The local referendum on the Plan was held on February 25th 2016.
The referendum question was Do you want the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to use the Neighbourhood Plan for St Quintin and Woodlands to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?
The result of the referendum was as below:
Voting ‘Yes’ to the question 645
Voting ‘No’ to the question 54
Total votes were 702. With a total electorate for the referendum of 3,106, this is a turnout of 23%.
The majority supporting the use of the StQW Neighbourhood Plan by the Council in deciding planning applications was 92%
This is a very clear result. Thank you to all residents in the neighbourhood who took the trouble to come to the polling station, or to vote by post.
What does the result mean in practice?
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is now required to ‘make’ (i.e. adopt via a formal Council decision) the StQW Neighbourhood Plan. It will subsequently form part of the statutory Local Plan for the Borough.
In the assessment of all planning applications in the the StQW Neighbourhood, a policy set out in the StQW Plan will take precedence over existing Council policies. On issues where no StQW policy has been proposed in the Plan, existing RBKC policies will continue to apply as at present.
Where the StQW Neighbourhood Plan includes site allocations (e.g. for mixed use at Units 1-14 Latimer Road) or planning designations (e.g. Local Green Space on the three St Quintin backlands) these will also take precedence over current RBKC policy. Conservation policies will also be varied on certain issues, as explained in the StQW Plan.
When will the StQW Neighbourhood Plan be adopted?
This decision has been delayed as a result of a judicial review application, challenging the Council’s December 2015 decision to accept the examiner’s modifications to the StQW Draft Plan and to hold the referendum on the Plan in February 2016.
The Claimant in the JR application is William Legard, as one of the joint owners of the land at Nursery Lane. Developers Metropolis Property Ltd, who prepared and submitted a planning application to build housing on the site, are First Interested Party supporting this legal challenge.
The independent examiner of the StQW Draft Plan supported the proposal that this open space, and two further ‘backlands’ in the StQW neighbourhood, should be designated as Local Green Space.
Legal challenges to neighbourhood plans are not uncommon, and nearly all have been mounted by housing developers aggrieved over policies which stand in the way of their development proposals.
RB Kensington and Chelsea is defending its decision to accept the examiner’s recommendations, along with its decision to hold the referendum on the StQW Draft Plan. In organising the referendum, the Council made clear its view that it considers that the StQW Draft Plan meets all the necessary ‘basic conditions’ and legal requirements for a neighbourhood plan.
The High Court hearing on the judicial review application looks unlikely to take place before November 2016. The StQW Forum, as Second Interested Party in these proceedings, has retained its own barrister with costs being met by contributions from local residents and some match funding from the Kensington Society.
In the meantime, the Council is continuing to give weight to policies in the StQW Draft Plan when determining planning applications in the StQW neighbourhood.
Where can I read the StQW Plan and supporting documents?
The ‘referendum version’ of the Plan can be downloaded from the RBKC website at this link. (The file size exceeds 9.5MB and is too large for this site).
The version of the StQW Draft Plan submitted to the Council in May 2015 was modified as a result of certain changes required by the independent examiner John Parmiter FRICS MRTPI. He published his examination report on October 26th 2015. A copy can be downloaded here St Quintin and Woodlands – Examiners Final Report 261015.
A tracked version of the Plan showing these modifications can be downloaded here.
(This is the same as the final ‘referendum version’ apart from some maps and diagrams which were subsequently updated).
Other key documents, submitted to the Council in May 2015 and required as part of the statutory ‘basic conditions’ for a neighbourhood plan can be downloaded below.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more background, or to join the StQW Forum. Membership of the Forum is open to anyone who lives or works in the neighbourhood area. This area is that within the green boundary below, to the east of the West London Line and lying in Kensington and Chelsea.