Please find below updates from the Hungerford Neighbourhood Plan (formerly Hungerford 2036) Team, which is leading the development of Hungerford’s Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Each update has been added to the previous one with the most recent at the top.
The map above shows the parish of Hungerford which is also the area covered by the NDP. Click on the map to enlarge it (this will open in a new tab).
More information on NDPs generally – including some of the background to Hungerford’s decision to proceed with one – can be found by clicking here. This also includes a number of links to other articles on the subject.
If you have any questions about the NDP, please visit the project’s website.
HTC = Hungerford Town Council. WBC = West Berkshire Council.
Update 4 December 2023
Good progress again in November:
- The informal consultation took place on site allocations: – at the Town Hall and an on line questionnaire.
- Analysis of results completed and a report produced and agreed by the HNP Committee. This report is submitted to Part 2 of Full Council for consideration.
- HNP Team met on 17 October.
- The Plan is being updated with proposed allocations.
- The progamme below has been revised, and still a chance of completing by late 2024. The main risks are delays from WBC and the referendum.
Key next actions are: agree the consultation recommendations; finalise the draft HNP for consultation; Start Reg 14 formal consultation (six weeks from January 2024).
Update 6 November 2023
Good progress in October and early November:
- HNP Team met on 11 October.
- The Plan text and photos version 8 is completed. Its to 2041 to tie in with WBC’s Local Plan.
- Town Council Meeting 18 October about the HNP and site consultation.
- Site consultation planned, arranged and part completed.
- Still a chance of completing by late 2024.
Three consultation meetings took place in early November to consider the options for the site allocations (which you can see here) and an online consultation will run until 13 November 2023 (which you can complete here).
Key next actions are: completing site consultation and agree the preferred sites; finalising the draft NDP; sending to WBC and holding the first formal consultation.
Update 26 October 2023
As this is quite an important update, it seems worth re-capping some of the main points about neighbourhood development plans generally and Hungerford’s in particular.
What is an NDP?
The 2011 Localism Act gave local communities the right to create their own neighbourhood development plans (NDPs) to help shape various aspects of the future development, growth and character of the area. most planning authorities (West Berkshire being one) have at least one area which has had a neighbourhood plan adopted.
It might be worth quoting the following introductory paragraph from the Gov.uk website:
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided…Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.
This was started in May 2018: scroll down for more information. Originally called “Hungerford 2036”, the name has recently been changed to “Hungerford’s Neighbourhood Plan” to more accurately reflect the period which it cover.
All NDPs, and Hungerford’s is no exception, have periods when activity continues but in a way that’s unseen by most people. Periodically, the moment arrives when, like a train emerging from a long tunnel, the whole thing becomes visible again. This generally results in a period of public participation, consultation or engagement. This is a vital part of the process. NDPs must be community-led if they are to pass their external examination.
Such a stage has been reached with Hungerford’s and the project team has organised an informal consultation to obtain residents’ views and comments. Two session will take place in The Corn Exchange building on:
- Wednesday 1 November 2023 upstairs in the Town Hall, 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm.
- Saturday 4 November 2023 in the Magistrates Room, 10am to noon.
This will be your chance to comment on the alternative housing sites and the NDP team looks forward to seeing you there. You can see the details of these by clicking here.
On-line consultation also available – if you cannot attend in person you can respond online by completing the Housing Feedback Form. All comments must have been received by 4pm on Monday 13 November 2023.
There is now a draft text of the plan and a detailed evaluations of the housing allocations completed. The plan covers the whole parish for the period 2024 to 2039 and will be used to help Hungerford’s future and determine planning applications alongside the West Berkshire Local Plan (which it will, when adopted, become as much a part of as if WBC had written it itself).
The plan’s vision
Hungerford sits at the heart of the North Wessex Downs AONB and is treasured for being an historic market town set within beautiful and accessible countryside and waterways. The residents of Hungerford seek to work together to embrace constructive change that ensures a vibrant, robust and sustainable economy that will enhance their prosperity and provide an affordable and nurturing environment for current and future generations.
This should be achieved whilst conserving Hungerford’s natural and manmade heritage and enhancing its strong sense of being a caring community and a fulfilling place to live.
There are chapters in the Plan under the following headings:
- Employment and economy
- Getting about
- Leisure, wellbeing, public safety and learning
- Our heritage
- Climate change and biodiversity
In each of these there are aims, objectives and proposals.
Housing site allocation
The Neighbourhood Plan has to allocate sites to deliver a minimum of 55 dwellings to comply with the West Berkshire Emerging Local Plan. If it doesn’t, then the Emerging Local Plan will do this and the community will have less say over which sites are chosen. After careful and detailed evaluation of many sites around the town several sites have been identified that represent sustainable and deliverable options. You can see the details of these by clicking here.
The way forward
The main next stages for the plan are:
- Complete the draft plan.
- Send this to West Berkshire Council for comments.
- Formal six week consultation (early 2024).
- Public examination (mid 2024).
- .Public referendum on the Plan (autumn 2024).
