Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

History & Background to our Neighbourhood Development Plan

When the Localism Act 2011 first invited the making of Neighbourhood Plans, some parish and town councils decided to start work. Welwyn Parish Council was unsure of the amount of work, the costs involved and the advantages or reasons for so-doing and as a result, we decided to wait for more information to become available before making a decision. Over the next few years things became clearer: more councils achieved adopted status for their Plans and the advantages of having an adopted Plan became apparent.

In 2019 the Council formed a Working Group of Councillors to determine and advise the Full Parish Council if WPC should, or should not produce a Neighbourhood Plan. This work culminated in a simple poll of residents via the quarterly Welwyn Parish Community Newsletter, Welwyn News, which showed overwhelming support for the production of a Plan and successfully elicited volunteer support and involvement.

Following that poll, in 2020:

  • The Council applied to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC) for a Neighbourhood Area and for Welwyn Parish to be designated for the preparation of a Neighbourhood Development Plan. That was granted and the designated area is known as the Welwyn Parish Neighbourhood Area. The formal notification is available to view or download from here and the map of the area is available from here; both are in .pdf format. 
  • The Working Group was migrated to become a Steering Group of 5 Parish Councillors and 5 non-Councillors, reporting to Full Council. The Group was to manage the generation of the Plan and to produce any documents necessary, submitting them to Full Council for formal approval prior to publication. 

Work on the Plan commenced shortly after area designation, but the process was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic lock down (which made meeting up and general communication and discussion difficult). The first major job was to conduct a Parish-wide survey to elicit the opinions, wants and needs of parishioners. Task Teams were then formed to analyse the survey results and focus on the researching and creation of individual aspects of the Plan e.g.:

  • Derive Objectives and Principles from the survey results, leading to the deriving of a Mission Statement.  
  • Researching to determine the core sections of the Plan: Planning, Development & Housing; Travel and Transport; Environment; Heritage; Infrastructure and Living and Working in the Parish.
  • Drafting sections of the Plan, compiling mapping and Census data and taking and selecting photographs. 
  • Conducting informal consultations with residents, businesses and statutory bodies over key aspects of potential policies.

Each Task Team was headed by a Steering Group member; membership of both Steering Group and Task Teams was open to any resident or business owner within the Parish. 

The protracted examination and approval of the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Local Plan, introduced uncertainty as to what our Plan might have to cover. The eventual approval of the Local Plan in October 2023 enabled the finalisation of the content and scope of our Plan. The “Regulation 14 Consultation” is the first formal consultation covering residents, businesses and statutory bodies. 

The Plan, once adopted, becomes a long term framework for Welwyn Parish Council. It advances policies related to development in the area and identifies a series of community projects to compliment, including: local infrastructure improvements, the environment of the River Mimram, designation of Local Green Spaces and Non-Designated Heritage Assets and priorities for road safety.