Terms of Reference
As recommend by Easingwold Town Council 13/256 and agreed by Easingwold NPSG on 28/4/14
Easingwold Town Council (ETC) took the decision in January 2014 to produce a Neighbourhood Plan following the Government's publication in 2011 of its Localism Act. In order to produce this plan the Town Council will establish a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (NPSG) to oversee a process that will result in the preparation of a draft Plan which will be put to a public referendum. In doing so it is deemed appropriate that the Steering Group are provided with and accept the following terms of reference;
The plan will seek to:
· Identify all the important aspects of life in the Parish for which plans for the future are needed, with particular regard to land use; and
· Bring forward proposals which will enhance the quality of life in the Parish in the years to come
2. Membership of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (NPSG)
a The Steering Group will be formed primarily from local volunteers who reside or work in the Parish. Town Councillors or officers of the Town Council may also be members of the Steering Group
b The Steering Group will aim for a maximum membership of 18 persons and not more than 5 shall be Members of the Town Council.
c The Steering Group may from time to time form Working Groups or sub-committees to undertake various aspects of the work involved in producing the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
d The Steering Group may also co-opt further representation from any other person or organisation that is likely to bring additional benefit or specialisation to the project providing it does not contravene 2a and 2b above.
e The Steering Group will be supported by officers of Hambleton District Council, who as The Local Planning Authority are obliged to provide assistance under the statutory provisions of the Localism Act 2011
3. Roles and Responsibilities of the Steering Group
3.1 The representatives who are members of the Steering Group will;
a Promote the process of preparing the Neighbourhood Plan and be encouraged to participate and provide their views and opinions on the specific topics which are covered during the preparation of the Plan.
b Arrange meetings and appoint sub-groups to gather views and consult on emerging policies which are considered appropriate for incorporation in the draft Plan
c Assess existing evidence about the needs and aspirations of the neighbourhood area.
d Liaise with relevant organisations and stakeholders to secure their input in the process
e Analyse the results of questionnaires or other evidence received during the planning process and use them to prepare a robust draft Plan
f Inform the Town Council of progress on a regular basis in order that Steering or Working Group Minutes can be noted
g Support the Local Planning Authority and Easingwold Town Council during the referendum process.
h Where appropriate keep proper records of all expenditure, time keeping or other costs of external parties engaged to assist in the preparation of the plan.
i Produce a Project Plan and a Project Programme for delivery of the Neighbourhood Plan and monitor the results of their work.
j The Steering Group may also request assistance/advice from any other person or organisation that is likely to bring additional benefit of specialisation to the project.
3.2 The Town Council will;
a Support the Steering Group throughout the process providing sufficient assistance and financial resources to ensure the plan is prepared expeditiously providing that overall expenditure falls within the grants received by the Town Council
b Appoint professional planning expertise and provide any relevant aid during the development of the Plan. Drafting of the Plan will require professional assistance to ensure conformity to national and local policy and that the Plan will be sound and robust enough to withstand independent examination.
c Work with the Steering Group and the local community to establish that the future infrastructural needs of the area are provided prior to any housing or other development occurring within the Parish.
d Work with the Steering Group to develop policies to guide the future development and use of land in the area.
e Support the Steering Group in developing assessments requested by the Local Planning Authority prior to the Plan being submitted.
f Support the Steering Group in efforts of engagement and consultation with the local communities throughout the plan making process
g Create a link to the Town Council web site for recording details of the Steering Group activities
h Facilitate any required contact with the relevant statutory bodies or parties who must be consulted during the plan making process.
i Carry out all statutory duties contained in the Neighbourhood Planning (General) regulations 2012 and engage with Hambleton District Council during the referendum process of the plan for which the principle authority are responsible.
j Following the preparation of the draft Plan and with the agreement from the Group, submit the plan to the Local Planning Authority for inspection and independent examination
3.3 All Members of the Steering Group will;
a Declare any personal interest that may be perceived as being relevant to any decisions or recommendations made by the group. This may include membership of an organisation, ownership of interest in land (directly or indirectly) or a business or indeed any other matter likely to be relevant to the work undertaken by the Steering Group.
b Ensure that there is no discrimination in the plan making process and that it is a wholly inclusive, open and transparent process to all groups in both the neighbourhood area and to those wishing to undertake development or be involved in the plan making process
c Work together for the benefit of the communities established within the Parish.
d Treat other Members of the Group with respect and dignity, allowing Members to express their views without prejudice and interruption.
e The group will be deemed to quorate if a minimum of 5 lay members and 2 Town Councillors are in attendance. If inquorate meetings may proceed but any decisions taken may be advisory only and require future ratification by the group when a quorum can gather.
f Any decisions taken by the Steering Group, other than those delegated to appointed officers, will be carried forward if the majority (more than 50% of members in attendance) are in favour. The Chair will have the casting vote in instances where there is no majority.
4. Officers of the Steering Group
a The Group shall elect a Chairman and Vice and shall be so elected on an annual basis. Such elections shall be held in March each year.
b If the Chairman is not present, the Vice Chairman shall take the meeting. If neither is present, members shall elect a Chairman for the meeting from amongst their number.
c The group will also appoint a Secretary to be responsible for co-ordinating the work of the Steering Group and any sub groups established.
d Working Groups will be set up as required to research and review evidence and to contribute to the document.
e The lead members will support colleagues who require their assistance, monitor progress and work closely with officers of Hambleton District Council and the planning consultant when appointed.
5. Frequency, Timing and Procedure of Meetings
a The Steering Group and Working Groups will usually meet monthly although sub groups may meet more frequently as necessary.
b Meetings shall normally be held at 7.30pm at an appropriate venue.
c All Steering Group meetings shall be open and may be attended by residents or those who work in the area identified for the plan to observe proceedings or participate in the proceedings.
d The Steering Group shall keep Minutes of meetings which will be open to public scrutiny. These will be publicised on the Steering Group web site and displayed on the notice boards, in the library or such other prominent places as may be requested
e Notices, Agenda, Minutes and associated papers shall normally be despatched to Steering Group members by email unless otherwise specified or agreed.
f Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with set procedure to be determined and agreed by the Steering Group.
g The Steering Group will regularly update and report its progress to the Clerk of the Town Council ensuring that she/he, as the Responsible Financial Officer for the council, is aware of the on-going budgetary implications and requirements associated with the project.
h The Terms of Reference will be reviewed throughout the project and amended as required. Any changes to Steering Group Terms of Reference shall require approval of the Town Council.