Examiner Recommends Plan for Referendum

The Examination of the Neighbourhood Plan has concluded, with the Independent Examiner recommending that the Plan proceed to public referendum. The Examiner resolved that, subject to making the modifications outlined in his Report, the draft Neighbourhood Plan meets the ‘Basic Conditions’ These are the legal requirements for a neighbourhood plan.

The Local Planning Authority (LPA), Wiltshire Council, have subsequently agreed with the Examiner’s recommendation in their Decision Statement of 4 March 2024. This also lists the modifications that will need to be made to the Draft Plan before it can go to referendum.

The referendum, where all residents in Chippenham will have the opportunity to vote on whether to adopt the Plan, is likely to be held in May 2024. If more than 50% of those voting in the referendum vote in favour of the Plan then it will become formally adopted by LPA as a development plan document. It will be used in conjunction with the Wiltshire Local Plan to determine future planning applications in Chippenham.

The Examiner, in his Report, commented that:

‘Chippenham Town Council is to be congratulated on their extensive efforts to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for their area that will guide development activity over the period to 2038.’

He went on to explain:

‘The Neighbourhood Plan proposes a local range of policies and seeks to bring forward positive and sustainable development in the Chippenham Neighbourhood Area. There is an evident focus on safeguarding the very distinctive, local character of the area whilst accommodating future change and growth. The Plan has been underpinned by extensive community support and engagement. The social, environmental and economic aspects of the issues identified have been brought together into a coherent plan which adds appropriate local detail to sit alongside the Wiltshire Core Strategy.’

You can read the Examiner’s Report in full, as well as Wiltshire Council’s Decision Statement, in the ‘Plan Documents’ section of the website. Please keep checking the ‘News’ section of the website to find out the date of the referendum.

Examination of Plan

The Examination of the Draft Neighbourhood Plan began on 29th September 2023. Independent Examiner Andrew Matheson, affiliated to the Neighbourhood Planning Independent Examiner Referral Service (NPIERS), was appointed by the Local Planning Authority (in consultation with the Town Council) to ensure that the Plan meets the necessary standards (the ‘basic conditions’) and is in general conformity with national and local planning policy.

Since October 2023 the Examiner has been liaising with the Town Council and Local Planning Authority (LPA), raising a series of questions and observations and inviting responses.

The Examiner will likely provide his report in January 2024 making recommendations on the Plan to the LPA and Town Council. The LPA then reaches its own view on the Examiner’s Report and takes the decision on whether to send the Plan on to the final stage in the neighbourhood plan process – which is a public referendum.

Regulation 16 Public Consultation

The draft Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to Wiltshire Council on 28 June 2023 and found to be legally compliant on 14 July 2023. The Plan can now proceed to the final public consultation, known as the Regulation 16 Consultation.

Wiltshire Council will be administering the Regulation 16 Consultation, which will run for a period of six weeks, commencing on Monday 24 July 2023 until Tuesday 5 September 2023.

Following the Consultation, the comments received will be passed to an independent examiner, to be appointed by Wiltshire Council, who will consider the representations and determine if the draft Plan should be put to a community referendum.

To comment on the draft Neighbourhood Plan, where possible, please use Wiltshire Council’s Consultation Portal where all of the documents that form part of the consultation can be found.

Please be aware documents viewed via the Consultation Portal may not be available to view with Internet Explorer. In such cases please use an alternative internet web browser such as Google Chrome.

Alternatively, an editable representation form can be downloaded from the Supporting Files section on the Portal and completed forms can be emailed to neighbourhoodplanning@wiltshire.gov.uk.

For people who do not have access to digital methods of communication, responses can be sent by post to:
Neighbourhood Planning
Planning and Economic Development
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JN

For people who do not have access to the internet to view the draft Neighbourhood Plan, a paper copy can be provided on request – please tel: 01225 713698 to request one.

The Neighbourhood Plan can also be viewed at:
Chippenham Town Council, High Street, Chippenham, SN15 3ER,
Stanley Park Sports Ground, Stanley Lane, Chippenham SN15 3RW,
Chippenham Museum, 9-10 Market Place, Chippenham, SN15 3HF

Please be aware that all representations made through the Regulation 16 Consultation will be publicly available and may also appear on the Wiltshire Council website via the Consultation Portal.

Repeat Consultation on Plan with SEA

We consulted with you back in February 2022 as part of our first formal public consultation (Regulation 14 Consultation) on the Draft Neighbourhood Plan. Thank you if you took part in this consultation. We received over 480 individual comments. These comments have been very helpful to us and we are currently revising our Plan as a result.

