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Feniton Parish Neighbourhood Plan


On 11 July East Devon District Council (EDDC) agreed that our Neighbourhood Plan should be ‘made’, i.e. approved and incorporated into the District’s wider planning regulations and policies. As a result any proposed development within the Parish will now be required to take the Neighbourhood Plan into consideration, EDDC noting that the Plan “will ensure that the hard work that has gone into its production will result in effective application of local community expectations and aspirations in the decision making process”.

EDDC also noted that the Plan had been produced “with considerable community engagement” and had met with overwhelming support in the local referendum (93.71% in favour). As well as recommending its approval, EDDC resolved to write to the Neighbourhood Plan group “to congratulate them on all their hard work”.

This is an excellent result for Feniton, with public recognition of the several years of complicated and dedicated commitment by the Parish Council and other members of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.

The final version of the Submitted and ‘Made’ Neighbourhood Plan can be viewed via this link: ‘Made’ Feniton Neighbourhood Plan


On Thursday, 17 May the Referendum for Feniton’s Neighbourhood Plan was held.

The Plan was three years in the making by a steering group of Feniton residents led by the Parish Council, and built on extensive consultation with the community. The end result was a document that strove to reflect what villagers wanted Feniton to look like in the future, and asked for a simple Yes or No to the question:

Do you want East Devon District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Feniton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?

Of the 1,538 people eligible to vote, 493 ballot papers were received. Of these, 462 were for YES, 30 for NO, and one paper was spoiled with no marking at all. This means that Feniton’s Neighbourhood Plan will be ‘made’, i.e. adopted.

As a result, Feniton now has a robust and strong Plan that will have to be taken into account when it comes to any housing development being proposed in the village. Building upon the feedback received from Feniton residents, it also provides a clear and positive vision of how Feniton wants to grow in the future.

Only nine Neighbourhood Plans have been made in East Devon to date. Feniton’s turnout of 32.05%, while it may sound low, in terms of local referendums and elections is a very creditable performance: the lowest turnout in the District for a Neighbourhood Plan referendum was 17.7%. The proportion of Feniton YES votes, at 93.7%, was the second highest in the District (Budleigh Salterton recorded 94.7%).

This is an excellent result for Feniton!

Feniton Neighbourhood Plan – Final Document for Referendum

Following the final report by the Plan Examiner, the Feniton Neighbourhood Plan has been updated to the report which will go forward for Referendum. The report can be read by clicking the link. Watch this space for the next step, which will be the referendum of parishioners.

Feniton Neighbourhood Plan – Final Report on the Feniton Neighbourhood Plan

The FPC and EDDC have received the Final Report from the Plan Examiner on the Neighbourhood Plan which can be viewed by clicking on the link. The examiner has recommended, subject to minor modifications, that the plan go forward for Referendum. The examiner also commended the steering committee for their efforts in producing a readable document and in getting the plan to its current status.

Feniton Neighbourhood Plan – Subsequent Queries Letter and Response

The FPC and EDDC have received a letter from the Plan Examiner containing a couple of subsequent queries and a copy can be viewed by clicking on the link. The items within the letter were discussed at the Parish Council meeting held on 8th January 2018. A response was agreed in conjunction with East Devon District Council and the two responses to the Plan Examiner have been sent as follows:

Item 1 – The bowling club is to be revised to a site with potential for future designation as a Local Green Space.  This designation is to be considered as part of a post adoption review.

Item 2 – Policy H2 second bullet point is to be updated to reflect the Parish grouping specified in paragraph 16.29 of East Devon’s Local Plan.  The affordable housing criteria is to be updated to include Feniton, Buckerell and Gittisham Parish group.


Feniton Neighbourhood Plan – Procedural Matters Letter

The FPC have received the Procedural Matters Letter from the plan Examiner, which can be read by clicking on the link. The Examiner requested a Map of the Appeal Sites from 2014 which the Council have sourced and which can also be viewed by clicking on the link. the initial response from the Examiner appears to confirm that to date all is correct with the Neighbourhood Plan thus far and we await further correspondence.

Feniton Neighbourhood Plan Submitted to East Devon District Council

The Neighbourhood Plan has now been submitted to EDDC along with all the Appendices, the Basic Conditions Statement and the Consultation Statement all as per the timetable outlined below. the full list of documents can be found by clicking on the Neighbourhood Plan Documents Page.

The Neighbourhood Plan Notice of Publication has now been received from East Devon District Council and can be viewed by clicking on the link. The consultancy period runs until 8th December 2017.

Feniton Neighbourhood Plan has now closed for public consultation

The deadline for public response of 19 August 2017 has now passed. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will now review responses received and consider whether changes need to be made to the document in light of these comments. The next stage will be to liaise with East Devon District Council as described below.

Feniton Neighbourhood Plan consultation

In the first week of July, every household in Feniton will receive a leaflet, announcing that a draft Neighbourhood Plan is now open for public consultation. The leaflet can be read here, and the draft Neighbourhood Plan itself is available here.

