Terms of Reference

Chapel & Hill Chorlton, Maer & Aston and Whitmore Parish Councils

Joint Neighbourhood Plan Group

Terms of Reference August 2015

Chapel & Hill Chorlton, Maer & Aston and Whitmore Parish Councils have agreed to work in partnership to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan to embrace the geographic areas of the three parish councils.
Whitmore Parish Council has agreed to be responsible for taking the lead role and for managing the preparation of the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The Parish Councils have agreed to establish a group to support the preparation of the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

The name of the group shall be:
The Chapel & Hill Chorlton, Maer & Aston and Whitmore Parish Councils Neighbourhood Development Plan Group (Neighbourhood Development Plan Group).

The group is responsible to Whitmore Parish Council and through it to Chapel & Hill Chorlton, Maer & Aston Parish Councils.

Prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan to embrace the geographic areas of the three parish councils that will be supported by the community through the referendum process and be adopted by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.

Powers to act
The group may take whatever actions are deemed appropriate to deliver the viable Neighbourhood Development Plan, taking account of the specific constraints described in the Terms of Reference.

Appointment of members
The membership of the group shall as a core comprise:

  • Two Councillors nominated by Chapel & Hill Chorlton Parish Council
  • Two Councillors nominated by Maer & Aston Parish Council
  • Two Councillors nominated by Whitmore Parish Council

The Parish Councils shall have the power to revise representation and may appoint more or less than the initial number.
The Group may appoint any other person that its membership believes will support the delivery of the project and no limitations are placed upon appointments.
Membership of the group is not limited by number or geography so as not to restrict the availability of expertise.

Principles of behaviour and attitude
The Group will:

  • Undertake the process using evidence-based, transparent and fair methods.
  • Encourage the expression of all opinions and ideas.
  • Create a positive atmosphere of acceptance that allows for the confident expression of opposing perspectives without fear or intimidation.
  • Encourage people who live in the three Parishes the opportunity to inform and shape the process.
  • Make the creation of the Neighbourhood Development Plan a positive and constructive process that will help improve quality of life and strengthen the community.

Group member behaviour
Members of the group will adopt a positive and supportive attitude and refrain from actions that may bring the integrity or reputation of the partner Parish Councils or the work of the group into disrepute.

Meeting arrangements
The Group may nominate a chairperson for each meeting or may appoint a permanent chairperson.
The group should nominate a person to keep notes of each meeting to include decisions and action points.

Decision making
The group’s decision making-process and recommendations are open to external scrutiny.
The group may employ whatever decision-making method it determines appropriate at the time.
Wherever possible decisions and recommendations should be based on evidence.

Whitmore Parish Council will be accountable for the proper approval of expenditure and will act in accordance with its Financial Regulations.
The group will prepare a budget and make requests for expenditure to Whitmore Parish Council.
The group will identify sources of funding.
The group will prepare applications for funding and present them to Whitmore Parish Council.
Whitmore Parish Council will be responsible for submitting formal applications for funding.
All funds, irrespective of how they are generated, must be lodged with Whitmore Parish Council.
The group has no power to incur expenditure or to commit to financial expenditure or to commit the Parish Councils to expenditure.

Relationship with Parish Councils and Parish Councillors
The group will:

  • Work positively with the Parish Councils and ensure that all Parish Councillors are fully informed throughout the process.
  • Formally report to the Parish Councils every three months.
  • Circulate notes of meetings to all Parish Clerks and all Parish Councillors.

Relationship with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
The group will liaise with and work closely with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council to develop a Neighbourhood Plan which will have due regard to the aims and objectives of the emerging Local Plan, the objective being to ensure that both plans are fully integrated and seamless.

It is expected that the group may take the following actions, but is not limited to these actions alone:

  • Prepare a project plan to set out how the group will create the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
  • Publicise the intention to produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan.
  • Inform and engage the community and publicise all subsequent activities and progress.
  • Meet regularly to agree actions and discuss issues that arise, in order that the process is dealt with in an efficient and timely manner.
  • Gather information.
  • Establish and understand the needs of residents and what the long-term vision or aspirations might be.
  • Decide upon and, if required, set up sub-groups to complete tasks.
  • Liaise with residents, partners and stakeholders.
  • Consult as widely and thoroughly as is possible to ensure that the draft and final Neighbourhood Development Plan is representative of the views of the residents,
  • Set up a mechanism to inform interested residents of progress, e.g. monthly updates by email.
  • Encourage residents to sign up to a method of being provided with information.
  • Actively publicise the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan prior to Referendum.

Revision to the Terms of Reference
The group may make a request to the Parish Councils to revise its Terms of Reference.

Dissolution of the Group
The Parish Councils will determine when the group shall be dissolved.