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The Highclere Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (SG), after submitting all proposed sites to independent sustainability assessment and an assessment against the HNP Objectives, entered a Parish-wide consultation in Spring 2023 on those sites which could meet both our expected future Housing Requirement (HR) of ten dwellings in full as well as being capable of contributing to our objectives of providing smaller and more affordable homes.

As a result the Foxs Lane site in Penwood was chosen for allocation in the Neighbourhood Plan.

However, the publication of the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) Local Plan Update (LPU) in January 2024 left it unclear whether the chosen site was, in fact, acceptable within BDBC’s Spatial Strategy. Despite the National Planning Policy Framework guidance that Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) should assign Housing Requirements to Neighbourhood Areas (NAs), BDBC have decided to base their Spatial Strategy in the latest LPU on individual “settlements” alone and in the LPU have assigned an HR of ten dwellings to the settlement of Highclere Village. Subsequent communications have made it clear that our proposed site allocation in Foxs Lane would not count for our HR and that this judgment also applies to the Oakley Farm site. Equally none of the five sites proposed to us in our Call for Sites exercise, but not presented in the Preference Survey, satisfied the latest LPU criteria either.

Fortunately, the data from the Preference Survey does give us the justification to allocate “the best of the rest” and we judge that re-running the Preference Survey would not be useful or expedient. The replacement site for allocation in the NP will therefore be Cleremeadows, which satisfies the latest LPU criteria.

As ever, the allocation of a site in a Neighbourhood Plan confers no special treatment on any planning application made on that site, which must still be subject to all the normal Planning policies and processes.


Highclere Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group


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