Update 2 October 2023
- Team met on 20 September.
- The Plan text is all but completed except that we need to add photos.
- We hope to consult and meet with HTC in October (meeting 18 October) and public in November.
- Key next actions are: set out site options for consultation; complete the first full draft of the Plan for consultation (to add photos); prepare for informal public consultation in November 2023.
Update 4 September 2023
- Confirmation of a grant of £10,000 to help fund the project from the Department of Communities. This is great news as we have been waiting for it and it will help to fund the planning consultant, the consultations and the production of the plan.
- The NDP text is progressing well and is almost there as a first full draft. We have many photos that are being sorted and added in.
- When the draft plan is done then hopefully we can progress with the consultation in October and November. The end date is still expected in October 2024, or at least by the end of 2024.
- Key next actions are to set out site options for consultation; to complete the first full draft of the Plan for consultation; and to prepare for consultation in the autumn of 2023.
Update 7 August 2023
- The HELAA site assessments and site evaluation have been completed by Navigus Planning.
- The Plan text is progressing well and is almost there. The team is working on a final draft and adding photos.
- The updated programme estimates that, when the draft plan is done, hopefully consultation will take place in October and November. The end date is still expected in October 2024, or at least by the end of 2024.
- Key next actions are: set out site options for consultation; complete the draft of the NDP for consultation; prepare for consultation in the autumn.
Update 3 July 2023
- The HELAA site assessments for the new sites have been completed by Navigus Planning – now these need to be evaluated against the plan objectives.
- The plan text is progressing.We are on a second draft which was discussed at our meeting on 21 June. Additional input required on the design brief, movements plan and the leisure, wellbeing and learning chapter.
- An updated programme has been produced. If we can get the plan agreed in the summer, the first consultation should take place in September. The end date is still expected in October 2024, or at least by the end of 2024.
- Key next actions are to evaluate site assessments against plan objectives; complete the draft of the plan; and prepare for the consultation in the autumn.
Update 5 June 2023
- The assessments for the new sites. All consultations have now been received and the evaluation is being completed by Navigus Planning.
- The Plan text is progressing. The Plan Committee has responded with detailed comments to Navigus. This includes information received from a request to key organisations in the town about the main issues challenges and opportunities over the coming years. Navigus has confirmed that it will respond in the week starting 5 June.
- An updated programme has been produced. The schedule has slowed up as we have been delayed by the above tasks and we had missed out or underestimated some activities. The end date is now expected in October 2024: long process!
- Key next actions are (a) to complete site assessments; and (b) complete draft of the Plan
Update 15 May 2023
- The new site assessments. All consultations have been received except for the AONB’s and a few clarifications from WBC’s Highways team. We do have to wait for these but they are due any day and should be complete by June.
- The skeleton draft of the plan has been completed by Navigus and we are infilling gaps and trying to ensure it reflects Hungerford. Notably we have submitted a request to key organisations in the town about the main issues challenges and opportunities over the coming years, including the Town & Manor, CofC, schools, the surgery and others. Some useful feedback received. We also have a brief history of the town as background.
- An updated programme has been produced. It has all slowed up as we have been delayed by the above, but there is progress. The end date is now expected in June 2024.
- The key next actions are completing site assessments; and completing the draft of the plan.
Update 3 April 2023
- The new sites and being assessed. Mapping has been produced by Navigus. This has been sent to WBC for consistent assessment, as before. We have had a few responses, but some big ones awaited, notably AONB.
- Skeleton Draft of the plan completed by Navigus. The team is producing comments to send back to consultant.
- An updated programme has been produced which culminates in a referendum in January 2024. It’s a bit optimistic but it remains our target and is just about on schedule at the moment.
- Key next actions are (i) to complete site assessments; and (ii) to make further progress with a draft of the plan.
Update 6 March 2023
- The new sites, from the call for sites ending 31 Dec 2022, are now being assessed in a similar way to the previous sites to ensure consistency of assessment. Being carried out by Navigus who have completed the first stage. Now we are awaiting for submission to and consultation from parties such as WBC highways & flooding, Thames Water etc. Mapping is being organized to show the sites accurately before sending to the consultees.
- Drafting of the plan is underway by Navigus, which we expect to be ready by the end of March. This is 1 week before the next meeting in early April.
- We are producing some comments on the Draft West Berkshire Local Plan.It still has 55 dwellings for Hungerford with extra protection for the AONB, so we are generally supportive of the Draft Plan.
- An updated programme has been produced which shows the referendum (the final stage) raking place in January 2024. It’s a but optimistic but it remains our target and is on schedule at the moment.
For more information on the H2036 project, see this separate post.
Update 31 January 2023
- The call for sites ended on 31 December and we had six submissions. These ranged in size and location, both within and outside the existing settlement boundary. These new sites will now be assessed in a similar way to the previous sites to ensure consistency of assessment.
- Tendered for a planning consultant to assist the team on writing and progressing the Plan. We went out to five consultants and only had two full responses. Navigus, with Chris Bowden who had been assisting us before was the preferred bidder.
