Terms of Reference

Background

The Charmouth Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group (“the Group”) has been formed by Charmouth Parish Council (“the Parish Council”) to manage the process for and prepare a draft Neighbourhood Plan for the civil parish of Charmouth. The Parish Council has created the Group as a sub-committee of the Planning Committee.  While the Parish Council is the ‘responsible (qualifying) body’ for the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan (“the Plan”), the Plan is a document produced and owned by the community as a whole.

Responsibilities

The Steering Group is an advisory body and as such will make recommendations to the Parish Council. The group will undertake the following:

Prepare and implement a programme for producing a draft Neighbourhood Plan;

Work with officers from West Dorset District Council (“WDDC”) to ensure that the Plan conforms to national and local policies;

Ensure that all members of the community and other relevant bodies are fully involved in the process through community consultation as far as practically possible and that all relevant information is published within the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group page of the Charmouth Parish Council website;

Obtain evidence from which policies can be formulated for inclusion in the Neighbourhood Plan;

Prepare a Sustainability Appraisal and/or Strategic Environmental Assessment and/or Habitats Regulation Assessment if appropriate; 

Prepare a draft Neighbourhood Plan which is shaped and informed by the views of the local community and is revised as necessary following public consultation

The Parish Council has approved the creation of the Steering Group as a sub-committee of the Parish Council’s Planning Committee.  All income to the Group, whether it is from the Parish Council’s precept, Grant-in-aid from HMG or other sources of funding, and the Group’s expenditure shall be through the Parish Council’s accounts.  The management of such funds and any expenditure will be subject to the internal control systems as laid out in the Parish Council’s Financial Regulations.

Membership 

The Steering Group will consist of members of the Parish, together with a number of volunteer and co-opted members from the community and support from the Parish Council. 

The Chair will be appointed from the Group, and co-ordinate with the Parish Council through the Planning Committee.  

Parish Councillors shall observe the Code of Conduct adopted by the Parish Council when they are attending the Steering Group. 

Members of the Steering Group must be willing to work together for the benefit of their Community.  They must treat other members with respect and dignity and be prepared to consider views that are different from their own.

The Steering Group intends to encourage involvement by members of the community and so membership will be flexible, allowing additional members to be involved as numbers and practical management of the meetings permit.  

The Steering Group may invite other individuals to join working groups or teams to undertake various tasks or projects forming part of the Neighbourhood Plan process.  The working groups or teams will report to the Steering Group.

Meetings

The Steering Group will arrange its own meeting schedule.

Full Steering Group meetings will be informal in nature and will be open to members of the public if they wish to attend.

The Steering Group may invite individuals or organizations to attend meetings to give advice on any relevant topic.

Minutes of Group meetings will be recorded and published on the Parish website.

Working groups will arrange their own meeting schedules, will keep notes of meetings and report back to the Group.

Declarations of Interest

Steering Group members must at the start of each Group meeting declare any interest, whether pecuniary or otherwise, in any items on the agenda, and are under a continuing obligation to make a later declaration should they realise that they do have an interest in the topic under discussion.  Any such declarations will be recorded in the minutes.

Reviewing the Terms of Reference

The Parish Council will be responsible for agreeing the Terms of Reference and any relevant amendments to them. The Terms of Reference will be reviewed periodically to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.    

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