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What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

The Localism Act has introduced a new type of Community Led Plan.

Communities now have the right to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, setting out policies on the development and use of land in a parish or neighbourhood area.  The Neighbourhood Plan will show how the level of growth identified in the Core Strategy / Local Plan is to be met or exceeded.

Once the plan is made, it will become part of the local authority development plan, a statutory plan against which planning applications will be judged.  A Neighbourhood Plan might also result in a Neighbourhood Development Order which will grant planning permission for specific development proposals.

For Neighbourhood Plans or Orders to be adopted, they will need to conform to planning policies and guidance at the local, national and European level.  They will also need to demonstrate support from the local community through a referendum. 

Why produce a Neighbourhood Plan?

 Developing a Neighbourhood Plan can help communities to play a greater role in determining the future of their area.  It is not a tool to stop development where it is already included in the Core Strategy / Local Plan; it gives communities the opportunity to shape what that planned growth will look like and where additional growth might go.

It will bring the community together to share ideas and build consensus about needs and priorities for the area.

It can also help to create lasting partnerships to take forward actions that may arise from the process.

If the issues in your neighbourhood do not relate to land use and development, or if they relate solely to the provision of affordable housing, there may the other community led solutions that are more appropriate than Neighbourhood Planning.

NOTE: In a business area, a Neighbourhood Plan can be ‘business-led’ – this guide focuses on neighbourhoods where the process is led by local residents. 

Who needs to be involved?

 The parish council or neighbourhood forum must initiate and lead the process.  They will need to involve the wider community in the development of the plan: residents, businesses, local groups, landowners and developers. 

It is essential that the local planning authority is involved throughout the process; they have direct responsibility for some of the steps and have a wealth of information that will be useful in producing the Neighbourhood Plan.  It may also be necessary to engage other organisations or commercial consultants to assist with the process.

This guidance clearly shows what the parish council or neighbourhood forum needs to do at each step in the process, and the type of support it may need from other organisations.  The combination and method of support at each step will differ in each local authority area.

How do you produce a Neighbourhood Plan?