Neighbourhood Plan
Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 14
Adoption of the Bentley Neighbourhood Plan 2018-2037

Following a 90% 'YES' vote for the Neighbourhood Plan, Babergh District Council have 'adopted' Bentley Neighbourhood Plan on 12 December 2022, as part of its statutory development plan. This means that our Neighbourhood Plan will be used to help determine planning applications in the parish unless material considerations indicate otherwise.  See here for decision statement. The adopted version of the Neighbourhood Plan can be viewed here.

Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 13

Local Referendum (8 December 2022) - majority 'yes' vote

A local referendum was held on 8 December 2022 to decide if the Bentley Neighbourhood Development Plan should become part of Babergh Council's development plan. The count took place the following day. The results are shown here.


Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 12

The required modifications have been made the Bentley's Neighbourhood Plan and the Plan is ready to go to Referendum.

The referendum on the Bentley Neighbourhood Plan will be held on Thursday 8 December 2022 in the Village Hall where registered electors of Bentley can vote.

People in the Parish who are entitled to vote, will soon receive, or have already received, a polling card from Babergh District Council. Why is this and what are you voting for?

In 2018 the Bentley Neighbourhood Plan process was begun by the Parish Council, with the help of a committee made up of local residents. The Neighbourhood Plan gives you, the local community, the power to set out a vision for the Parish area and to include planning policies that can shape growth and influence the type of development where you live and work.

Following extensive consultation, the Neighbourhood Plan has now successfully passed an Independent Examination and has been approved to go forward to a referendum on Thursday 8 December 2022.

The referendum process will operate in the same way as an election. If you're on the electoral register you can either cast your vote at the Polling Station, located at the Village Hall, or if you have a Postal Vote, return it as instructed.

Those entitled to vote will be asked to answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the following question:

‘Do you want Babergh District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Bentley to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’

If more than 50% vote ‘Yes”, Babergh District Council will be legally required to ‘make’ (adopt) the Neighbourhood Plan as part of its planning framework. This means the planning policies of the Plan will have to be taken into account as part of future planning applications.

For further information on Babergh's Referendum Statement view here and to view the Neighbourhood Plan on line here. Printed copies are also available for inspection at The Case is Altered and the Community Shop.

Thank you.

Bentley Parish Council, 31 October 2022.


Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 11
Reg 18 Decision Statement

Babergh District Council has now published its Reg 18 Decision Statement on the Bentley NP. This confirms their acceptance of, and instructs the parish council to make all the modifications set out in the Examiners Report. The Statement also confirms that once these have been made, they will take the Bentley NP to a local referendum on a ‘to be determined’ date.

Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 10

Reg 17 Independent Examination 

On 12 August 2022, the Independent Examiner issued her final report. It recommends that, subject to modification, the NDP meets the basic conditions and should proceed to a local referendum. Planning Practice Guidance also provides advice on the weight to be attached to this post-examination Plan. 

Read the Independent Examiner's report here.

The NDP Regulations (Regulation 18) now require the district council to decide what action to take, in response to each of the recommendations made. They will publish their decision on this webpage as soon as possible.

Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 9

Reg 17 Independent Examination - Significant modifications consultation (ended 27 July 2022).  See here for written responses.

Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 8

Reg 17 Independent Examination - notice of focused consultation ending on Wednesday 27 July 2022 - see examination modifications consultation letter

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Reg 17 Independent Examination (updated January 2022)

Babergh District Council have appointed Ann Skippers BSc (Hons) MRTPI FHEA FRSA AoU to carry out an independent examination of this NDP. The examination is underway and further updates will be published on the Babergh District Council website  as and when appropriate.

The Examination Correspondence document can be read here.

Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 6
Reg 16 Submission Consultation (24 June - 27 Aug 2021)

The District Council is now carrying out a formal consultation on the content of the submitted Bentley Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). This is in accordance with Regulation 16 of The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations, 2012 (as amended).

The NDP will need to fulfil the Basic Conditions, as required by Paragraph 8(1)(a)(2) of Schedule 4B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (inserted by the Localism Act 2011).

The consultation period runs from Thursday 24 June 2021 until 4:00pm on Fiday 27 August 2021. Read the Public Notice

The parish council (as the qualifying body) have formally submitted the following documents to the district council:

A full assessment as to whether this NDP fulfils the basic conditions will be undertaken by an independent examiner.

An initial check has been carried out to confirm that the relevant requirements have been met at this stage. View the Regulation 15 Checklist.