- The draft plan is being drafted by Navigus.
- We need to comment on the Draft WBC Local Plan (this still has 55 dwellings for Hungerford).
- The WBC local plan is to 2039, so we may need to extend ours to that date – “Hungerford 2039”?
- There have been a few changes to the H2036 committee. John Downe has left and the Committee express a huge thank you to him for all the work he has done to date. Jon Shatford has stepped down as joint chair due to other commitments. Richard Hudson has agreed to become joint chair with Denise Gaines.
- A draft programme has been produced which aims for the project to reach its referendum stage in January 2024. It may well be optimistic but it remains our target and is on schedule at the moment.
Update 8 November 2022
A change in government legislation has given the H2036 team more time to work on the NDP. As it was a while ago that we put out a call for sites, we have decided to conduct a second call where we invite local landowners again to put forward any sites that they would like considered for development during this time. We are not just considering sites for housing but for other land uses such as employment, leisure or retail.
If you have already submitted details of potential sites to West Berkshire Council HELAA and there has been no change you do not need to duplicate any entries.
Update 4 April 2022
The Project Team, assisted by Navigus Consulting, met in March for further evaluation of potential sites for housing to be included in the neighbourhood development plan. Key considerations have been how best to further the town’s aims and objectives as previously researched and consulted upon with residents as well as ensuring the requirements of WBCs local plan are able to be satisfied.
The project team will be briefing and consulting with the Town Council on its recommendations during April.
Update 7 March 2022
The Project Team met again in February to continue the evaluations of options for allocating sites to satisfy Hungerford’s housing and sustainability requirements. It has not yet reached a conclusion on its recommendations on the NDP development strategy and will continue to work towards achieving this.
Update 7 February 2022
The Project Team meeting delayed from December due to Omicron took place during January and another is scheduled for the week commencing 7 February to continue the evaluations of options for allocating sites to satisfy Hungerford’s housing and sustainability requirements.
The H2036 project team is also considering how Hungerford’s NDP schedule can best align with the revised WBC timetable and how to ensure a timely completion of the project.
Update 6 December 2021
Following the public consultation process about the four potential sites for new homes, the project team has met once to review the comments received and further inputs from North Wessex Downe AONB. As a result ,the H2036 assessments of the sites have not fundamentally changed although some additional information is being sought, particularly related to concerns raised by some residents about traffic volumes. Another project team meeting is scheduled during December to consider further all the accumulated information on these potential sites.
WBC has recently published its revised timetable for its work on the local plan review which had been temporarily on hold whilst new government planning requirements were analysed. As a result, WBC intends to take its local plan to full council in the summer of 2022, followed by a public consultation and then submission to the Secretary of State in early 2023.
The H2036 project team will be considering how Hungerford’s NDP timetable should best align with WBC’s and how to ensure a timely completion of the H2036 project.
Update 1 November 2021
Work continues on analysing the recent housing sites consultation so there’s nothing further to add to the last report (see below).
Update 4 October 2021
Following the two initial public consultations in the Corn Exchange early in the summer about the four potential sites for new homes, two further consultation exhibitions took place in in the Croft Hall in September. The H2036 Project also had a stall at September’s Hungerford Food and Artisan Festival.
As a result of these events and further local publicity, approximately 220 mainly online responses have been received from residents in all parts of the parish plus a few from further afield. The responses include comments for all of the four sites as well as some overall feedback. There have also been an additional 24 registrations from residents to receive updates about the H2036 Project as it progresses.
The consultation period ended at the end of September: the public responses will now be analysed by the team.
West Berkshire Council recently announced that, due to NPPF changes, its planned Local Plan schedule is being delayed. H2036 will need to consider the implications of this for its anticipated project end-date.
Update 6 September 2021
Following the two initial public consultations about the four potential sites for new homes, further online consultation responses continue to be received. Even so only a minority of residents have so far taken the opportunity to comment on the potential housing sites.
The H2036 website includes all of the materials exhibited at the public sessions and has an interactive consultation response facility for each of the sites. The Hungerford 2036 Project Team strongly encourages all residents to view the online materials and contribute their insights on the sites being considered. The H2036 website includes all of the materials exhibited at the public sessions and has an interactive consultation response facility for each of the sites. The Hungerford 2036 Project Team strongly encourage all residents to view the online materials and contribute their insights on the sites being considered.
The consultation will remain open until the end of September 2021 and the H2036 team will be holding further public events to encourage public engagement as follows:
- Saturday 12 September at the Food & Artisan Market in the Croft Hall Activity Centre Field – a H2036 stall to publicise the project overall and the current consultation plus an opportunity for questions of project team members.
- Thursday 16 September in the Croft Hall from 5pm to 8pm – another chance to see the full site consultation exhibition materials with ample opportunities for questions and discussion with the team members.
- Saturday 18 September in the Croft Hall from 10:30 to 1pm – see above.
The H2036 Team would also welcome suggestions for groups and locations which would be suitable and worthwhile for further physical sessions before the end of September.
