The Planning and Trees Committee currently comprises five Parish Councillors (including Tree Representative) with three reserves. The Committee operates in accordance with its Terms of Reference as approved by the full Sway Parish Council. It meets on the second Thursday of every month at the Jubilee Field Pavilion, Station Road, Sway at 7:15pm.
Plans and applications are available to view through the Planning Authority's portal at https://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/planning_category/view-or-comment-on-applications/. Everyone is welcome.
Sway Parish Council is consulted, and invited to comment on any planning applications within Sway Parish. In addition, Sway has its own Village Design Statement published in 2013 which the New Forest National Park Planning department must take into account when considering planning applications.
The Planning and Trees Committee will decide on one of the following options to pass back to the NFNPA planning officer:
- We recommend PERMISSION, for the reasons listed below, but would accept the decision reached by the National Park Authority's Officers under their delegated powers.
- We recommend REFUSAL, for the reasons listed below, but would accept the decision reached by the National Park Authority's Officers under their delegated powers.
- We recommend PERMISSION for the reasons listed below.
- We recommend REFUSAL for the reasons listed below.
- We are happy to accept the decision reached by the National Park Authority's Officers under their delegated powers
If the Planning and Trees Committee recommendation is contrary to that of the NFNPA planning officer, then the planning application is passed on to the NFNPA Planning Committee for its decision.
Sway Parish Council's Planning and Trees Committee meetings are fairly informal and we try to enable members of the public to speak to applications on the Agenda. Here is a useful introduction for Sway residents PaTC Introduction
Any planning matters that do not arrive in time for the agenda of a given Planning and Trees Committee meeting will be considered at a subsequent meeting of either the Planning and Trees Committee, or the full Parish Council.
Sway Parish Council is not the Transport and Roads authority for Sway. For contact details of the various organisations responsible, please refer to the Contacts: Getting things done page of this website.
Sway Parish Council will approach the relevant authority in matters that are of significant concern to the Parish.
Hedges, Ditches and Footpaths
Responsibility for Hedges and Ditches generally resides with the owner of the adjacent property. In some cases where an overgrown hedge or blocked ditch is causing serious inconvenience or danger, then Sway Parish Council may write to the owner, and in extreme cases may report the problem to Hampshire County Council to take action.
Sway Parish Council is not responsible for the footpaths in Sway - that is the responsibility of the highways authority, which in our case is Hampshire County Council, and the landowner. For Rights of Way footpaths see the HCC Rights of Way site starting at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/row.htm (Opens in a new window).
However as well as the general public being invited to comment on any Rights of Way issues Sway Parish Council also try to keep a weather eye on the footpaths in our Parish. That task is currently undertaken by various councillors.
Footpaths should not be confused with footways at the side of a road - like a pavement for example. Sway has 15 formal Rights of Way: 9 footpaths, 3 bridleways and 3 byways open to all traffic. Six of these continue into Hordle Parish, and one continues into the parish of Lymington & Pennington (where those will also appear with a different number in the lists of those other parishes). One bridleway leads directly into the open forest in Brockenhurst parish, and two bridleways are essentially forest routes over railway footbridges. The definitive statement for Sway is in pdf format under Sway on the pages numbered 87 to 89 of http://www.hants.gov.uk/rh/row/s.pdf (Opens in a new window) or for an overall picture, click on the map above.
The New Forest Cango bus services C32 and C33, after many years, has finally been taken out of service. Sway and Hordle Parish Councils, and New Milton Town Council, fought long and hard to keep the service but due to Govt cuts it was sadly not sustainable. The 120 fixed route timetable now offers a shortened service between Lymington and New Milton, from Monday to Saturday.
Since April 2014 the police support volunteers of Sway Community Speed Watch have been performing speed surveys at locations around Sway Parish that have been authorised by the police. The Speed Indicator Device (SID) is shared between Sway Parish Council, Boldre Parish Council, Lymington and Pennington Town Council and New Milton Town Council who each covered one quarter of the cost. Latest results for Sway are reported back to Sway Parish Council and published on the Sway Community Speedwatch website at https://swaycsw.weebly.com/.