In April 2022 we were informed by Wiltshire Council that we were required to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the Neighbourhood Plan. This was due to concerns having been raised by Wiltshire Council’s Conservation Officers on the potential impact of our draft Policies TC1-TC3 on the historic environment. We have subsequently carried out an SEA and in line with best practice guidance have decided to repeat the Regulation 14 Consultation, this time specifically with the addition of the SEA.

In repeating the Regulation 14 Consultation we are seeking any comments you may wish to make on the SEA, or if the SEA raises any additional or revised comments you may wish to make on the Neighbourhood Plan. We respectfully request that any new or additional comments you may wish to make are limited to the scope of the SEA. All previous comments submitted to the 2022 Regulation 14 Consultation are still valid. There is no need to submit these comments to us again.

The repeat Regulation 14 Consultation runs from 21st February 2023 – 5th April 2023. Please send any comments you wish to make on the SEA to neighbourhoodplan@chippenham.gov.uk

To read the SEA, our draft Neighbourhood Plan, accompanying annexes (Chippenham Design Guide, Chippenham Conservation Area Character Appraisal, Shopfronts Design Guide and Tree Planting Guide) and Appendices, please go to our ‘Consultation’ page of this website. Alternatively, a hard copy of these documents will be available to view in the Town Hall reception area during the consultation period.

Results from Neighbourhood Plan’s Public Consultation

We received great community feedback from our first public consultation on the draft Plan. The ‘Regulation 14 consultation’ was carried out between 28 February – 12 April 2022.

We are pleased to share with you the Consultation Results Report. The Report, written by Community First Wiltshire, sets out the headline results of the consultation. It also includes some selected comments by respondents. The Report can be viewed by clicking on the link: http://chippenhamneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Reg-14-Consultation-Survey-Results-Final.pdf

Some headlines statistics from the Report are:
483 responses in total.

Overall response rate of 68%.

Good distribution of responses from postcodes across Chippenham, and surrounding areas.

77% of respondents agreed with the Plan’s Vision and Objectives.

90% average agreement rate across all policies, with an average disagreement rate of 10%.

Lowest agreement rate was for Policy H1 – Housing Mix and Types. 74% were in agreement with this policy.

101 respondents named their favourite Local Green Space. The highest number of mentions was for ‘LGS B – Baydons Wood, Baydons Meadow & Long Close’.

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group are currently reviewing all the comments received during the Regulation 14 Consultation. They will then make amendments to the Neighbourhood Plan based on these comments.

The Steering Group will publish their response to individual comments in due course. This is currently expected to be in September 2022, when the Neighbourhood Plan is formally submitted to Wiltshire Council.

The draft Neighbourhood Plan, as consulted upon at Regulation 14 stage, can be viewed by clicking on the link: http://designicehouse.com/cnp/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/CTC_0803_Draft_Neighbourhood_Plan.pdf

Consultation Begins on Draft Neighbourhood Plan

The Chippenham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, made up of Town Councillors and local community representatives, is undertaking its first public consultation on the Pre-Submission Draft Plan, inviting residents and town stakeholders to comment on it.

The consultation runs from the 28th February 2022 – 12th April 2022 and takes the form of a consultation questionnaire, through which the Steering Group hopes to receive feedback on its draft planning policies and Vision for the town.

Chippenham Town Council, who sponsor the Neighbourhood Plan, began the process leading to its preparation back in 2017. A councillor Working Party was set up in 2018, and the Steering Group commenced its work in 2019.

Councillor Desna Allen, Leader of Chippenham Town Council said,

“I’m extremely pleased that the Town Council took the decision in 2017 to commence the process and has provided funding since then to develop a Neighbourhood Plan for Chippenham. I encourage everyone to take time to read the draft plan and participate in the consultation. Once adopted, the Neighbourhood Plan will have a tangible positive impact on the future development for our town.”

An early public consultation, involving ‘road shows’ and a questionnaire survey helped define its vision and the main areas for the Plan to address. Topic Groups, comprising councillors and members of the public, were set up, bringing in a wealth of expertise and local knowledge to help gather evidence and develop specific policies within the Plan. The Steering Group liaised with various stakeholders, including Wiltshire Council, throughout the process.

The Neighbourhood Plan will be refined as a result of feedback received during this ‘Regulation 14’ public consultation, and there will be a further round of public consultation. An examination by a Planning Inspector will follow, with the final stage in the process being decided by residents of the town in a referendum. On approval the Neighbourhood Plan would provide local planning policies for the Parish and become a statutory component of the Development Plan, to be used by Wiltshire Council when determining planning applications in Chippenham.