West Berkshire Council recently announced that due to NPPF changes, its planned Local Plan schedule is being delayed. H2036 will need to consider the implications of this for its anticipated project end-date.
Update 2 August 2021
Following the two initial public consultations about the four potential sites for new homes, further online consultation responses have been received.
The H2036 website includes all of the materials exhibited at the public sessions and has an interactive consultation response facility for each of the sites. The Hungerford 2036 Project Team strongly encourages all residents to view the online materials and contribute their insights on the sites being considered.
The H2036 group anticipates holding further exhibition events in August and early September (including at the monthly markets at the Croft Field centre) before this consultation closes. The H2036 Team also welcomes suggestions for groups and locations which would be suitable and worthwhile for further physical sessions.
Update 5 July 2021
Two public consultations on the four potential sites for new homes took place the last week in the Corn Exchange. We estimate that 50-60 people attended during the consultations and engaged positively in seeking clarifications on the Neighbourhood Plan and the sites being considered. A few completed consultation comments forms were submitted but most people said that they would record their input on the H2036 website. This includes all of the materials exhibited at the public sessions and has an interactive consultation response facility for each of the sites.
We anticipate leaving the consultation open through July and August and will be looking for further physical consultation opportunities around the town after 19 July when Covid restrictions are expected to be changed. The H2036 Team would welcome suggestions for groups and locations which would be suitable and worthwhile for further sessions.
An additional site (HUN18 on Marsh Lane) was put forward late in the site assessment process. H2036’s consultant has reviewed it and it is currently being assessed by WBC as part of a HELAA update. They plan to publish the updated HELAA once complete. We understand that the WBC Planning Policy team has long-outstanding requests for input from WBC Highways on additional sites which has caused some delay. At the meeting, the DCs agreed to chase this up with WBC.
The H2036 Team encourages as many residents as possible to review the potential housing sites and provide any comments and insights through the website.
Update 4 May 2021
The project team has been conducting meetings with site promoters on Zoom to receive their responses on various questions about their sites. This process should be completed by the end of May 2021.
The H2036 project team will be meeting during May to develop and agree and approach for publishing the site-assessment information for consultation with residents. HTC will be briefed on the approach and content of this once all the input from the site promoters has been received. With the easing of Covid restrictions, it’s hoped that this consultation can be conducted during the summer through in-person events, as well as online.
Update 6 April 2021
We have written to site promoters with our comments and any actions taken on their feedback on our H2036 criteria assessment of their sites. We have also invited them to provide some additional inputs to ensure that by the time we are able to conduct physical public consultations we will have the most comprehensive information possible about each site. We expect to receive their responses by late April or early May.
During March, a further site for potential housing development in Hungerford was put forward for our consideration. Our consultant has conducted, as far as he can, a HELAA-level assessment of it and this and the promoter’s materials have been dispatched to WBC for assessment as part of their planned HELAA update for the district. As we have with other sites we will await the response from WBC before further assessment.
Update 1 March 2021
The H2036 Project Team met twice during February to complete the analysis of the fact-checking feedback from site promoters. This element of the work has now been taken account of within the individual site assessments and a further consistency check between site assessments has been carried out.
We will now be responding back to the individual site promoters with our comments and any changes we have made based on their feedback. We have concluded that it would be constructive to request some additional inputs to ensure that by the time we are able to conduct physical public consultations, we will have the most comprehensive information possible about each site.
Update 2 February 2021
The H2036 Site Assessments have been fact-checked by their respective site promoters and returned to the H2036 team.
During January, the project team started working through the site promoter responses but have not yet finished this work. As well as considering the additional information that has been sent to H2036 and whether any changes to our assessments are warranted, the team is also making sure that it has objectively checked for consistency between all sites following any changes. It expects to complete this activity and report back to the Council in February on its next steps. With the continuing Covid situation effective public consultation remains extremely challenging.
With approval from the Town Clerk and Mayor our Neighbourhood Plan consultant was authorized to provide an additional four hours support and, in the short term, it sought approval for a further 10 hours (£750 approx) to continue this work. A further case for external support spending will be presented in March. The current request is well within the budgeted and reserved amounts for the H2036 project.
Update 4 January 2021
H2036 has now reached a significant milestone in the project with completed HELAA and its own Hungerford 2036 Site Assessments on all the potential development sites put forward to WBC or direct to us. The HELAA-type assessments HTC carried out have been verified and confirmed by WBC
The H2036 Site Assessments are currently being fact-checked with their respective site promoters. We have asked for their feedback by 8 January.
On 17 December at a joint HTC/H2036 working party discussion the H2036 Project Team updated the Council on the site evaluations, received their feedback and discussed consultation plans. The H2036 team would like any further feedback from members as soon possible.
Update 2 November 2020
The assessment of the three sites that were submitted after WBC’s HELAA (potential development-site allocation) was published earlier this year has now been concluded by HTC’s consultants and the results have been submitted to WBC so that it can verify that all the sites have been subject to the same level of evaluation. At the HTC meeting on 2 November, district Councillor Dennis Benneyworth agreed to press DC Hilary Cole (WBC’s portfolio holder for planning) for an early response.
