Recent changes to planning laws have given parishes such as Bearley a greater say in planning and development in their areas. The Neighbourhood Planning (NP) process enables communities to better shape the place they work and live, to inform how development takes place and help influence the type, quality and location of that development, ensuring that change brings local benefits. The Plan will cover the period from 2019 to 2031.

A group of local volunteers called the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, working together with the Parish Council has been drafting the Bearley NP in response to these changes. Appropriate Locality and Groundworks grants have been obtained and an independent Planning Consultant is assisting with the preparation of the Plan. This will ensure residents have a greater say in the long-term development of our village and neighbourhood area environment to achieve its long-standing goals attested through the planning questionnaires and address the challenges and opportunities for the future vitality of the parish.

The community of Bearley has a strong history of local decision-making. In 2001 the community prepared its first action plan “Bearley, Appraisal, History & Action Plan – Present, Past and Future, September 2001” establishing its vision for the future. This was followed by the Bearley Village Community Plan in March 2012 which set out a vision for the future development of the community and how that might be achieved. It consolidated and documented the information obtained from the Parish Appraisal of 2001 and laid out opportunities and threats to the community. It also set out a ten-year Action Plan covering Facilities, Infrastructure, Environment and Development. The Action Plan was reviewed at the AGM on 14 May 2018 and the Parish Council is proud to record that the actions on this Plan have all been progressed.

This Neighbourhood Plan builds on the guidelines and recommendations of the previous plans, adding updates and new elements based on community consultation. The vision and policies set out in this Plan are the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis, including a formal survey of residents robustly engaging the community, consultation workshops, independent planning assessments, public meetings and lengthy research into existing documentation.

The Bearley Neighbourhood Plan Survey of April 2015 received 152 responses: 109 (72%) from households, 43 (28%) from individual residents. It identified the facilities and services responding Bearley residents feel should be improved, expressed their desire to preserve the rural character of the parish and their determination to preserve its heritage assets. Responses to the survey show that parishioners feel that the parish needs to continue to develop, but that this should be done in a managed and controlled way. [Reference: pages 3, 13 and 14 Bearley Neighbourhood Plan Survey Results, Final report, April 2015 see here.]

Following adoption following a referendum held for electors in the Parish the Bearley NP will have legal status and carry the same weight as the Stratford-on-Avon Local Plan in the determination of planning applications.

The document comprises the following major sections:

  • Background and Village Character – provides detailed information on the history and current state of the village and its surroundings as well as its rural character.
  • Vision and strategic objectives – explains the way in which residents would like to see the village develop in the future, based on the feedback given in consultations over the past four years.
  • Policies and aspirations – details specific policies in areas such as housing, economy, the built and natural environment, infrastructure and amenities, facilities as well as community. The aspirations of the community for improvements to the village, its surrounds and furthering the community spirit.
  • Appendices – provides evidence to support the proposed policies and vision.

A document entitled Neighbourhood Plan – What are we doing in Bearley September 2018 was put together in September 2018 by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to address most frequently asked questions about the Neighbourhood Plan process. It was delivered to all households in Bearley. The document provides information on the content of the plan, the timetable for the delivery of the Plan. Most importantly it describes how residents can contribute to the plan and have their opinions on the future of Bearley heard.

The Pre-submission Public Consultation is planned to take place with Public Consultation events at Bearley village Hall in February 2019 and the it is hoped that the Plan will be adopted before the end of 2019.

The following table illustrates are the key steps in preparation of all Neighbourhood Plans and the rigorous legal and factual compliance checks applied throughout the process.


Key Stage





1. Preliminaries  

•   Neighbourhood Area application to Stratford-on-Avon District Council (SDC)

•   Establish funding and structure

•   Publicity, public consultation and questionnaires


2. Plan Preparation



•   Analyse evidence and create draft policies

•   Carry out site assessments

•   Create map and diagrams


3. Pre-Submission  


•   6 week public consultation by Bearley Parish Council

•   Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening by SDC

•   Modifications and amendments


4. Submission  

•   Legal checks by Stratford-on-Avon District Council

•   Start of 6 week public consultation by Stratford-on-Avon District Council

•   Appointment of Independent Examiner


5. Examination  

•  Examiners report published

•  Post Examination modifications

•  End of 6 week public consultation by Stratford-on-Avon District Council


6. Referendum  

•  Submit referendum version of NDP

•  Publicity for referendum and vote

•  Post referendum adoption


For further information on key stages of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan please click on the following or copy and paste in your browser:–2#key-stages-in-neighbourhood-planning