Total Spend: Tattenhall’s 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.
Tattenhall is a village and civil parish that lies 8 miles south-east of Chester, and has a population of just over 2,000. The village had a history of taking responsibility for local decision making, having previously produced a Parish Plan and a Village Design Statement. In 2011, the Parish Council applied to be Frontrunners of the new neighbourhood planning powers, as a way to achieve their vision for their village and ensure that future development met their goals. This vision centred on preserving the distinctive and vibrant nature of the village and continuing to provide an outstanding quality of life to residents whilst promoting change that is of benefit to the whole community.
The plan consists of six policies covering six themes:
- housing growth
- landscape and environment
- transport and communications
- local facilities
- the local economy
- local character.
The heart of the village is prioritised as a thriving centre for local shops, services and infrastructure with sustaining local businesses and services a key plan priority. Housing growth is to be accommodated sensitively on the peripheries of the village, and it must be small in scale and in keeping with local character. The plan also sets out new walking and cycling connections, and aspires to the creation of a new railway station at some time in the future.
Over the course of the project, the steering group consisted of between 15 and 17 people, which besides community members included local planning authority officers and Cheshire Community Action. This core group met towards the end of every month to review progress and plan future work, and a second working group of nine then met in between to complete the work assigned it. This latter group was comprised of community members sourced through a public meeting asking for volunteers. Team members were able to contribute valuable skills and expertise that kept costs down. In particular, individual members had skills in financial management, PR and marketing, politics and networks, the environment, and project management.
The Local Authority was also very supportive and committed to making the plan work. They were especially helpful in providing planning assistance and the support of three planning officers. Tattenhall was designated with Frontrunner status meaning that it had access to £20,000 of funding, which enabled it to pay for consultants to write policies and prepare submission reports, as well as funding resident’s surveys and consultation processes. Cheshire West & Cheshire, the Local Planning Authority, also used £10,000 of the Frontrunner grant on a consult at the very beginning of the project to assist in the beginnings of the plan and helping the community decide its priorities.
Tattenhall Parish Council was selected as a frontrunner in March 2011 and their plan passed referendum in October 2013. The process began with a public consultation to ascertain how residents felt about the future development of the parish, and the views of 15-24 year olds were also explicitly canvassed to ensure a broad spectrum of views and support. Meetings were organised throughout the plan-making process and the community was kept informed of developments through an excellent website.
It is estimated that up to 5000 hours of volunteers’ time was spent on the project in total, but that the results, although challenging to achieve, were well worth the effort. Throughout the project, the Neighbourhood Plan and those at the centre of its development enjoyed huge popular support and without the involvement of the wider community it would not have been so successful. As it is, the plan is considered a true representation of the community’s wishes and a guarantee that future development will be to the community’s benefit.
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|Sample of spending||Amount|
|Sample of spending Amount Consultant’s costs to write policies and prepare submission reports||£6,000|
|Room hire, refreshments and miscellaneous||£2,698|