Terms of Reference


The Lewknor Parish (comprising the three villages of Lewknor, Postcombe and South Weston) Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group brings together representatives of the Lewknor Parish and stakeholders and members of the local community. Officers from South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) will be able to assist the group but will not be full members. The main role of the Steering Group is to manage the production of a neighbourhood plan for Lewknor Parish.


The role of the group is to:
Define the neighbourhood area
Agree a budget, how this will be funded and managed including appointment of specialist consultants or advisers
Agree the governance structure for the project e.g. any working groups and what their specific responsibilities will be
Prepare and agree a project plan which complies with the legislative requirements for producing a neighbourhood plan
Manage working groups
Ensure working groups have clear terms of reference related to their responsibilities and the project plan


  • The Steering Group will appoint/elect a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Treasurer from the Group members.
  • The Chairman and Deputy shall intend to remain in that position following their election until completion of the project.
  • The Chairman or in his absence the Deputy will be responsible for dealing with any media enquiries and for keeping the parish council up to date with progress of the groups work
  • The Steering Group will appoint a Treasurer.
  • The Steering Group, can remove/appoint (by a majority vote of the whole Steering Group) the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Treasurer.
  • Voluntary withdrawal of any of these Offices will force a review of the NP Steering Group by the Parish Council. A further appointment/election of the Office will be drawn from existing or new members of the Steering Group.
  • The Steering Group will include a Lewknor Parish Councillor, who will act as a bridge between the NP and the Parish council.


The decisions made by the group will undoubtedly require compromise and consensus building; consequently, members should ensure they are:

Able and willing to make decisions and recommendations on behalf of their body/organisation committed to helping to guide the preparation of the neighbourhood plan
Supportive and committed to the process and its implementation
Willing to work with the group, accommodating views that are different from their own, seeking consensus and accepting compromise to reach agreement on the issues before the group
Open minded and able to consider the whole picture, not seeking simply to promote sectional interests
Able to represent the group and its work in a positive light to the wider community
Prepared to work with other groups/agencies in a constructive way to achieve the best outcomes for the area
Assess existing evidence about the needs and aspirations of the Parish, commission any technical evidence, e.g. housing and infrastructure needs to support the development of a neighbourhood plan, and identify gaps
Consider progress reports and work undertaken and agree appropriate course of action.
Agree a programme of community engagement and public consultation at appropriate stages to ensure that the information gathered is representative of those living within Lewknor Parish.
Undertake analysis, interpretation and reporting of the results from community engagement and public consultation activities and ensuring that they inform decision-making (either directly, or within the aid of consultants).
Ensure that any planning related documentation complies with the district councils Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and is appropriate for adoption.
Ensure consultation with and co-operation from key stakeholders to ensure the deliverability of the project and of proposals included in the final plan
Promote the appropriate development of Lewknor Parish in accordance with the Neighbourhood Plan.
Work positively with the district council to ensure the plan is in conformity with the adopted development plan.
Work positively with the district council in auditing the project plan or the use of any grant funding from the district council.


Substitute cannot represent the views of Members. However, comments and contributions from Members will be considered via email. This should be submitted to the group no less than 3 days prior to the date of a meeting.


District Council Officers will be performing an advisory role and should seek to ensure that all recommendations or outcomes of this process are in compliance with current policies and/or strategies, and are used to inform the future development of policies, strategies or direct implementation of work. Other responsibilities include:

Initial advice and an introductory meeting to explain the process
Advice on an appropriate consultation strategy and how consultation should be recorded
Advice on the evidence needed to prepare the plan and details of statutory consultees
A ‘critical friend’ role throughout the drafting of the plan, attending steering group meetings where necessary to provide advice and support
Reviewing draft documents to ensure they meet the basic conditions
Support for publicity that you may wish to carry-out
Funding for towns, larger villages and smaller villages
Advice and support dealing with the media and publicising your work.
Bring in resources as required from other teams across the District Council to provide additional specialist advice.
Facilitate talks where the Steering Group has conflicting views
Identify best practice from elsewhere


The group will meet at key stages in the development of the Neighbourhood Plan. The dates and regularity of meetings will be set by the group depending on the stage of the process and workload.
The Steering Group members will receive an agenda for meetings at least 2 days prior to the meeting. Any documents which are to be considered prior to a meeting should be circulated at least 2 working days prior to a meeting
Minutes of all meetings will be recorded and kept on file for reference, draft minutes of meetings will be circulated following each meeting after clearance by the Chair.


All members of the Steering Group, with the exception of co-opted members e.g. district council employees, will have an equal vote in decision making. However, it is likely that some decisions will be in the form of a recommendation to the town/ parish council or the district council, for their consideration.
Decisions made by the Group should normally be by consensus at group meetings. If this is not possible then decisions will be taken by vote, with each member present having one vote, and a simple majority will be required to support a decision. A minimum of four members must be present to enable decisions to be taken. The Chair, or in their absence the Deputy Chair shall have the casting vote.


Steering Group members should declare an interest where there is a potential financial or pecuniary benefit to themselves, or their company / organisation arising from the decisions or recommendations of the group.


The Steering group will be disbanded upon completion of the project at a time to be agreed by the group or the Lewknor Parish Council