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Step 6: Consultation and submission

Consulting the public and responding appropriately.

Once your draft Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared a formal round of public consultation is required within your community.  This should last for at least 6 weeks. If you have prepared a Sustainability Appraisal report this will also need to be consulted upon at the same time.

Top tip

Before going out to consultation, you may find it helpful to check with your local planning authority that all the documents and the consultation process are in order.

Some bodies must be consulted on your draft Neighbourhood Plan if it proposes development that could affect their interests. If they were required the consultees may also need to review your Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment. These are known as statutory consultees, and include:

  • the county council (where one exists);
  • the Environment Agency;
  • English Heritage; and
  • Natural England.

Your local planning authority should be able to provide you with a full list of statutory consultees.

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Sheraton's (Wiltshire) Neighbourhood Plan includes affordable homes for the elderly and disabled, a community orchard, high-speed broadband and new schools

It is recommended that the following bodies are also formally consulted, again not just on the draft Neighbourhood Plan but where appropriate also on your Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment where relevant:

  • neighbouring local authorities, parish and town councils; and
  • landowners and community organisations that will be affected by your Neighbourhood Plan.

You will also need to consult the wider public. This could be done through a variety of means, including written consultations, events, meetings and so on. The consultation process will need to be carefully designed with clear questions asked, and with people given easy-to-understand instructions to identify which parts of the draft Neighbourhood Plan or the accompanying documents they are commenting upon. Your local planning authority may be able to advise on how best to go about this.

In submitting your proposed Neighbourhood Plan you will need to include information on how you consulted the wider public, what responses you received and how you took any comments on board in revising the draft. You may, therefore, find it useful to prepare a 'consultation comments schedule' which sets out who the comment is from, what part of the Neighbourhood Plan (or supporting documents) the comment refers to, and your response to the comment made (e.g. changes that will be made to your Neighbourhood Plan).

Submitting your proposed Neighbourhood Plan

Once the consultation comments have been analysed, and appropriate changes made to your draft Neighbourhood Plan (and to the Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment if required) you will be ready to submit your final version of your proposed Neighbourhood Plan to your local planning authority. This will need to be accompanied by:

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Thame's (Oxfordshire) Neighbourhood Plan focuses on affordable housing, transport infrastructure, open spaces and protecting its cultural heritage

  • A map or statement showing the area covered by your Neighbourhood Plan.
  • A written statement explaining how your Neighbourhood Plan meets relevant legal requirements (ask your local planning authority for advice on what these are).
  • A 'consultation statement' that contains details of who was consulted on the draft Neighbourhood Plan, how they were consulted, the main issues and concerns raised, and how these have been addressed in your Neighbourhood Plan.

Your local planning authority will carry out a final check to ensure that your Neighbourhood Plan and all accompanying documents comply with legal requirements. Once your local planning authority is satisfied that everything is in order, they will formally publicise, for a minimum of 6 weeks, that you have submitted a proposed Neighbourhood Plan. At this point those who live, work or carry on business in the area covered by your Neighbourhood Plan can submit further comments to the local planning authority who will pass them on to the person undertaking the independent examination.

NextStep 7: Independent examination