Welcome to the Benson Neighbourhood Plan


The Benson Neighbourhood Plan is being developed by the villagers of Benson for the villagers of Benson with the support of the Parish Council.  This is our opportunity as a community to shape the future of our village.  Your involvement in helping us to develop our Neighbourhood Plan over the coming months is crucial, thank you for your interest.

We will add further content to the website at regular intervals so do check back for new information.

The Benson Neighbourhood Plan Team


Important update about the Neighbourhood Plan, and the recent BEN5 appeal

Things have been moving very fast with the Neighbourhood Plan since Christmas, so we felt it is time for an update.
Our Plan is in the final stages of examination.  The Examiner has asked some clarification questions of the Plan Team and other interested parties (SODC, developers etc), which we have answered.  He expects to complete his work in the next couple of weeks.  If he recommends, as we hope, that the Plan proceeds to referendum, then our Plan gains ‘significant weight’ in the planning process.  This weight is further strengthened if/when the village approves the Plan in the referendum.
The other major event of the last month was the appeal inquiry for BEN5, a site not allocated in our Plan.  We put the case that development here would prejudice our Plan by absorbing Primary School places and other key services necessary for the allocated sites that we need to deliver the Relief Road.  We want to say a big thank you to all those who turned out to support the Neighbourhood Plan – and especially to those who addressed the Inquiry. The importance of demonstrating that the community is behind the Plan cannot be overestimated.
The Inspector now writes his report, which would usually determine the appeal in favour of one or other of the parties.  But in this case, shortly after the close of the Appeal Inquiry, the Secretary of State ‘recovered’ (i.e. called in) the appeal, on the grounds that it “raises novel issues of development control and/or legal difficulties surrounding the coincidental timing of the inquiry and the examination of the Neighbourhood Plan”.  This means that the Inspector’s report on the BEN5 appeal inquiry will now be sent as a recommendation to the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision. The key point here is that this is likely to delay the decision – allowing our Plan to complete Examination and thus carry ‘significant weight’.
We obviously don’t know when the Secretary of State will make his judgement, but we are hopeful both that the appeal will be refused and that our Plan will progress to referendum and be approved by you in the interim.
In summary, Benson’s Neighbourhood Plan is close to the point when it starts to carry significant weight;  the decision to recover the BEN5 appeal recognises that our case deserves proper consideration; and the recovery process itself should give us more time to complete the Plan before BEN5 is decided.  We are therefore optimistic that the Secretary of State will find in our favour.
It’s important to remember in all this that the Plan covers development in our Parish from now all the way to 2033 – including design and delivery issues as well as site allocations – we will need it, whatever happens in the next few weeks!!
As always, we will keep you posted on progress, particularly regarding the date for the referendum …
Benson Neighbourhood Plan Team