assist in my assessment of the draft Plan, including the issues identified in the representations.

The visit will be undertaken unaccompanied. It is very important that I am not approached to discuss any aspects of the Plan or the neighbourhood area, as this may be perceived to prejudice my independence and risk compromising the fairness of the examination process. 

I may have some additional questions, following my site visit, which I will set out in writing should I require any further clarification.

3. Written Representations 

At this stage, I consider the examination can be conducted solely by the written representations procedure, without the need for a hearing. However, I will reserve the option to convene a hearing should a matter(s) come to light where I consider that a hearing is necessary to ensure the adequate examination of an issue, or to ensure that a person has a fair chance to put a case.

4. Further Clarification

From my initial assessment of the Plan and supporting documents, I have identified a number of matters where I require some additional information from the Parish Council, which I have set out in the Annex to this letter. I would be grateful if you can seek to provide a written response by Friday 23 December 2022.

5. Examination Timetable

As you will be aware, the intention is to examine the Plan (including conduct of the site visit) with a view to providing a draft report (for ‘fact checking’) within 4-6 weeks of submission of the draft Plan. However, as I have raised questions, I must provide you with sufficient opportunity to reply. Consequentially, the examination timetable will be extended.  Please be assured that I will aim to mitigate any delay as far as is practicable. The IPe office team will seek to keep you updated on the anticipated delivery date of the draft report. 

If you have any process questions related to the conduct of the examination, which you would like me to address, please do not hesitate to contact the office team in the first instance. 

In the interests of transparency, may I prevail upon you to ensure that a copy of this letter and any subsequent response is placed on the Parish Council and North Northamptonshire Council websites. 

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Your sincerely
Andrew Freeman


From my initial reading of the Braybrooke Neighbourhood Plan and the supporting evidence, I have 14 questions for Braybrooke Parish Council. I have requested the submission of response(s) by Friday 23 December 2022. All of the points set out below flow from the requirement to satisfy the Basic Conditions.

Questions for Braybrooke Parish Council

  1. Is the Parish Council satisfied that the Neighbourhood Plan does not breach Human Rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998)?
  2. Policy H1: How is it intended to ensure that the works to the granary store are carried out and completed? How is the “northern section of Top Orchard” to be defined?  Are the requirements for public access/funding for seating for community use likely to meet the necessary legal tests (NPPF, paragraph 57)? The agents for the landowners state that the site can accommodate one three-bedroomed and one four-bedroomed dwelling. Please comment.
  3. Policy H5 d): What is meant by the “level of service provision within the Parish”? What does this requirement entail?
  4. Policy ENV 1: Please identify any sites that are in private ownership, either wholly or in part. Have the owners of any such sites been specifically consulted on the Parish Council’s proposals for Local Green Space designation?  Have there been objections to the proposed designation from owners? If so, please provide details and comment thereon.
  5. Policy ENV 4: Other than those shown on Figure 8, how are notable trees etc going to be identified?
  6. Policy ENV 5: Is this policy intended to apply to all proposals (even the most minor development) in all locations within the Parish? What are the “known” and “potential bat habitat areas”; also, the “sensitive areas”?
  7. Policy ENV 6: Is it intended to safeguard all habitats and species of whatever description?
  8. Policy ENV 11: Is “external lighting” intended to include features lit by internal illumination? Will it be possible for all types of lighting to be directed downwards with a beam angle below 70 degrees?  Does not the requirement for no significant adverse effects cover details like this? Will “current best practice for bats” cover other nocturnal wildlife or are there additional best practice sources to which the Parish Council would wish to refer?  
  9. Policy ENV 12: What are the “climate change targets” and the “locally applicable flood mitigation strategies and infrastructure” that will need to be referenced under the first paragraph of the policy?  How is “a location susceptible to flooding” to be defined?  Does this include all the zones and areas shown on Figure 19? Is it the intention that, even for a single dwelling or an agricultural barn, all the bullet points in the policy shall apply (for example, the requirement for a hydrological study and a Surface Water Drainage Strategy)?
  10. Policy CF1 – fundraising and volunteering:  How is this going to be evaluated realistically in any viability assessment? Is the policy intended to apply to playing fields?  If so, please comment on the representations of Sport England.
  11. Policy PC 1: Is it only proposals and improvements that will support all businesses/ households that will be supported? What if a proposal supports some but not all properties in the Parish?
  12. Policy BE3: What is meant by subservient building materials?
  13. Policy BE4 – conversion of commercial buildings: What is the thinking behind the inclusion of commercial buildings in this policy?
  14. Policy BE5:    there any significance in referring to proposals “within Braybrooke parish”? Will not the policy apply to the whole of the neighbourhood area/parish?