The next stage will be to contact the promoters of the sites to ensure that there are no errors of fact and then – hopefully in early 2021 – to submit all the sites to a local consultation. Councillor Downe, the Chair of H2036, said that this would fit neatly with WBC’s own consultation on its local plan, the consultation on which is due to be available from mid-December.
Update 6 October 2020
The consultant acting for the H2036’s Project Team has made an initial assessment of how each of the potential sites for development published in WBC’s HELAA report match H2036’s own assessment of each site. A similar exercise is now being conducted with the three sites that were submitted after the HELAA was published (work that will need to be reviewed by WBC to ensure that all the sites have been subject to the same level of evaluation). Feedback is also requested from some external bodies, mainly the local AONB (it was pointed out by Councillor Crane at the meeting that the ANOB is currently appointing a new Chair, which probably accounted for the delay). The next stage will be to contact the promoters of the various sites to check the assessments we have created for their own site(s). Once we have their feedback we will be in a position to consult publicly.
At around the same time (likely to be the end of November or early December) the H2036 team expects to have sight of the consultation draft WBC Local Plan which it understands will contain guidance for NDP groups on the housing growth numbers for each area. This will provide the essential backdrop for the Hungerford public consultation on potential sites. It’s expected that this consultation will happen in early 2021.
Update 7 September 2020
The H2036 team has now completed its task of applying its site criteria to the potential sites for development identified in WBC’s HELAA report and the matter has now been passed to H2036’s consultants. Once completed, a public consultation will be organised. The H2036 team is still considering how this can be both consistent with whatever social-distancing regulations are likely to be in the place and the requirement that this be as public and inclusive as possible. The final NDP will need to be assessed by an external examiner and if they feel that any part of the process was defective the whole plan could be refused. It may therefore be necessary for any consultation to be delayed.
After discussion with WBC, it was eventually accepted by the H2036 team that it would need to pay for these to have HELAA-type assessments and the consultants have been charged with this. Once completed, Councillor John Downe stressed that it would be necessary for WBC to sign these off so that they had the same force as the other sites.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding all planning matters arising from the recent publication of the government’s white paper, it was agreed that H2036’s work would continue as normal.
Update 4 August 2020
Work continues on assessing the sites identified for possible development in WBC’s HELAA report. Once completed, a public consultation will be organised. This was provisionally planned for September. The H2036 team is still considering how this can be both consistent with whatever social-distancing regulations are likely to be in the place and the requirement that this be as public and inclusive as possible. The final NDP will need to be assessed by an external examiner and if they feel that any part of the process
Update 6 July 2020
On 18 June 2020, HTC’s external planning consultant visited Hungerford with H2036’s Joint Chair to visit and familiarise himself with the sites put forward through the HELAA process plus the additional sites that have been promoted subsequently.
The project team has received his commentary on the exercise. For the H2036 team, the next task will be to agree the further data collection needed as a result.
A surprising piece of news received on 3 July was that the HELAA-type assessments of the additional sites submitted after the HELAA publication (known as HUNNDP_ A/B/C on the map below – see May 2020) would not now take place, ‘due to human- and financial-resource constraints’ until after the new Local Plan has been issued for consultation at the end of 2020. This is despite an assurance from the WBC portfolio holder and Head of Planning on 13 February 2020 that the question was merely that of agreeing what the charge for this would be.
The H2036 Joint Chair, Councillor John Downe, said at the meeting that the lack of such as an assessment would ‘prevent there being a level playing field’ in comparing the various sites and ‘would compromise the integrity of the H2036 process.’ He called on the ward councillors urgently to seek an acceptable resolution. All agreed to do so.
Update 1 June 2020
Following the publication by WBC of its HELAA (see May update below for more information), the H2036 project team asked all site promoters to respond with further information. This was requested by the end of May. The promoters were asked: (1) How their site(s) will help achieve the Hungerford 2036 Neighbourhood Plan Objectives; (2) How the site(s) meet the H2036 Site Assessment Criteriaand (3) If they have an outline master plan for their site(s) including proposed access. Information has been received back from the promoters for the majority of the sites and their submissions will now be reviewed by the project team.
We have requested (and WBC has agreed) that WBC conduct HELAA-type assessments of three additional sites submitted after the HELAA publication – now known as HUNNDP_ A/B/C. We understand that the WBC portfolio holder and the Head of Planning have not yet decided what the charge to HTC for the assessments will be.
We plan to start work with the external consultant on the site assessment work with a sites visit in mid-June. Progress and conditions allowing, and following feedback to HTC, in the autumn we would hope to run public consultation events around this aspect of the NDP.
WBC Local Plan to 2036 Progress
We understand the WBC approach to local plan housing numbers are yet to be discussed with WBC members and no date is set for when we might see the outcome of that and how it affects Hungerford 2036.
