Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan – Examiner’s Letter

We have just received this letter from the Examiner with regard to the Utkinton and Cotebrook Draft Neighbourhood Plan.  As you will see it suggests that the Inspector is visiting the Neighbourhood area on, or about 14th December – please do not approach the Examiner.

The document is attached as a word and also a PDF and copied below  for those without access to Word or Adobe Acrobat

Word Format:    Examiner Procedural Matters Utkinton and Cotebrook 141220

PDF Format:      Examiner Procedural Matters Utkinton and Cotebrook 141220

Text of the letter:


EXAMINER: Andrew Mead BSc (Hons) MRTPI MIQ

Dianne Jones

Clerk to Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council

Councillor Francis Tunney Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council

Lyndsay Jennings Cheshire West and Chester Council





Examination Ref: 01/AM/UCNP

14 December 2020

Dear Ms Jones, Councillor Tunney and Ms Jennings


Following the submission of the Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan (the Plan) for examination, I would like to clarify several initial procedural matters.

  1. Examination Documentation

I can confirm that I am satisfied that I have received a complete submission of the draft Plan and accompanying documentation, including the Basic Conditions Statement, the Consultation Statement and the Regulation 16 representations, to enable me to undertake the examination.

Subject to my detailed assessment of the draft Plan, I have not at this initial stage identified any very significant and obvious flaws in the Plan that might lead me to advise that the examination should not proceed.

  1. Site Visit

I intend to undertake a site visit to the neighbourhood plan area (subject to on-going government advice) during the week commencing 14 December 2020. This will assist in my assessment of the draft Plan, including the issues identified in the representations.

The site visit will be undertaken unaccompanied. It is very important that I am not approached to discuss any aspects of the Plan or the neighbourhood area, as this may be perceived to prejudice my independence and risk compromising the fairness of the examination process (as well as respecting the current COVID-19 distancing arrangements).

I may have a number of questions, following my site visit, which I will set out in writing should I require any further clarification.

  1. Written Representations

At this stage, I consider the examination can be conducted solely by the written representations procedure, without the need for a hearing.  However, I will reserve the option to convene a hearing should a matter(s) come to light where I consider that a hearing is necessary to ensure the adequate examination of an issue, or to ensure that a person has a fair chance to put a case.

  1. Examination Timetable

As you will be aware, the intention is to examine the Plan (including conduct of the site visit) with a view to providing a draft report (for ‘fact checking’) within 4-6 weeks of submission of the draft Plan.

However, in the event I do have questions as a result of my site visit, I must provide the opportunity for you to reply. This would mean that the examination timetable would be extended. Please be assured that I would seek to mitigate any delay as far as is practicable. The IPe office team will keep you updated if there are any changes to the anticipated site visit date and, in due course, the delivery date of the draft report.

If you have any process questions related to the conduct of the examination, which you would like me to address, please do not hesitate to contact the office team in the first instance.

In the interests of transparency, may I prevail upon you to ensure that a copy of this letter is placed on the Parish Council and Local Authority websites.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Your sincerely

Andy Mead

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