Update September 2018
The Fairford Neighbourhood Plan (FNP) submitted last year was not accepted by the Examiner because he felt we needed more robust justification for our site assessment.
So in October 2017 a new FNP Steering Group was set up with representatives from the Fairford community and the Town Council. The Group was given wider terms of reference to oversee and co-ordinate the production of a sound FNP.
Thus far the Steering Group has consulted with all interested parties including Cotswold Water Park Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, Gloucestershire County Council Highways, Hansons and of course Cotswold District Council. Group members have revised those sections of the FNP which had been criticised by the Examiner.
The Steering Group has obtained funds for consultants, Water Resource Associates, to conduct a Hydrological Study of the Fairford area concentrating on groundwater flood risk assessment. This Study is due to report in September 2018.
In parallel the Steering Group has secured funds for consultants, AECOM, to prepare a Sustainability Appraisal and Site Assessments also due to be finalised in September 2018.
This will provide the Steering Group with more robust evidence for site assessments. It will also allow us to submit a draft (Reg 14) FNP late summer, with a view to a final (Reg 16) FNP before the end of the year.
There will be a public consultation period later in the year but Fairford residents are welcome to attend any Steering Group meeting or to contact any Group members at any time.
Result of the Plan's Examination
Following the recent independent examination hearing on the Neighbourhood Plan, Fairford Town Council was very disappointed to hear that, whilst the examiner broadly approved eighteen of its policies (with some recommended modifications), he rejected four key policies and could not therefore recommend that the Plan should proceed to referendum, which would be the normal next step.
The examiner concluded that, although the submitted Plan met the basic conditions in relation to national policy, he was not satisfied that it ‘contributed to sustainable development’ and therefore that it was fully compatible with EU obligations (both key requirements). The main reasons for this relate to the level of supporting evidence that apparently now needs to be included, especially with the number of heritage/environmental designations in Fairford and the community benefits claimed. On the positive side, the examiner noted that the Plan “sets out a genuine series of policies and proposals to promote development that is fit and appropriate for the Plan area”. He also recognised that the Plan has been prepared in challenging circumstances, due to it being developed in parallel with the emerging Cotswold District Local Plan, and because of differing approaches to the choice of potential locations for further housing – the Neighbourhood Plan placing more emphasis on infrastructure and social factors.
Fairford Town Council and the FNP Steering Group believe that by taking the examiner's recommendations into account, and through further
discussions with the District Council, landowners and other relevant organisations, a successful revised Plan can be developed. This will
require some further work, which will take time and require further consultation through the same stages as the original Plan. The Inspector
in the current Cotswold District Local Plan examination is supportive of this approach. Fairford Town Council will be applying for new
grants to cover the costs of undertaking this work, and is also keen to ensure that the steering group has the support and expertise to
complete the task successfully.
The plan has been submitted to Cotswold District Council
Fairford Town Council has submitted the Neighbourhood Development Plan to Cotswold District Council. The Plan has now been published in the public domain and anyone wishing to comment must do so by 5 pm on Tuesday 11 April 2017. Subsequently, the Plan will be examined independently to ensure that it meets the conditions laid out in the Localism Act and other relevant regulations.
Anyone can see the plan online or review a hard copy at:
Fairford Community centre (Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm)
Fairford Library (Monday 9:30 am to 5pm; Wednesday 9:30 am to 5pm; Thursday 9:30 am to 7pm; Saturday 9:30 am to 1pm; Tuesday and Friday closed)
Cotswold District Council’s office at Trinity Road, Cirencester (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).
Public comments will be taken into account by the independent examiner in determining whether the Plan meets the legal requirements. If it meets the Basic Conditions required by law, there will be a local Referendum and if more than 50% of votes are in favour, the Neighbourhood Plan will become part of the Development Framework which is used to decide planning applications.
Election Leaflet Inaccuracy
The Fairford Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group would like to point out the inaccuracy printed in the recent County Council Election leaflet by Cllr Ray Theodoulou. The proposal for the development of 80 houses off Leafield Road, following extensive consultation with Fairford residents, is included in the Fairford Neighbourhood Plan – Policy FNP 16 as a more sustainable alternative to the housing sites for Fairford proposed by Cotswold District Council in their Local Plan.
The Fairford Neighbourhood Plan is a non-political programme developed by the local community and the Fairford Town Council and has no connection with the Liberal Democratic party. In the policy it also clearly states that this development would only be considered following the introduction of adequate infrastructural improvements within the town (as per Policy FNP 7).