Update 4 May 2020
The NDP has reached the point where any promoters of sites mentioned in the HELAA have been asked to respond with more information on three points: how their site/s will help achieve the NDP’s objectives; how their site/s meet H2036’s Site Allocation Criteria; and if they have an outline master plan for their site/s. Work had been planned to start on this is early April but has needed to be postponed.
Three sites (HUNNDP A, B and C) to the north and the east of Eddington have recently been submitted and are marked in orange on the map below. HTC has asked WBC to conduct HELAA-style assessments of these, and WBC has agreed to do so. Given Covid-19, it’s unsure by when this will happen.
Also likely to affect the final content of the NDP – and also delayed – are WBC’s review of its Local Plan and the government’s guidance of West Berkshire’s housing numbers. District Councillor Rowles agreed at the meeting to chase up the timetables for these. Given this uncertainty, it’s unlikely that Hungerford’s NDP will be completed before the end of 2021.
Note: the map below makes alarming reading if it’s (wrongly) assumed that all the sites shown will be developed. Please see this separate post which explains the HELAA process and sets out HTC’s response to the document’s publication (both of which happened on 4 February 2020).
Update 4 February 2020
See here a statement from HTC about WBC’s HELAA (published that day). This marks a key milestone in the NDP’s progress as it will enable these sites to be tested against its own criteria.
Update 3 December 2019
H2036’s housing site assessment criteria had now been finalised. This will enable Hungerford to apply these criteria to WBC’s long-delayed own list of possible sites for development (the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, or HELAA) and thereby have a strong influence over which of the ones in Hungerford are developed. This gives the town a voice in the local planning process which it would not otherwise have had.
The publication of the WBC’s HELAA has, however, been delayed yet again, which puts H2036’s work into a state of suspended animation. The current proposed date for this is January 2020. Until the HELAA is published, and the H2036 group has had a chance to consider these, there is little more that can be done.
A complete assessment must also await WBC’s publications of its opinion as to the number of new homes that Hungerford will be expected to provide. This will follow HELAA but by how long is equally uncertain.
Update 4 November 2019
The H2036 team has completed its work (see October below) of creating its housing site assessment criteria and this was passed unanimously at the HTC meeting on 4 November. WBC’s HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) has yet to be published: when it is, probably before the end of 2019, this will reveal all the sites that have been identified for potential development. Those in Hungerford will then be examined in the light of these criteria to identify the town’s preferred and, potentially, later allocated development sites within the NDP. Once complete and approved in a local referendum, the NDP will then become part of West Berkshire’s local plan.
The details of the criteria can be seen on the Hungerford 2036 website. Comments are invited through the website form
This is obviously a very important aspect of the NDP. The fact that H2036 has completed and ratified its own criteria means that it is ready to apply these to the HELAA as soon as it appears. With this now agreed, Hungerford is well placed to respond to the HELAA report and guide the future development in the town.
The H2036 team is currently looking for additional volunteers – some knowledge of planning procedures, community engagement and general office skills would be useful but these are not essential. Please visit the Hungerford 2036 website for contact details.
Update 7 October 2019
Over the last three months, the work of the H2036 team has largely been spent on the vital, though unspectacular, business of consulting with various bodies as described below and incorporating these into the document. It’s expected that this will happen in the next few weeks and that the document will be ratified by HTC in November: this will achieve the stated aim of its being in place before West Berkshire’s HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) is itself finalised.
Update 1 July 2019
H2036 is currently seeking consultation input from local organisations and individuals on the NDP’s draft Aims and Objectives. During June, H2036 had a stand at the St Lawrence’s Church Fete and the event at the Youth and Community Centre. Further consultations are planned.
H2036 has started examining the draft policy suggestions from the H2036 Aims and Objectives by Plan-ET consulting, starting with Housing. This work will continue on other themes in future meetings.
H2036 is arranging a briefing in July for the three District Councillors and will hopefully enlist their support as and when this might be needed.
H2036 will also be meeting with WBC to get its opinions on the work conducted so far and to discuss any suggested amendments.
H2036 has been informed that, in early September, WBC will publish the HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) which is expected to include WBC’s initial site assessments. At the same time, guidance from central government (via WBC) is expected on proposed dwellings numbers.
In order to prepare for the WBC information release, H2036 is developing a set of site-selection criteria which will be the basis for the identification of the town’s preferred and later allocated development sites in the NDP. These criteria will be informed by the H2036 research as well as previous consultations and the intention is to publish these before the HELAA release.
After the HELAA release the H2036 project team will lead the process for examining site details, gathering public consultation input and assessing sites against the Town’s criteria.
Update 7 May 2019
Tthe stage has now been reached when the aims and objectives have been established and residents have their chance to comment on these. You can click here to visit the main H2036 page on the Town Council’s website (the most recent additions are at the bottom).
The aims and objectives can be found here.
If you want to make a comment on this or any other aspect of the work, you can comment online by clicking here. There is also a general comment form for those who prefer to work offline which you can print, complete and return it to the town office. You can also email any comments to [email protected].
