Neighbourhood planning

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Following the 2010 General Election one of the new Government's main priorities was localism. A key part of this is the aim to return planning powers to local people. To try and achieve this, the Government has created a new neighbourhood planning tier that will be led by the community, rather than the relevant district, county or unitary council.

Neighbourhood planning was formally introduced by the Localism Act 2011, which, along with associated regulations, lays out all the processes for preparing and putting in place neighbourhood planning tools.

These pages include an overview of neighbourhood planning. There are also links to information about existing community planning tools, which could continue to be extremely helpful for local people who want to influence the future of where they live.

For a comprehensive overview of the processes for neighbourhood planning, and how you can get involved, more information is available in the 'Improve where you live' section of Planning Help.

Does my area have to be covered by neighbourhood planning?

No, neighbourhood planning is optional, but it could be a very helpful tool to help you shape the future of the area that you live in. Because neighbourhood planning is optional however, it will still be very important to take part in helping your local authority to write its local plan, and to comment on planning applications that you think could have a positive or negative effect in your area.

Neighbourhood planning cannot plan for less development than is proposed in the local plan, but it can plan for more. A Neighbourhood Development Plan could also provide more detail than the local plan on what kind of development should be encouraged in a particular neighbourhood area.

What can neighbourhood planning do?

Neighbourhood planning includes three separate tools; Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs), Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDOs) and Community Right to Build Orders. Communities can just choose to use one tool, or might decide that, for example, a Neighbourhood Development Plan and Neighbourhood Development Order can be used in complement.

Neighbourhood Development Plans are policy documents (like local plans), which could include policies on where and what kind of development will be allowed in the parish or neighbourhood area. Neighbourhood Development Orders can grant planning permission for a particular type of development, for example housing, on a particular site. Community Right to Build Orders are a special type of Neighbourhood Development Order.

Can my community get involved with neighbourhood planning now?

Yes! All of the laws and regulations needed to make neighbourhood planning a reality are now in place.

Read more

Localism Act 2011

Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012

Neighbourhood Planning Referendums Regulations 2012