This part of the consultation is known as ‘pre-submission’, and people have six weeks in order to submit their opinions to Feniton Parish Council. Please refer to the leaflet for guidance on how to do this: a copy of the proforma response sheet in Word is available here.

After the deadline for response of 19 August 2017, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group will review responses received and consider whether changes need to be made to the document in light of these comments. The next stage will be to liaise with East Devon District Council, at which time a Basic Conditions Statement and Consultation Statement will also need to be submitted. The Basic Conditions Statement explains how the Neighbourhood Plan conforms to local and national planning policy which it is legally required to do. The Consultation Statement will outline how the community has been kept informed of developments and how their views have been taken into consideration.

Following the initial consultation stage, East Devon District Council will undertake a further 6-week period of consultation before handing the document and all supporting evidence to a planning inspector to rule on whether the Neighbourhood Plan is sufficiently robust to go to a referendum. If so, they will organise for a referendum whereby residents can vote on whether they agree that the Neighbourhood Plan reflects their views. If the result of the referendum is more than 50% in favour of the Plan, then it will be adopted and taken into consideration in all planning decisions made by East Devon District Council. The Plan will be reviewed at 5-yearly intervals.

Why a Neighbourhood Plan?

The Government is encouraging towns and villages to come together and formulate a plan stipulating how their community should progress. East Devon has a Local Plan in place for the period up to 2031 and which specifies that development should happen in the following priority: (1) housing at the West End of the district at Cranbrook, close to the centre of employment in Exeter; (2) housing in the main towns of East Devon which have good levels of employment opportunities; and (3) development in the small towns and larger villages. Within this hierarchy, Feniton sits in third place and, at this moment, East Devon District Council is not looking for these communities to expand, apart from within their built-up area boundaries.

A Neighbourhood Plan will provide a robust means of ensuring that Feniton develops the way its residents want it to. It will complement the Local Plan for East Devon, and accordingly have both credibility and force. It was for these reasons that in 2014 Feniton Parish Council decided to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for the entire Parish.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

An audited and approved Neighbourhood Plan is a legal document that has the same standing as both National and Local Planning Policy. It must complement the National and Local planning documents, but it offers people living within the area of the Neighbourhood Plan a say in how, where, what and when development should take place in their area, even down to the type and appearance of the developments.

Developing a Neighbourhood Plan?

An initial meeting was held in the Village Hall on Thursday 16th October 2014 and a presentation was given to the Councillors and members of the public that attended by Mr Stuart Todd, a planning consultant, to explain what the Neighbourhood Plan is and what it will provide for the community. He also explained the process involved in getting a plan initiated and approved. The timescale for production of the plan is typically 15-24 months and depends on the level of community engagement. Once produced the Plan has to be voted on and accepted by the Neighbourhood population, so it truly represents the local views. Slides of the presentation on Power Point given by My Todd are included HERE. A Steering Committee was formed to take the process forward.


Neighbourhood Plan Timeline

July 2017

Following final consultation at the Feniton Fun Day on 2nd July, after which time the draft Neighbourhood Plan will be sent out for a six-week public consultation period, the Plan will be sent to East Devon District Council for a further six-week consultation period. The timetable for the remainder of the year is expected to be as below

August 2017 

Examination of Plan

September – October 2017

Consideration of Plan by Independent Examiner

October 2017

Publication of any amendments required for Plan.

November 2017

Publication of Plan followed by local referendum.

December 2017

Plan ‘made’, i.e. confirmed and adopted by EDDC as the Local Planning Authority.

November 2016

Over the last 6 months the responses from the questionnaire have been used in the development and formulation of policies. These policies have now been completed and The Draft Policies Document can be found by following the link. In addition to this EDDC have prepared a draft screening opinion in relation to the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitat Regulations Assessment document which can be read by following the link. This document has been sent out to statutory bodies for any comment that they may have. Once the documents have been revised with any receive comments a second consultation period commences with a number of other organisations to see if they have any comments. Once this process has been completed the Neighbourhood Plan is on the last leg towards presentation  to the village and a local referendum.

May 2016

Following on from the questionnaire sent to all households in October 2015, the responses have been collated and are now available for all to see in the Feniton Neighbourhood Plan Residents Survey Analysis Report which can be read by clicking on the publication title. This report is a factual interpretation of the responses and does not seek to draw conclusions at this stage. The responses from the questionnaire will be used for the next process in the development of the Neighbourhood Plan, which will be the formulation of policies. These policies, in turn, will form the backbone of the Neighbourhood Plan on which a referendum will take place on whether the village wants to adopt the Plan.

April 2016

Collation of the responses is almost complete and will be discussed at the next Neighbourhood Planning Meeting which is to be held on Monday 11th April.