Councillor Nick Murry, Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, commented:

“Almost four years of hard work has gone into the Plan’s preparation by Councillors, officers and members of the community. Steering Group members in particular have generously donated large amounts of their time, with dedicated support from the Town Council’s Head of Planning throughout.”

“The Steering Group have set out a vision for the future of the town, which seeks to capitalize on its history, accessible location, and its beautiful surrounding countryside, whilst also maintaining it as an attractive and vibrant, riverside Market Town in which to live, work and for people to visit. They Group have identified seven topic areas where we feel our planning policies can make the most difference to the development and use of land in the town: sustainability and climate change, green infrastructure, housing, town centre, transport, community infrastructure and the local economy. We hope this Draft Plan broadly meets with the community’s approval and I would very much encourage the Chippenham community to give us have their thoughts on the policies being put forward by the Plan.”

To read the draft Neighbourhood Plan and accompanying annexes (the Chippenham Design Guide, Chippenham Conservation Area Character Appraisal, Shopfronts Design Guide and Tree Planting Guide) and to take the consultation questionnaire please go to our ‘Consultation’ page of this website.

There will be paper copies of the questionnaire available at the Town Hall, Chippenham Museum and Stanley Park Sports Ground alongside the draft plan. Due to the large number of appendices, these will only be available to view at the Town Hall.

Public Consultation Coming in Early 2022

With 2021 almost over, it may have seemed rather a quiet year for the Neighbourhood Plan. However, behind the scenes we have been beavering away to pull together, and make finishing touches to, our Draft Neighbourhood Plan for its first public consultation (Regulation 14 consultation).

Unfortunately due to the time, complexity and resourcing of Neighbourhood Plan work there will be a short delay to our project timeline. However, we look forward to sharing our work and hearing your views in early 2022. Please check back in with us in the New Year for an update…

Thank You To Our Topic Groups

The Neighbourhood Plan ‘Topic Group Phase’ has now drawn to a close and we would like to thank all topic group members for their time, effort and knowledge in contributing to gathering evidence and helping to develop draft policies.

We have been lucky to have had such a diverse and skilled groups of volunteers, and the collaborative team process will undoubtedly result in a Neighbourhood Plan for Chippenham which is more robust and better able to deliver the wishes of the Chippenham community with regards future development of our town.

The next phase of the Neighbourhood Plan will involve the Steering Group honing and refining the policies and preparing a first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan for public consultation in the spring of 2021.

Survey Results Revealed

We are very grateful to the local community for responding to our online Community Survey in March/April despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 400 of you responded to detailed questions on community infrastructure, green infrastructure, transport, economy, housing, and climate change & sustainability issues in Chippenham.

We were also grateful for your responses to our supplementary Climate Change & Sustainability Survey, and responses from targeted stakeholders to our Business Survey, Community Groups & Organisations Survey, and Community Infrastructure Providers Survey.

Amongst other things there were clear messages from you on improving pedestrian and cycle routes in the Town and reducing the carbon footprint of new buildings. You showed how much you value our green spaces in the Town – with John Coles Park being your overall favourite venue or location.

To find out more, and view our survey results, please click on the links below. There is a useful Summary of Findings towards the beginning of each Report:

Community Survey Report

Climate Change & Sustainability Survey Report

Community Groups & Organisations Survey Report

Community Infrastructure Providers Survey Report

Business Survey Report

The survey results will provide evidence for our 7 Topic Groups as they draft planning policies over the next month.

Finally, we would like to thank Community First Wiltshire who did a great job for us managing the surveys and writing the Reports.

Community Survey – Make A Difference From Your Armchair!

Are you currently stuck at home twiddling your thumbs? Do you want to do something useful for your local community from your living room? Then please spare us 20 minutes of your time to complete our Community Survey.

Our survey questions have been created by members of the local community currently engaged in one of our 7 Topic Groups. The questions are based around the topics of: Housing, Community Infrastructure, Green Infrastructure, Transport, Economy, and Sustainability & Climate Change. It is part of an evidence gathering exercise will which enable Topic Group Members to start formulating some draft planning policies for the Town.

Please click on the link below to complete the survey:


We also have another survey on Climate Change & Sustainability. So for those of you who have additional time, or have an interest in this particular issue, please click on the link below:


The surveys will be live until 23rd April 2020.