We were commissioned by Henley-on-Thames Town Council to assist in the production of the Joint Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan. A key focus for the Neighbourhood Plan was the need to identify land for approximately 450 new homes in line with the requirements of the South Oxfordshire Core Strategy.
As part of the Plan-making process, the Town Council devolved much of the decision making to volunteer-led resident working groups. We trained and assisted these residents over a two-year period to formulate strategy and policy on housing, social infrastructure, transport and other issues. A series of outreach and consultation sessions were also undertaken to understand wider community opinion, with a total of four main rounds of community engagement. At the pre-submission plan consultation stage, drop-in exhibitions, questionnaires and online surveys were used, as well as road shows at the train station and local supermarkets, yielding a high response rate. We also undertook a Sustainability Appraisal incorporating a Strategic Environmental Assessment, as part of this commission.
The Neighbourhood Plan was officially adopted by South Oxfordshire District Council after the Plan was passed by an independent examiner and a clear majority of residents (82%) voted in favour via a referendum.