October 2015

The Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire was circulated to every dwelling within Feniton Parish. Responses were collected and nearly one third of questionnaires was received back successfully completed. A copy of the questionnaire can be found by clicking the link below:

Feniton Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire

24/03/15 – Neighbourhood Plan Roadshow a Big Hit

The latest drop-in session for the public to air their views on how they would like Feniton to develop over the next 15 years took place last Saturday 21st March at Feniton C of E School. The drop-in coordinator, Malcolm, said that the FNP team had gathered approximately 60 new sets of feedback forms and the discussions that were had around the displays flowed easily as people came to give their views. It was also good to see many younger families and individuals that had not attended the previous roadshow.

Good though the event was there is no rest for the FNP steering group which presses on with their remit to consult widely with the residents of the Parish to formulate the draft Neighbourhood Plan. Look out for further opportunities to give your views on how you want Feniton to develop.

25/02/15 – Second Neighbourhood Plan Road Show to be held at Feniton Primary School

The second road show which will enable residents to find out more about the Feniton Neighbourhood Plan and to give their views on how the village is to be developed over the next 15 years is to be held from 09:00 to 12:00 on Saturday 21st March at Feniton Primary School. A flyer for the event has also been produced and can be viewed HERE. If you are unable to attend the event on 21st March the steering committee still needs to hear your views. Please send them using the tear off strip at the bottom of the flyer. A copy of the flyer will be delivered to properties in the parish over the coming days up to the event.

24/01/15 – The Power of the Neighbourhood Plan

A short document illustrating what the Neighbourhood Plan can achieve has been added to the library and can be viewed HERE.

13/01/15 – Initial Neighbourhood Plan Road Show Meeting Held at the Village Hall

The summary of the first road show on the Neighbourhood Plan is given below by the co-organiser Malcolm,

In general the event went very well.  The FNP team became highly inventive and enthusiastic.  The attendees engaged with the members of the committee and discussed various aspect of village life.  The event can be adjudged a success because it proved that we have the necessary talent to drive this project through and the community as a whole wants to secure the future of the neighbourhood.  It has been estimated that 100 people attended the event.  The team observed that the majority of the attendees were elderly and arrived during the afternoon.  We need to attract a broader audience.

Specific observations.

The event presented 5 stations each with a different theme.  Initially the attendees were presented with a broad view of the concept of a neighbourhood plan. This area could have been rather indigestible but Chris managed to engage the visitors and make the documentation meaningful.  I think that we need to develop a short explanation of what a plan is and how it is developed so that attendees can have a reference handout.

The second station was an exhibition of Feniton Life.  An embryonic exhibition that now needs to be refined and developed.  I think that the artistic members of the community need to be engaged as this is a considerable undertaking for one person.

The third station was aimed at getting attendees to express their ‘VISION’ for Feniton.  Very engaging and lots of output that is now being analysed. Chris, Jenny and various members of the team have proved that they can invent an engaging and meaningful attraction at the drop of a hat.  I think that this element of the road show had the most impact.

The fourth station was an area where attendees could express their specific concerns.  Very engaging but a little too busy.  Busy in respect that people could not get at the board and the table because of knots of attendees wishing to discuss issues.  Lots of data gathered and lots of opinions recorded.  This part of the event may need to be redesigned purely to get participant flow. Next to the station was a table containing documentation. This seemed to be attractive to a small number of individuals but I feel that we have to be more selective about the type of documents that we put forward in order to avoid our fellow villagers chocking on literature.

The fifth station was an electronic presentation.  Visual display generated on a computer and projected on to the wall.  We must make more of this as I feel that it could be used to deliver a final message.

All in all the event proved that the FNP team are highly innovative and have few limitations when it comes to putting on a road show.  I think that we need to hone the message and tidy up the various elements of the road show but we seem to have a platform that will enable us to engage with our community.

I hope that this short report is useful but remember that it is only my perception on the event and I was totally astounded by the team and the exchanges that occurred between the team and the attendees.

25/11/14 – Initial Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Meeting Held

The first meeting of the Feniton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group was held on Thursday 20th November to discuss the processes and get the ball rolling for the development of the Plan. Some short notes of the meeting can be seen HERE. One of the first actions was to initiate a Flyer which will ultimately be delivered to all homes to explain how the community can get engaged in the process. The initial Flyer can be viewed HERE. Flyers will also be distributed at the St Andrews Fair on 29th November. In addition an initial Drop-In afternoon and evening session has been set up for Tuesday 13th January 2015 at the Village Hall.

The second meeting of the Steering Group will be held on Tuesday 6th January 2015 at the Village Hall Annex. It is not too late to get involved. Please speak to members at the Sta Andrews Fair stall or contact Martyn Smith via the contact details at the bottom of the Flyer.

10/11/14 – Date Confirmed for the First Meeting

The first meeting for the Neighbourhood Plan has been set for Thursday 20th November at 19:30 in the Village Hall Annex. Please come along. Everyone is welcome.

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