The H2036 team will also be hosting or attending a number of events around the town over the next couple of months (dates and venues to be confirmed) which will also give people to opportunity to ask questions and make any comments, verbally or in writing.
Update 2 April 2019
Thanks to all of you who attended the Annual Town Meeting on 20 March and visited our H2036 Neighbourhood Plan team which had a display there. If you missed that there will be further opportunities soon.
If you would like to feedback online the team would be very pleased to receive your comments on its draft Aims and Objectives via its website.
Update 15 Feb 2019
The aims and objectives (see section below) have now been published and can be seen here.
Update 4 Feb 2019
The aims and objectives of the NDP have now been finalised and will be published soon. The next stage, which will take place, will be consultations with the public and a series of events in various locations around the town will take place over the next few months – details to follow. There will also be an opportunity to meet the project team at the town meeting on Wednesday 20 March.
Update 7 Jan 2019
It was reported at the Hungerford Town Council meeting that some draft aims and objectives had been agreed and would shortly be circulated to the Council for its approval. Thereafter these would be discussed with other organisations in the town.
Update 3 Dec 2018
The Hungerford 2036 Project Team has been analysing the 556 responses to the survey which took place in July. An important part of the analysis has been reviewing more than 2,400 written comments accompanying the survey questions. These comments in particular have provided invaluable insights into the current concerns and priorities of Hungerford residents. You can see the survey summary by clicking here.
Using the July survey, information gathered for the 2013 Town Plan refresh and other sources such as the data from the last census for our area, the Project Team is now creating a draft set of aims and objectives for the Hungerford Neighbourhood Plan to fulfil as well as an overall plan vision.
The Team’s next task is to consult widely in order to verify and refine the draft vision, aims and objectives. It’s expected that this will be completed during first quarter of 2019.
There is a growing email list of people who would like to kept up-to-date with Hungerford 2036. If you would like to be included, or have any questions, please email the Town Clerk [email protected] or visit the Hungerford 2036 website.
Update 6 Nov 2018
Meetings were held in October to review the findings from the July survey. One of the results of this was Vision for Hungerford, which also drew on statements from the town plan. It is expected to evolve over time and in its final formwill sit at the beginning of Hungerford’s Plan to explain the objectives being aimed at and the associated planning policies and aspirations.
Vision for Hungerford
Hungerford sits at the heart of the North Wessex Downs AONB and is treasured for being an historic market town set within beautiful and accessible countryside and waterways.
The residents of Hungerford seek to work together to embrace constructive change that ensures a vibrant, robust and sustainable economy that will enhance their prosperity and provide an affordable and nurturing environment for current and future generations.
This should be achieved whilst conserving Hungerford’s natural and man-made heritage and enhancing its strong sense of being a caring community and a fulfilling place to live.
Hungerford 2036 had a stall at the Trade Showcase held at John O’Gaunt School on 18 October. This engagement was informal and focussed on obtaining names for follow up meetings and ideas on how best to make further engagement successful.
It is anticipated that grant allocation will fund all future expenditure other than staff costs. Further grant funds can be applied for from April 2019.
See below (September update) for the summary of responses. Based on this, eight themes have been created which are described in the table below.
Update 18 Sept 2018
Thank you to everyone who completed the initial Hungerford 2036 survey. We received a 10% response (556 surveys) which for an initial survey is good. The findings from these are summarised in the two bar charts.
If you wish to be kept informed of our progress please sign up to the Hungerford 2036 mailing list – the link for this simple process can be found at the foot of any of the pages on the Hungerford 2036 website.
In addition there were over 2,400 separate comments, all of which will be built into the evidence base that will underpin the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The next step for the project team will be further, deeper consultation with the Hungerford Community through direct contact with community groups, businesses and educational establishments etc. This will then be followed up with public meetings to provide feedback and an opportunity for further consultation.
This stage of the Development Plan process will start in October and run through into early 2019. The final outcomes from this programme of consultations will form the foundations of the Development Plan.
Update 3 Sept 2018
Project Team meetings continue to be held every three weeks or thereabouts.
A very constructive meeting with Laila Bassett (WBC liaison) was held on 31 July. Key updates from WBC were:
• West Berkshire’s Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) will be published in draft in this autumn with consultation due from 5 Nov to 17 Dec. Consultation on detailed HELAA due summer 2019.
• The Employment Land Marketing Appraisal and Capacity Assessment is due this autumn.
• WBC undertaking a new transport study which will provide much greater detail for Hungerford than previous model.
First Co-ordination and Consultation Forum with full Council have yet to be programmed.
An initial government grant application for £5,546 to cover the majority of project costs up to 31 March 2019 has been successful. There is the potential for future applications up to a total value of £17,000.
The allocation of £5,000 provided by HTC (of which circa £4,200 remains) will now be used to fund expenses excluded from government grant funding; principally staff costs.
Planet will be formally engaged as ‘guiding mind’ consultants w/c 3 Sept.
In the last two months the Project has:
• Produced, publicised and issued an Initial Survey.
