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Neighbourhood Plans must meet the “basic conditions”, set out in planning legislation. This is tested through the independent examination.


The Basic Conditions for Neighbourhood Plans are that:


  • They must have appropriate regard to national policy;

  • They must contribute to the achievement of sustainable development;

  • They must be in general conformity with strategic local policy;

  • They must be compatible with EU obligations;


In addition, Neighbourhood Plans must be compatible with human rights legislation.



The National Planning Policy Framework 2021 (NPPF) [7] requires Neighbourhood Plans to set out a positive vision for the future of the local area and planning policies to guide decisions on planning applications. This Neighbourhood Plan has been written, having regard to national planning policy and guidance on a range of issues.

Paragraph 8 of the NPPF identifies three overarching objectives to achieving sustainable development. The Neighbourhood Plan positively addresses the economic, social and environmental objectives of the NPPF, taking account of the character, needs and opportunities of the area. The National Planning Policy Framework Guidelines as well as The National Design Guide 2019 (rev in 2021) and National Model Design Code 2021 provide further detail and explanation.



A key principle of the NPPF is the presumption in favour of sustainable development, which is defined clearly in its Paragraph 11. In response, the Neighbourhood Plan contributes positively by identifying opportunities to meet development needs of the neighbourhood area. The policies of the Neighbourhood Plan seek to ensure the viability and sustainability of our diverse rural town.


Growth across the Neighbourhood Area of Ongar should not be to the detriment or loss of Green Belt, although there are some changes to the boundaries proposed in EFDC Local Plan 2011-2033 [8] and will be concentrated around the potential development of strategic sites, the existing buildings, particularly those in Chipping Ongar Town Centre. This will be augmented by the usual smaller-scale incremental development that is typical of rural market towns.



Epping Forest District Council as the Local Planning Authority defines which policies are to be considered ‘strategic’ in its Local Plan, for the purpose of neighbourhood planning. The District Council considers that all of the policies set out in the current adopted Combined Policies of Epping Forest District Local Plan 1998 and Alterations 2006 (published 2008) to be strategic for the purpose of neighbourhood planning. The Neighbourhood Plan helps to achieve the spatial strategy in the Local Plan.


Whilst the basic conditions relate to adopted strategic local policies, it is advisable to take account of the emerging Epping Forest Local Plan 2011 to 2033. The evidence behind the emerging local plan is part of the evidence base for the neighbourhood plan (where relevant). Following the period when representations were invited on the soundness of the submission version of the Local Plan, the Epping Forest District Council Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in public on 21 September 2018. Hearings took place between February and June 2019. Advice from the Inspector in August 2019 required Epping Forest District Council to undertake further work to support the Local Plan. Main Modifications were consulted upon in Summer 2021. The Inspector’s Report is anticipated shortly.


The Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group ONPCG) has worked in liaison with Epping Forest District Council throughout the preparation of the plan to reduce the risk of disparities between the emerging Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan.




This Neighbourhood Plan is compatible with EU obligations and has been subject to ongoing engagement and an Equalities Assessment. The policies within this plan have been prepared with due care and consideration to ensure they are compatible with EU obligations and the Neighbourhood Plan has been screened for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA).





The policies in the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan are led by public opinion and based on evidence gathered from official statistics and existing publications as well as reports commissioned for the Plan. Key evidence is listed in the Schedule of Evidence at the end of this plan. In addition, local surveys, views, comments and ideas expressed by the local community have been taken into account.


The policies in this Neighbourhood Plan seek to deliver the aspirations and needs of the local community, within the framework of meeting the basic conditions and other legal requirements.

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7. National Policy Planning Framework, July 2021

8. Sites in EFDC Local Plan 2011-2033 will rely on changes to the Green Belt boundaries

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