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Frequently Asked Questions

What is neighbourhood planning?

It’s a part of the planning system which gives the local community the opportunity to be involved and shape future development in Ringwood.

Policies will be developed within the Neighbourhood Plan regarding the use of land in Ringwood. If, following the Referendum, the Neighbourhood Plan is passed by Ringwood residents, then these policies will be used by NFDC and NFNPA when determining planning applications.

When is the referendum ?

The referendum is on Thursday 4th July 2024.

Who can carry out neighbourhood planning? What is the involvement of Ringwood Town Council?

In a fully parished area like ours, only a parish or town council can carry out neighbourhood planning. Ringwood Town Council is the responsible council for Ringwood.

What area will be planned for?

The Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan covers the whole of the civil parish of Ringwood.

What is the relationship between Neighbourhood Plans and district-wide Local Plans? Can communities reduce housing numbers if they are unhappy with their target

Neighbourhood Plans must comply with the strategic policies of district wide plans produced by New Forest District Council (NFDC) and New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA). Strategic policies include the housing delivery target for settlements and strategic site allocations (‘strategic’ means development of over 100 homes). Neighbourhood plans cannot plan for less development than the housing delivery target for the respective settlement, but can plan for development above the target if they want. As an example, if an identified strategic site had a housing delivery target of 150, the community would not be able to produce a plan to deliver 130 homes. However, the community would be able to plan for 170 homes should they so wish.

What is an examination – and who examines the plan?

All Neighbourhood Plans are submitted to an examination. Examination will determine whether the plan meets the necessary requirements and accords with national and district policies. The examiner will be a person with a good understanding of the planning system, such as a Professor of Planning at a University, a Planning Officer from a different planning authority or a Planning Inspector. The examiner for the Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan suggested some modifications and these have been reflected in the referendum version of the plan.

How does the referendum work?

To be adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan needs to be approved by the majority of voters in a referendum, given to residents of the Ringwood parish.

If the Neighbourhood Plan is approved, NFDC and NFNPA are required to adopt the document. If the majority of those who vote object to the Neighbourhood Plan, then NFDC and NFNPA would not be able to adopt the Plan.

How will development be managed in our area if we do not have a Neighbourhood Plan

The NFDC and NFNPA Local Plans set the overarching policy framework for development in the area and these will remain the starting point for determining development proposals in the parish.

What is the relationship between Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans?

Neighbourhood Plans must be in general conformity with higher level Local Plans – which in Ringwood are the NFDC and NFNPA Local Plans. It is important that the local community works closely with NFDC and NFNPA when developing the Neighbourhood Plan.

When adopted, Neighbourhood Plans become statutory planning documents. The Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan will form part of the Development Plans for NFDC and NFNPA, which are a set of documents setting out what development can happen, how and where. Once adopted, Neighbourhood Plans have significant weight in making decisions on planning applications.

Who are the members of the Neighbourhood Plan Team?

At its heart the Neighbourhood Plan team is made up of local volunteers who use their experience, expertise and understanding of Ringwood to shape the Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan.

The plan is led by a Steering Group which is a formal Working Party of Ringwood Town Council, reporting to and governed by the Planning, Town and Environment Committee of the council.  Members of the Steering Group are:-

Cllr John Haywood (Chair)
Cllr Philip Day
Cllr Gareth DeBoos (Environment Lead)
Cllr Mary DeBoos (Project Manager)
Cllr Janet Georgiou (Town Centre Lead)
Cllr Luke Dadford

Jo Hurd (Town Council Officer)
Joe Moorhouse (Design and Heritage Lead)
Tim Moxey
Geoff Ridgway Mark Ruckwood
James Swyer
Chris Treleaven (Housing Lead)

Day-to-day management of the work on the plan is led by the project manager and the team of four work-stream leads, who have all given very significant amounts of their time to contribute to the production of the plan. A number of other volunteers have also kindly donated their time to contribute to the plan.  We thank them all.

We were advised by the planning consultants O’Neill Homer who have supported nearly 200 neighbourhood planning projects in 53 local planning areas.  Specific pieces of work in support of the plan’s development have been provided by a number of other specialist organisations including AECOM and SPUD.

What are the detailed plans for the Market Place?

The vision is to create a space that provides greater interest and allows for outdoor dining.  We are working with New Forest District Council (NDFC) and Hampshire County Council (HCC) to establish more detail. HCC have conducted surveys of current vehicle and people movements and are now looking at design options.

Given the reduced levels of traffic, following the recent closure of West Street to through traffic, we do not see a need to control vehicle access to the Market Place. However, to achieve the vision, there will likely need to be a reduction in parking in the Market Place for at least some parts of the day.  The survey work is being used to inform the plan for parking.

More details and pictures can be found in the Strategic Master Plan – pages 10 – 13.

What about the old cinema site?

The old cinema / old town hall site is privately owned. A planning application is currently being reviewed. This application includes commercial units at the front of the building.

How can I provide my views?

Via the Neighbourhood Plan website or by using this on-line comments form

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