- A Neighbourhood Plan is aimed at the local community saying where they want development – not where they don’t want it. It should be more supportive of development than restrictive, and should be evidence-based.
- A neighbourhood Plan cannot ensure specific uses in specific areas – but can suggest suitable new areas for development.
- It is extremely unlikely that Sway could get a Neighbourhood Plan in place and fully approved before an application at the Church Lane site is decided – so we would not be able to influence that development through a Neighbourhood Plan, nor gain any Community Infrastructure Levy payments.
- We currently anticipate that it is not likely that Sway will have another such major housing development (after Church Lane) for quite a few years.
- Neighbourhood Plans absolutely cannot change or delete or abrogate or override current National or Local Planning Authority (LPA) planning rules; e.g. the NFNPA Local Plan or the National Planning Policy Framework.
- The NFNPA would be pleased to support a Neighbourhood Plan (see also NFNPA notes here), or an update to a Village/Parish Design Statement (as they did previously for our VDS).
- A Neighbourhood Plan has to be supported in a local referendum by more than 50% of those that vote.
- Without recourse to revisiting every fine detail it seems unlikely that a Neighbourhood Plan would have prevented or significantly changed any of the recent decisions that we listed in our notes and that Sway residents broadly opposed; because the decisions were in line with national and LPA policies.
- We do not obviously have any group of residents demanding something that could be achieved by a Neighbourhood Plan.
- A Neighbourhood Plan can act to add community coherence – but if that were the main objective it might be better achieved by other methods.
- If we wanted to use a Neighbourhood Plan to support an environmental charter, for instance by saying we wanted to have only sustainable housing or new houses only with solar panels, then we probably have to get a paid viability study (“Three Dragons” being a suitable company for that sort of work), before we could take it any further.
- Sway Parish Council do not see any overarching objective that might be achieved by a Neighbourhood Plan
- A Neighbourhood Plan must fit within the LPA Local Plan and when fully approved has the same status as the Local Plan – and hence a stronger authority than a Village Design Statement (which when adopted is a Supplementary Planning Document)
- A Neighbourhood Plan is a lot of work and cost (e.g. 4 years’ work for Hythe & Dibden or £40K for New Milton), typically takes a few years and must pass a local referendum.
- The percentage of Community Infrastructure Levy going to the local council rises from 15% to 25% for local councils with a Neighbourhood Plan. This is a substantial incentive to local councils with a lot of new housing development – for instance those local councils in the NFDC area.
- The NFNPA do not use the Community Infrastructure Levy method (instead using the Section 106 method) but the NFNPA are actively investigating turning to the Community Infrastructure Levy method.
- Even under the Community Infrastructure Levy method the payments are mainly for larger developments – not for the off one or two garden-grabs or windfall permissions; so given that Sway could not get a Neighbourhood Plan in place for the Church Lane development and given that that is likely to be the only large development within the civil parish for many years, it is unlikely that there would be much Community Infrastructure Levy payments coming to Sway.
- All of the six NFNPA local councils that are along the path towards a Neighbourhood Plan have substantial housing development outside the National Park. No local council entirely within the National Park (like we are) has yet started work on a Neighbourhood Plan.
- There are some limited national funds to help towards a Neighbourhood Plan – but not for a Village Design Statement.
- We have not recently surveyed or consulted Sway residents to see what they might suggest.
- It would be unlikely that a Neighbourhood Plan would be able to make a significant change to any of the planning issues we noted in our questions – most of which seem to be trying to overturn national or LPA policies.
- The comments of other Parish Clerks are probably not untypical – a Neighbourhood Plan does take a lot of time and effort, and that needs to be sustained over a few years and then supported in a local referendum.
- Sway’s VDS is now to some extent superseded by the new NFNPA Local Plan – so developers and planning applicants will point to it being dated. We could either give it a quick face-lift (new appendix 2) or we go for a wider re-write – perhaps more of a (civil) Parish Design Statement – like Hordle’s VDS or Boldre’s Parish Design Statement.