Written comments only (preferably via the Consultation Response Form) should be sent by post or email using the contact details provided. Your representation may also include a request to be notified of the district council’s decision whether or not to make the Plan.

All representations received will be forwarded to the examiner. Your comments cannot be treated as confidential and, with the exception of personal details, will be published on this website at the end of the consultation period.

What can I comment on at this stage?

At this stage you can comment on the submitted plan and its policies. It is important to remember that the examiner will only be able to recommend changes to the plan necessary to ensure that it meets the basic conditions. You should consider in particular whether the Plan meets these. The submitted Basic Conditions Statement sets out how the parish council considers they have met the tests.

I commented on the draft plan during an earlier consultation. Do I need to repeat those comments?

All of the issues raised at the pre-submission stage should be referred to in the consultation statement. As a result, the examiner will be aware of those comments, so you do not need to repeat them.

However, if any changes have been made to the Plan since the last consultation - and these raise new issues or affect the points you made last time - you might want to send in further comments. All comments made at this stage will be sent on to the examiner.

What happens next?

At the end of the consultation, the parish council will be given an opportunity to respond to any representations made before the Plan is submitted for examination. It will be down to the examiner to decide how they wish to carry out this process. The examiner may choose to rely upon the written representations but could call a public hearing if it is beneficial to do so. The examiner will consider whether the Plan meets the basic conditions, or whether further modifications need to be made for it to do so.

The examiner will also decide if the Plan can proceed to the referendum stage.


Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 5
Pre-Submission Consultation Invitation

The Bentley Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared by a steering group made up of residents and members of Bentley Parish Council and will run from 2018 – 2036. The steering group have listened and consulted on a wide range of issues to draft a plan which details how we see our parish developing. Every effort has been made to ensure that the vision, objectives and policies in our neighbourhood plan accurately reflect what Bentley people have told us is important.

The plan is ready for the Regulation 14 Pre-submission Consultation. This is a formal and important stage within the neighbourhood planning regulations. All residents and businesses in the Parish will have the opportunity to comment on the full draft plan; various statutory bodies will also be consulted.

The consultation will begin on 1st October 2020 and run for six weeks. All comments received will be reviewed, considered, and the plan amended accordingly before it is submitted to Babergh District Council for examination, to ensure it complies with legislation. 

The document set is available to view on the Bentley Neighbourhood Plan documents; please read and comment! We’d much rather you used the online comments form and read the documents on-line, but copies of the plan are available to view at Capel library, we have a small number of loan copies, and see the events below where you can see a copy and talk to someone from the team. We are trying very hard to comply with COVID-19 guidance whilst allowing people without the internet to see the Plan, so paper copies need to be set aside for 72 hours between users, and the outside drop-in events will feature a laminated copy that can be cleaned; please come along and feel safe!

If you are not on the Internet, paper comment forms can be obtained from Nicky Moxey on 01473 313125 / (we’ll deliver) or at the physical drop-in events.  Comment forms must be returned to the shop or to Lanercost, Grove Rd by 16th November, please.

Physical events:

Mon 5th & Mon 12th October – 2-3pm – tent in pub garden; a laminated (and so cleanable) copy of the plan will be available, with at least one steering group member on hand to answer questions.

Virtual events:

Nicky will host Zoom meetings on Thursday 15th Oct, 7-8pm and Friday 23rd Oct, 7-8pm – login info from her contact details above.


Bentley Neighbourhood Plan update 4

The end of the 5th hurdle (out of 8) is in sight. If you have a look at the diagram below, we’re at about stage 5 ½, with the Plan drafted and with our consultants for a final check on Ts crossed and Is dotted.

Stage 6 is where it goes out to formal consultation – to all the statutory bodies such as neighbouring Parish Councils, Highways, Anglia Water, Archaeology, etc, etc – and also to all residents of the parish. The latter is causing me some problems – we had intended to have paper copies available for people to read in the pub, shop, and Village Hall, as well as an online version; but having a hard copy that may have been touched by many people suddenly seems like a really bad idea. We are thinking about laminating a couple of copies, so they can be cleaned between readers, and perhaps having one at the shop and one available to view at the (closed) pub; if you will be unable to see a copy either by this means or electronically, and would like your own paper copy, please let me know via the email below.

The diagram doesn’t give you a clear idea of timescales involved. Getting all the external reports completed, and gathering the evidence base, has been by far the longest part of the process, but that’s done now and hopefully the last steps will be quicker!

