Frequently Asked Questions

 What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan is a planning policy document created by and for local communities to help shape how their neighbourhood develops. It provides general planning policies for the development and use of land within a defined neighbourhood area, known as ‘the Neighbourhood Plan Area’.

This document, only when approved at Referendum, will become a formal planning policy documents used by the Council when they consider planning applications that area.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan referendum?

It is basically a ‘vote’ yes or no whether you wish the Neighbourhood Plan to become a planning policy document.

A Neighbourhood Plan Referendum, referendum, asks a specific question about the Neighbourhood Plan in the area.

To become a planning policy for the Council, a Neighbourhood Plan must receive a majority ‘YES’ vote in a local referendum (50% of the turnout must vote YES).

What is the question to be voted on?

‘Do you want Dacorum Borough Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Grovehill Future to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’

Who can vote?

A person is entitled to vote if, at the time of the referendum, they are on the electoral role and eligible to vote in a local election for the area.

How do check if I can vote?

You can contact the Electoral Services team (DBC) on 01442 228230 or email them on

How to register to vote?

You can register to vote on or contact the Electoral Services team (DBC) on 01442 228230, email them on

Can I have a postal vote?

Yes, an invitation to have a postal vote will be issued to each person on the electoral role within the ‘Neighbourhood Plan Area’ early January 2018

Where do I go to vote?

Voting will take place in your usual polling station at the Henry Wells Square Community centre and St Thomas Indian Orthodox Chuch, St Agnells Lane.

What does it mean for Grovehill?

It means that any new planning applications will have to comply with the planning policies that are included in the Grovehill Neighbourhood Plan.

What if there isn’t a Neighbourhood Plan?

Planning applications would continue to be processed as they are now, i.e. the local authority would consider them in line with normal planning guidelines. They would not have the benefit of considering the issues identified in the Neighbourhood Plan i.e.

  1. maintain green spaces and provide enhanced soft and hard landscaping
  2. provide a range of different house sizes as part of new developments housing application
  3. have special consideration for youth facilities
  4. ensure inclusion of a community centre as part of a redeveloped Henry Wells Square
  5. incorporate all health facilities in one building as part of a redeveloped Henry Wells Square.

Why should I vote yes for this Neighbourhood Plan

  1. The Neighbourhood Plan will become planning policy for DBC until 2031
  2. The Neighbourhood Forum is now a statutory consultee for consultation that affect Grovehill i.e. planning applications, DBC and HCC consultations
  3. The Neighbourhood Forum has access to 15% of any CIL monies received from development in the area, this increases to 25% once the Neighbourhood Plan receives a Yes vote at Referendum and is ‘made’ although these monies are allocated to the local Councillors to spend, the areas for improvement within a Neighbourhood Plan should take priority. See Community projects in the Neighbourhood Plan

Where can I see the Neighbourhood plan and talk to someone about it

There are a number of ways you can find out more or join our Forum to help deliver the actions from the Neighbourhood Plan

  1. view on-line at
  2. email us
  3. come along to our drop-in events at the Church meeting room (adjacent to the community centre) 7.30-9.00pm
  4. Monday 4th December 17
  5. Monday 8th January 18
  6. Monday 5th February 18
  7. For more information on neighbourhood planning visit

Policy 1: Henry Wells Square

  • Will it be completely knocked down and rebuilt?

The neighbourhood plan provide developers of a clear understanding of the type and level of development that would be acceptable should they wish to either redevelop or refurbish the existing neighbourhood centre

  • Will there be any houses built on the square?

As part of the work carried out to create the neighbourhood plan we have noted that housing would be acceptable in the redevelopment of the square

  • What will happen to the doctors’ surgery, the dentist, chemist, clinic?

If the centre is to be completely rebuilt, we recommend considering putting all health services in one building.

  • Will there be enough car parking?

We have identified the need for sufficient car parking for all customers and residents.

Policy 2: Garages

  • Will I lose my garage?

Should the Council consider your garage as a site for redevelopment they would contact you to discuss options

  •  What about all of those empty or vandalised garages?

Our policy refers to unused and vandalised garages being redeveloped for better use

Policy 3: Housing

  • Why do they have to build on green-belt land?

The government requires local authorities to provide land for new build housing and the Marchmont Farm (LA1) site has already agreed by DBC for development. However, our Neighbourhood Plan looks at how best to integrate new housing into our existing community.

  • When is building likely to start?

That would be the result of the developer’s application for planning and could happen at any time over the next couple of years. In order to ensure we can influence decisions for the layout/design etc, of this site, it is vital our Neighbourhood Plan is given the Yes vote at referendum.

