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Neighbourhood planning

People have strong opinions about change in their area. The government has introduced neighbourhood planning under the Localism Act 2011 to give communities more say in shaping the future of their area.

Neighbourhood development plans

Community groups can now draw up planning policies for the use and development of land under a neighbourhood development plan, including:

  • where new homes, shops and offices should go
  • which green spaces should be protected
  • what new development should look like

Neighbourhood development plans give you the chance to be positive about the changes you would like to see happen in your area.

They are not about saying no to new development.

Local planning authorities will continue to produce local plans that set the strategic context within which neighbourhood development plans will sit.

Writing a neighbourhood development plan

Neighbourhood development plans are optional and communities can choose whether to have one.

Neighbourhood planning can be taken forward by town and parish councils or, in areas that are without a town or parish council, by neighbourhood forums.

Existing residents' organisations, voluntary and community groups can put themselves forward as a neighbourhood forum. It's the role of the local planning authority to agree who should be the neighbourhood forum for the area.

Preparing a neighbourhood development plan

Neighbourhood development plans are drawn up by the town or parish council or neighbourhood forum.

Neighbourhood development plans must:

  1. Have regard to national planning policy.
  2. Be in general conformity with strategic policies in the Local Plan for the area.
  3. Be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements.

Neighbourhood development plans do not take effect unless there is a majority of support given in a referendum of the neighbourhood.

If the neighbourhood development plan proposals pass the referendum, the local planning authority is then under a legal duty to bring them into force.

Our role

If you're interested in preparing a neighbourhood development plan, contact your local planning authority. Depending on where you live, this will be your local district or borough council or Peak District National Park planning.

If you're already involved in preparing a neighbourhood development plan, we can provide an overview on major infrastructure such as roads, schools, waste management and public rights of way.

Any requests for information or consultations on draft neighbourhood development plans should be sent by email:

Neighbourhood development orders

A neighbourhood development order allows the community to grant planning permission for development that complies with the order. This removes the need for a planning application to be submitted to the local planning authority.

Community right to build orders

A community right to build order allows community groups to bring forward smaller-scale development on a specific site, without the need for planning permission.

Any benefit from this development is to be used in the community, for example, to maintain affordable housing stock or to provide local facilities such as playgrounds and village halls.

Community right to build orders are subject to a limited number of exclusions, such as proposals needing to fall below certain thresholds so that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required. Proposals are subject to testing by an independent person and a community referendum.

Front runner projects

The government is running a 'front runner' project and some communities have started work on neighbourhood planning. They cover a big range of planning issues.

Affordable housing is critical for the community in Lynton and Lynmouth, Devon. The town council is working with Exmoor National Park Authority to choose sites and policies for affordable housing.

In Gedling, Leicestershire, the Neighbourhood Development Plan will focus on balancing the area's housing offer, tackling anti-social behaviour, protecting community facilities and improving the village centre.

In Much Wenlock, Shropshire, the Neighbourhood Development Plan is covering traffic management for the town, affordable housing, protecting high street shops, and improving local leisure facilities.

Department for Communities and Local Government has more information about the front runners.