Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan

Utkinton and Cotebrook Final Draft Neighbourhood Plan 2020 – 2030

The Examiner has asked the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan for some responses and clarifications prior to our Draft Plan moves to its final stages.  The Examiner has asked that, in the interests of transparency, we publish their questions and our responses to them and they are included here in PDF format.

Examiner Questions Utkinton and Cotebrook 221220

Final Response to Examiner UCPC

The next stage is for the Examiner to review our submission, alongside any others and to come to a conclusion as to whether the Draft Plan will be recommended to go forward to a Local Referendum to decide whether it will be adopted as ‘Made’.

Both the Parish Council and the Steering Group would like to thank you the residents of Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish for your participation in this process.

As soon as we know the outcome we will let you know.


The Draft Neighbourhood Plan  was submitted to Cheshire West and Chester in March 2020 and is awaiting its final verification before being passed to an Inspector, who will review it and if satisfied will give it the stamp of ‘approval’.  It then is submitted, by CWaC to a local referendum where you, the residents of Utkinton and Cotebrook, will have your say.  It simply needs to have a simple majority say ‘Yes’ and it will pass into the ‘Made’ status where it will carry full weight in the Planning Process.

If you would like to view the Public Publicity Consultancy documents issued by CWaC the click on this link: https://consult.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/portal/cwc_ldf/np/utkinton_cotebrook_pub where all the documents are set out there is also a way for you to comment.

There will be a letter explaining the process and how to comment.

Here is a link to that page Utkinton and Cotebrook NP – response form in PDF


In word format Utkinton and Cotebrook NP – response form

The process was ‘kicked off’ in October 2016 and formally started in April 2017, so it has taken three-years to get to this stage.  We were informed, by CWaC, that the final stages have been delayed by Covid-19 and are unlikely to begin again until early 2021.

We received this notice from Localities who run the Neighbourhood Planning process:

Regulations linked to the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean that no elections or referendums can take place until 6 May 2021. This includes neighbourhood planning referendums. These provisions will be kept under review and may be amended or revoked in response to changing circumstances.

MHCLG understands this will be frustrating for communities that have dedicated significant time and effort to the neighbourhood planning process and naturally want their plans to come into force as soon as possible. With this in mind, they have updated current planning guidance to set out that neighbourhood plans awaiting referendums can be given significant weight in decision-making.

In the meantime, however, Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council, who will have the responsibility of implementing and managing the Plan would like to thank you, the residents of our Parish, for taking part in the various stages of consultation and a small group of individuals who have worked on the plan across the three years since its inception;

  • Marian Atkinson
  • Anthony Dahill
  • Anna Harvey
  • Ian Priestner
  • Vicky Ratchford
  • Graham Spencer
  • Francis Tunney
  • Carol Weaver

The three documents (all in PDF format) were submitted in March 2020 to Cheshire West and Chester.  You can download them by clicking on the links below:

Final Draft Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan 2020 – 2030: FINAL DRAFT PLAN – March2020

Final Draft Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan 2020 – 2030 – Appendices: FINAL DRAFT PLAN Appendices- March 2020

Final Draft Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Statement 2020 – 2030: NP Consultation document (Final)

The process through which a Neighbourhood Plan progresses are shown in the table below: NP-Process-Timetable (PDF) :  NP-Process-Timetable

The Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan is currently at Step 8 – Regulation 15, awaiting verification by CWaC.


The Responsible Body

These documents describe the responsibility for the Neighbourhood Plan

Word Format: Who leads neighbourhood planning in an area

PDF Format Who leads neighbourhood planning in an area



The early stages of development:

By the time you look at this page the leaflet and postcard about the Utkinton and Cotebrook Neighbourhood Plan should have dropped onto your doormat.  This is the beginning of a new phase in the evolution of our Parish and begins by us telling you a little bit about the process and asking whether you would be willing to get involved.

UCNDP Leaflet

First off though let us try and dispel some ‘urban myths’ about NDP  (as they have become known);

  • Neighbourhood Development Plans will not stop developers looking at building, but they can influence what and how much they build
  • NDPs are a document that planners have to take note of and listen to the views of the residents
  • They are not about just the big developments but provide a template through which you, the residents, can make your views heard – in effect the NDP  is a legal document – unlike our Parish Plan (published in 2013) which is advisory and indicated the things that were (are) important to you
  • NDPs are NOT just about development, they focus on protecting what is there too and helping the Parish to think what it needs to become sustainable in the the long run.

How Can You Get Involved?

The first step is for you to complete the Reply Paid Postcard that was included in the envelope or complete the form below and tell the NDP team [its is small as yet comprising its Chair, Ian Priestner (a Parish Councillor), the leader of the Steering Group; Tony Dahill (a past Parish Councillor) and Frank Tunney; current Chair of the Parish Council but here acting as a member of the group] whether you would be prepared to become a member of the Steering Group.


Next; there is an intention to hold a couple of Public Meetings where we will try and outline some more detail about the plan, what it is and what it will look like, to introduce the steering group and to formulate a questionnaire / survey about what is important to ALL residents across the Parish. You can tell us which public meeting you would like to attend on the Reply Paid Postcard or simply return the form on the page about public meetings.

When the Questionnaire/Survey lands on your mat we would be happy to provide extra copies so that you and your family can have your own ‘voices’ – it is important that we hear from all strata of our community from teen to elderly – as their views will differ and we want to reflect the different elements that are your wishes.

Once the surveys are ‘in’ we will analyse them and produce a draft ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ and then you can get involved again.  The Draft Plan will be scrutinised by you, your families as well as Cheshire West and Chester before its submission  to Government and then you will get a chance to vote on whether to accept it (which we hope you will) in a local referendum. It only takes a simple majority for it to be accepted and if it is then it will become a ‘Made’ plan and set in stone, so to speak.

As we say on the cover of the leaflet;

“This is YOUR Parish … why not have YOUR say in its future?’