Stage 6 lasts a minimum of 6 weeks. During that time, and not before, we can also ask for an assessment as to whether or not we need an environmental survey; if we do, then that’ll likely take another 6 months, so let’s hope that we don’t!

Stage 6 ½ is where we make any adjustments to the Plan as a result of the consultation process.

Stage 7 depends on the workload of the judge. They may have other things on their mind…

As may all of us. We have a great community in Bentley. Keeping it safe, whether by taking an interest in the Plan or making sure your neighbours are supported in this difficult time, is essential, in my view. Instead of shaking hands at the moment, I’ve taken to doing the Star Trek Vulcan salute – and so I wish you all, Live Long and Prosper.

Nicky Moxey
Chair, Bentley Community Plan team
01473 313125

Neighbourhood Plan Steps

Bentley Neighbourhood Plan Update 3

Well, there's light at the end of the tunnel at last. Since our last report, we've been very busy working with our various consultants to review and finalise the reports that, alongside the Village Questionnaire responses, form the evidence base that support our Policies.

It's the Policies that make up the legal framework of the Neighbourhood Plan, and it's essential that we get them right. Our policy consultant is happy that we're going along the right lines; we have a short-ish to-do list from him to complete the Neighbourhood Plan, then we'll have a consultation exercise open to everyone in the parish, where we'll invite you to read the draft Plan and comment on it. We'll then produce a final document that will go to Babergh so the district planning team can make sure it's fit for planning purposes; then it goes for a final legal check, has a parish-wide Yes/No referendum, and only then becomes law. Phew!!

 It's still difficult to gauge when we'll finally get all the steps finished, as each of them may hit unexpected hitches; but touch wood, early next year looks good!

 Incidentally, we have raised a number of issues against the draft Joint Local Plan, querying amongst other things the housing allocation against Bentley (which we think is unfair), and the new area enclosed by the Built Up Area boundary (which has got a bump or two we don't think should be there). We'll pass on news of what's happening here as we find out ourselves.

 We haven't decided how to run the consultation exercise yet - so please keep an eye out for the invitation; we really need your input here!

 Bentley Neighbourhood Plan team. December 2019

Bentley Neighbourhood Plan Update 2

Posters from the village meeting in April 2019 showing results of the Neighbourhood Plan Village Questionnaire

Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire Summary






Bentley School PosterVision Statement drawn from the questionnaire results

Neighbourhood Plan Vision

Policy Map

Policy Map


Bentley Neighbourhood Plan Update 1

NOW IS YOUR CHANCE to say how Bentley will be developed over the next 20 years. There is a legal document called a Neighbourhood Development Plan that will take your views into account; it becomes law for planning decisions. A village meeting on 12th June voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with one. Now we need your input!

What does it involve?

A Neighbourhood Plan is a big undertaking. It’ll probably take 18 months to 2 years to write. There are 4 main things that need to happen:

Describe Bentley as it is today – how many people live here, what types of houses there are, something about the history of the village, the amenities, etc., etc. That’s a large part of what the team is doing right now.

Consult with all parishioners about what’s important to them about living here – what needs to be preserved, what development is appropriate, where it should take place. See below!

Write the legal document that forms the Neighbourhood Plan – once we have got all the data in and are certain we understand what the village wants.

Turn the document into law. You will have a chance to approve the plan in a referendum. If a majority approve the plan, it will go forward for inspection.

What happens next?

The team is preparing a survey to gather the data we need. It’ll be ready soon after the schools go back in September, and we’ll deliver two copies to every house in the parish; we’d like every adult to fill one in. Extra copies will be available at the shop and the pub, or you can contact us via the website and ask for more copies to be dropped off. (We’re also working with the Primary School and East Bergholt High School, so youngsters get a say too. After all, they have to live with our decisions! If you have a youngster who doesn’t school locally but wants to contribute, please let us know.)

Surveys need to be completed and returned by the end of September. The same people who delivered your copies will come and pick them up, or they can be dropped off at the shop or pub. Responses are anonymous, but we would like to collect postcode data to make sure we have a representative sample.

After the survey results are in and the numbers crunched, we’ll share them with the whole village at a consultation event.

Any questions?

There’s more detail on what a Neighbourhood Plan is, and some examples of other villages’ ones, on the website.

We can be contacted via the website, and we’ll have a stand at the Village Fun Day. The Parish Council, pub, and the shop notice boards will also have contact details.



Bentley Parish Now Designated As Neighbourhood Plan Area

Neighbourhood Plan Designation NoticeNeighbourhood Plan Map Area