Who is responsible for neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood Development Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders

If an area has a parish or town council, then this is the only organisation that will be able to lead the preparation of a Neighbourhood Development Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order.

In areas that aren't parished, community organisations will need to apply to the relevant district or unitary council to establish:

  1. the Neighbourhood Area, which is the area that the community wants to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order
  2. a Neighbourhood Forum, which will prepare the Plan or Order.

To apply to establish a Neighbourhood Area, an organisation that meets the criteria to become the Neighbourhood Forum representing that area must submit an application to the relevant district or unitary council. The council will then decide whether that Neighbourhood Area is appropriate, and will designate it if it is.

Once the Neighbourhood Area has been established, community groups can then apply to be designated the Neighbourhood Forum for that area. Again any eligible groups should submit an application to the local council, and if there is more than one eligible group, the council will have to decide which is best to represent the area: Neighbourhood Areas, and Neighbourhood Forums, cannot overlap. To be eligible to be designated a Neighbourhood Forum, a community organisation must:

  • have at least 21 members who either live, work or are a councillor in the area
  • have membership open to all who live, work or are a councillor in the area
  • have a written constitution
  • act to further the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of an area.

Community Right to Build Orders

In parished and non-parished areas any community organisation, as long as it meets a number of criteria, can prepare a Community Right to Build Order. To be eligible, community organisations must:

  • have the majority of voting rights held by people who live in the area to be affected by the Order
  • have the majority on the board of directors or governing body
  • prepare a statement showing how they exist for the benefit of the area concerned
  • not dispose of assets except in a way that benefits the community
  • use any profits it makes from development to benefit the community
  • have at least 10 members living in different dwellings to each other.