NPWP Constitution and Terms of Reference


The initial Neighbourhood Plan Interest Group was asked by the Parish Council (PC) to prepare a draft constitution and terms of reference. These were produced at the Group's initial meeting on January 20th. They were forwarded to the PC for their meeting on February 12th. At that meeting the PC reviewed the documents and had no objection to them but reserved formal approval until their following meeting in March. In the interim the Group is now formerly established by the PC as a Working Party, and will operate to the draft documents below, while reviewing them for any improvements before the March PC meeting.

Draft Constitution

1 The Neighbourhood Plan Working Party (NPWP) is constituted as a Working Group of Houghton Parish Council.

2 The Group will include two Parish Councillors, one who will be a permanent member, and a second who will attend in rotation as required.

3 The Group will comprise no less than 10 and no more than 30 members of the village community. These members will be volunteers. In the event of more than 30 volunteers making themselves known, selection of members will be made by the existing Group, subject to approval by the PC. In the event of the membership decreasing to less than 10, then the Group will be suspended until it can reform and enlarge, or be closed down, by decision of the PC.

4 The PC may consider payment of reasonable expenses to the Group or its members, if claimed in writing with receipts, and subject to the expenses policy currently in force for councillors.

Draft Terms of Reference

  1. The WP will engage in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan for the Houghton district in accordance with the legislation and guidelines of the Localism Act.
  2. Should it decide that this is not achievable; with the agreement of the PC it may alternatively produce a Village Design Statement or updated Parish Plan.
  3. It will seek to liaise with any organisation that might have an interest in the plan, both within the village, but also in neighbouring parishes and with the District and County Authorities.
  4. The WP will meet nominally at monthly intervals, and submit a written report of its progress to the following PC meeting.
  5. The operation of the WP will be widely publicised to the community and encourage community contributions and feedback. To facilitate this it will engage in any combination of the following actions:
      • create a web-page within the Village website and keep this current with information about its meetings and its progress.
      • write articles as appropriate for Houghton News
      • Hold public meetings
      • Distribute leaflets and/or questionnaires to the village community.
  6. The WP will have completed its primary activity by delivering a Neighbourhood Plan document, which has passed the assessment stages required, i.e. by HDC, by an external assessor and by referendum of the village community.
  7. Beyond the production of the NP, there will be a need for regular updating and revision of the plan. The PC may re-constitute the WP as required for these purposes