Independent Examination

The next step in the process

 

The Independent Examiner for our Neighbourhood Development Plan started work in March 2021.  He has now concluded his Examination in September 2021, and recommended that the Benenden Neighbourhood Plan should proceed to the next stage.  

 

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The Benenden Neighbourhood Development Plan has concluded the Independent Examination phase.  According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors the purpose of an independent examination is to assess whether a draft neighbourhood plan meets certain basic conditions and requirements set out in statute.

The examination has been undertaken by an impartial examiner whose decision is independent of the local planning authority and the ‘qualifying body’ which initiated our Neighbourhood Development Plan, in our case Benenden Parish Council.  As well as being independent, the examiner must have appropriate qualifications and experience.  A neighbourhood plan examination considers only whether the plan meets specific basic conditions.  The independent examination will consider the evidence which supports the choices set out in the plan, quickly and efficiently.

An independent examiner will not consider the ‘soundness’ of the neighbourhood plan, or produce an alternative plan.  However, an independent examiner can recommend modifications which, if undertaken, will change a plan so that it better meets the basic conditions and/or other statutory requirements.

Our Independent Examiner was appointed in March.  The Examiner has undertaken visits to various sites in Benenden and across the wider Parish.  He has reviewed our Plan, the various Supporting Documents, alongside feedback recieved to the latest consultation.  He announced the holding of a Public Hearing (hosted online via TWBC and made available for public viewing) which was held on Friday 25th June 2021 starting at 9.30am.  Information about the hearing was posted here.

Following the Public Hearing the Independent Examiner has provided his Final Report to the Parish Council and TWBC (see below for the final version).  He was supportive of the hard work and professionalism of the team, and has recommended that the Plan can now proceed to the next stage, subject to the incorporation of a number of amendments that will strengthen the Plan.  Once we have incorporated these changes TWBC will start to organise the next stage, a local referendum

Documents from the Examiner

We’ll post here any documents for the public from the Examiner.

Final Report from the Independent Examiner

Letter from Biddenden Parish Council 24 March 2021

Examiner Initial Comments 26 March 2021

Biddenden Parish Council feedback to Examiner Initial Comments 19 April 2021

Benenden Parish Council feedback to Examiner Initial comments 30 April 2021

TWBC Feedback to Examiner Initial Comments 30 April 2021

TWBC attachments – in reference to Feofee development

H Strouts, Organiser of Friends of East End, feedback to Examiner Initial comments 28 April 2021

H Strouts attachments

Savilles (acting for Benenden Hospital Trust), feedback to Examiner Initial Comments 29 April 2021

Here are the Further Comments of the Examiner, 31 May 2021