Total Spend: Strumpshaw Plan

How much does it actually cost to create a neighbourhood plan? Total Spend is a series of case studies that investigate neighbourhood plans and how much was spent.

The place

Strumpshaw is a small parish in Norfolk, with just over 600 residents. It is surrounded by environmentally important marshes and wetlands as part of it lies within the Broads Authority area. Strumpshaw Fen is also a site of special scientific interest.  Most land is used for agriculture. The parish contains a number of listed buildings. Residents sought to preserve and enhance both the natural and built environment. They wanted to protect the attractive countryside from intrusive development that would harm the tranquillity of the area.

The plan

The plan contains ten policies, with three underlying spatial planning objectives: economic; social and environmental. Its primary aim is to maintain the rural and tranquil nature of the parish as sustainable development takes place. The plan restricts general development to within the existing settlement limits, but makes provision for low impact employment opportunities. It provides for the development of up to ten dwellings, a new community room and eight allotments on a single site in the next 12 years.

The people

The steering group comprised of five local residents chaired by the Chairman of the Parish Council.   A key member was a retired local government chief officer.  He completed all of the drafting for the plan as he had government and drafting experience.  Having advised national government on the implementation of public library plans, he had some planning expertise although not in spatial planning specifically. Other members of the team had marketing and communication skills. Although there was not a lot of technical expertise on the team, their skillsets complemented each other significantly. Remaining members read and proof read the documents at all stages.

Broadland District Council was very helpful throughout the process, especially their spatial planning team. A designated member of the team attended the first few meetings, and then after he was available ‘on-demand’. The steering group was constantly in contact with the council through email, validating both their approach to the plan and ensuring it took account of the council’s views. Broadland District Council distributed £6,414 of the DCLG funded Frontrunner grant. The council also produced a template for the Sustainability Appraisal and a Habitat Regulation Assessment Screening. This was at no cost to the steering group, as developing these documents was covered by the frontrunner grant.

The process

From designation to referendum, the process took 15 months. The group began raising awareness of the neighbourhood plan through a six-week teaser campaign. This led to a weekend long exhibition and discussion.  There were three separate further consultations. Comments made at these consultations informed the drafting of the neighbourhood plan. The neighbourhood plan built upon the parish plan, written a few years earlier. The group carried out two focus groups regarding housing and allotments and the replacement of a community room. Flyers were hand delivered to each house in the village in order to raise awareness. Posters were also put up around the parish. The key member who undertook the drafting spent 12-15 hours a week on the plan for a year. Including the time spent in meetings, evening training sessions, publicity and attendance at consultation exhibitions, the team collectively invested around 1, 500 hours of their time.

Total spend

£4,220

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Sample of spending Amount
Printing£3,455
Wood for posters£280
Stationary and ink £263
Miscellaneous costs (CDs, post, refreshments and photocopying) £36
Land registry£44
Room hire £36

Links to Strumpshaw's Neighbourhood Plan