  • How many houses will there be?

The DBC site allocation document currently identifies 350+ new houses. However changes to government guidelines could affect these numbers. In order to influence development on this site our Neighbourhood Plan must be approved as a planning policy document that the council must consider.

  • Will there be new roads to get in and out? and what about the extra traffic on the Link Road at rush hour?

Current studies by HCC indicate access via the Link Road. We will have an opportunity to comment on the planning application, as statutory consultees, and have a better influence once the Neighbourhood Plan is approved at referendum.

  • Will there be a bus service?

There is currently a bus service to and from Grovehill. Additional services sit with the County Council and would depends on the size of development.  However we can request that they ask bus companies whether they would consider an additional route.

  • Will there be access from Grovehill West, Marlborough Rise, Hunting Gate?

It is unlikely that there would be vehicular access, but the Neighbourhood Plan expects pedestrian and cycle paths to be provided.

  • Why does there have to be travellers’ pitches?

Government policy obliges local authorities to promote more traveller site provision. Including a small number of pitches in new developments is a way of complying with that policy.

  • How will the schools cope?

Herts CC plans for provision of school places taking into account the school-age population of the catchment areas and will ensure, through developer contribution such as CIL or S106 monies that sufficient places are available.

  • How will the doctors’ surgery cope?

There are doctors’ surgeries in the town centre and Highfield as well as in Grovehill. The likely increase in population from Marchmont Farm is relatively small in comparison to the total population of the closely surrounding area.

Policy 4: Improving Access and Connectivity

  • Why get rid of underpasses when they provide a safe option when crossing a busy road?

The proposal relates only to underused underpasses which are unpopular perhaps because people feel unsafe when using them or when the underpass route takes much longer than crossing the road. Safe, street-level crossing points can be more practical and popular than some underpasses.

Who can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan?

Unlike Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans are not prepared by the local planning authority. There are two types of body that can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan:

Parish and town councils

in areas where a parish or town
council exists, these are the only bodies who can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan and

Neighbourhood Forums

where a parish or town council does not exist, only bodies that have made an application to the local planning authority can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. Such a body is known as a Neighbourhood Forum.

In Grovehill, Grovehill Future Forum, with assistance from Dacorum Borugh Council, will prepare a neighbourhood plan in consultation with the whole community.

What is the role of the local planning authority?

The local planning authority, in our case Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) is expected to give assistance and advice on how to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. But DBC cannot control the Neighbourhood Plan preparation process, nor can it produce a Neighbourhood Plan on behalf of a local community.

DBC has to agree and formally designate a ‘Neighbourhood Area’ and ‘Neighbourhood Forum’ if applicable that is to be covered by the Neighbourhood Plan. DBC can provide information and help to gather evidence to inform the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan.  It can also help with the consultation process.

DBC will also be required to check the proposed formally submitted ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ to ensure that it meets all the relevant legislation and regulations. Once satisfied they will have to arrange for an independent examination of the Neighbourhood Plan to take place. If the Neighbourhood Plan passes the examination, DBC will be responsible for arranging a local referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan.

What is the relationship between a Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan?

Together, the DBC Core Strategy and the Neighbourhood Plan comprise the development plan for the area covered by the Neighbourhood Plan. A Neighbourhood Plan must conform generally with the policies and proposals of the Core Strategy prepared by DBC.

What can a Neighbourhood Plan contain?

A Neighbourhood Plan must be about the use and development of land and buildings. It can set out how much, what type and where development should take place. It can also have a say in how buildings should look (their ‘design’). It cannot be used to prevent development that DBC has identified as being needed within their Core Strategy.
Typical things that a Neighbourhood Plan might include:

  • The development of housing, including affordable housing
  • Providing for businesses to set up or expand their premises.
  • Transport and access issues (roads, cycling, walking, disabled).
  • The development of schools, places of worship, health facilities,
  • leisure and entertainment facilities, community and youth
  • centres and village halls.
  • The restriction of certain types of development and change of use, for example to avoid too much of one type of use.
  • The design of buildings.
  • Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and the planting of trees.
  • Protection of important buildings and historic assets such as archaeological remains.
  • Promotion of renewable energy projects, such as solar energy and wind turbines.

What is the ‘Community Right to Build’?

Community Right to Build is a specific type of Neighbourhood Development Order. It allows a local community group to bring forward a small development for one or more purposes, such as new homes, businesses and community facilities, but it must be small scale in comparison to the size of settlement.




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