• Established a risk register and a budget through to 31 March 2019.
• Reviewed consultancy market and recommended the appointment of Planet as guiding mind.
• Applied for and obtained £5,546 of government grant.
• Developed first draft community engagement proposals for review at next Project meeting on 6 Sept.
• Conducted the Survey. This produced 550 responses of which 330 were in hard copy with a lot of free text comments which have proved time-consuming to decipher and record in the system. Full results are due for review at the next Project meeting on 6 Sept.
Project Needs from HTC
• Approval to revised Terms of Reference
• Date for joint NDP training session; time and duration.
• Date for first Co-ordination and Consultation Forum.
• Being kept up to date on all Council land use initiatives to avoid duplication of effort.
Submitted by H2036 Joint Chairs – Geoff Greenland and Tony Drewer-Trump
Update July 2018
We have received a good response to our first questionnaire to gather your views for the development of the Neighbourhood Plan.
But there are still two weeks to go so if you have not sent in a questionnaire, complete it on-line at www.Hungerford2036.info or collect an extra copy from the Hungerford Library.
This is our first consultation exercise and we will be giving you feedback and holding a series of workshops throughout the autumn
The whole point of a Neighbourhood Plan is that it is community-led and that means researched, written and voted on by the people who live in the neighbourhood – that’s you and your neighbours.
Note that, for this survey, we are also seeking the views of people who visit and work in Hungerford.
It will, at the end of the process, have significant influence on the way Hungerford changes once the plan has been sanctioned by a town referendum.
Don’t leave it to someone else – make sure your view is heard
Update June 2018
Hungerford will change – but what needs to change and what would you like to retain? From 22 June we are starting the first public consultation to help to put us on the right track. You can find the survey at www.Hungerford2036.info.
It will take the Hungerford 2036 Project Team about three years to develop the Neighbourhood Plan and go through all the stages. The whole point of a Neighbourhood Plan is that it is community-led and that means researched, written and voted on by the people who live in the neighbourhood – that’s you and your neighbours!
At the end of the process, once the plan has been approved by a town referendum, it will have significant influence on the way Hungerford changes.
Please complete the survey now – it should only take you 10-15 minutes. You may find it easier to complete it online. If you know someone who would prefer to fill in a paper questionnaire there is one in the latest Adviser issue which can then be dropped in to one of the collection point boxes which are at the Library, Tesco, the Surgery, The Tally Ho in Newtown, the Leisure Centre, John O’Gaunt School and the Football Club.
We appreciate the time you spend completing the questionnaire and your participation in this important process.
Update June 2018
Website live and survey coming soon!
The Hungerford 2036 project team is eager to establish good communications with everyone who lives in our town and anyone who works, studies or just visits here. To get this started the project team has launched a dedicated website at www.Hungerford2036.info where you will already find information about what is and will be happening as the work progresses. There are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) plus the option to pose questions of your own. All important project documents and information sources will be on the site and be accessible by all. If you wish you can request to be kept informed of news about the project.
The project team is also very keen to hear everyone’s views about the town and surrounding area as it is now and into the future. What do YOU like and value about where we live? What gives YOU cause for concern and might be improved? Later in June we will be starting an initial opinion survey in which the project team would like everyone to take part. It will be available as an on-line survey which we hope most people will find quick and easy to complete and also in a paper form which will be distributed and collected throughout the town. As we really want to hear as many people’s views as possible, the survey will be kept running for at least six weeks. We hope that in this period everyone will have the opportunity to make their opinion count.
Keep a look out here for news about when the survey will be available.
Today, Hungerford is launching an exciting project – Hungerford 2036 – to guide the way our town and its surrounding area will evolve.
The Hungerford 2036 Project Team aims to identify how Hungerford wishes to develop over the next 20 years and document this vision in a Neighbourhood Development Plan which will:
• Conserve and enhance the town and countryside;
• Identify and address challenges facing our area now and in the future;
• Ensure our town and its surrounding area is a thriving, attractive and welcoming place to live, work and visit.
Hungerford 2036 will demand a lot of work from us all and will keep the Project Team busy for at least the next two years. Everyone will be kept informed throughout this time and will be encouraged to contribute their ideas and opinions at various stages. Engagement and help from residents living or working in all parts of the town and its surroundings is vital to the success of the project. Contributions will be welcomed from the entire community, from all backgrounds and age groups.
Once the Plan is ready a local referendum will be held and more than half of those who vote must choose “yes” for the Plan to be finalised. If all goes well, the Plan would then become part of the planning framework for our area. This means it must be used by the local Planning Authority (West Berks) when making decisions.
The Plan will also provide a clear summary of the community’s aspirations and priorities to guide the Town Council and other organisations’ decisions.
More information can be found for now on the Town Council’s website although a dedicated Hungerford 2036 website will be set up shortly. If you would like follow and be kept informed about progress on the project please email [email protected] .
The Project Team is very much looking forward to working on this project and your suggestions, comments and questions will always be welcome – as well as your offers of help!
Chair of Hungerford 2036 Project Team