Please find below a list of frequently asked questions regarding the Neighbourhood Plan:
What is a Neighbourhood Development Plan?
A neighbourhood plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development and growth of an area. Communities are able to shape development in their areas through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans, Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.
A neighbourhood development plan establishes general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood, such as;
where new homes and offices should be built
what they should look like
The plan can be as detailed or general, depending what local people want.
The Neighbourhood plans allow local people to get the right type of development for their community, but the plans must still meet the needs of the wider area. In most cases this will mean that neighbourhood plans will have to take into account the local council’s assessment of housing and other development needs in the area.
The Local Planning Authority is involved and will make decisions at key stages of the process, such as approving the neighbourhood area within which the Neighbourhood Development Plan will have effect. It will also organise the independent examination of the plan and the community referendum that is held at the end of the process.
The referendum is an important part of the process allowing those that live in the neighbourhood area to decide whether or not the Neighbourhood Development Plan, Neighbourhood Development Order or Community Right to Build Order comes into effect or not. This is direct democracy and outlines the importance of working with the wider community and securing their support at an early stage in the process.
What are 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 authority.
What are Community Right to build orders?
A Community Right to build order gives permission for small-scale, site-specific developments by a community group.
What is a Neighbourhood Plan not?
A Neighbourhood Plan cannot:
Conflict with the strategic policies in the Local Plan prepared by the local planning authority
Be used to prevent development that is included in the Local Plan
Be prepared by a body other than a parish or town council or a Neighbourhood forum
Who is responsible for producing a Neighbourhood Plan?
Where a town or parish council exists, it is automatically the ‘qualifying body’ responsible for preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan, Neighbourhood Development Order or Community Right to Build Order.
The local council still needs to apply for designation of a specific neighbourhood area as the first formal step in the neighbourhood planning process.
It is important to engage the wider community early on to make sure the Plan or Order represents the views of the local community as this will be tested by referendum.
What are the benefits of producing a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood planning enables communities to play a much stronger role in shaping the areas in which they live and work and in supporting new development proposals. This is because unlike the parish, village or town plans that communities may have prepared, a neighbourhood plan forms part of the development plan and sits alongside the Local Plan prepared by the local planning authority. Decisions on planning applications will be made using both the Local Plan and the neighbourhood plan, and any other material considerations.
Neighbourhood planning provides the opportunity for communities to set out a positive vision for how they want their community to develop over the next ten, fifteen, twenty years in ways that meet identified local need and make sense for local people. They can put in place planning policies that will help deliver that vision or grant planning permission for the development they want to see.
How is a Neighbourhood Plan produced?
Neighbourhood Development Plans and Orders are prepared through a formal process including a public consultation and an assessment by an independent examiner. They must also be agreed at a local referendum before they can be adopted.
What will a Neighbourhood Plan cover?
The Neighbourhood Plan will cover decisions on where and what type of development should happen in the neighbourhood. It will also promote more development than is set out in the Local Plan, and include policies, for example regarding design standards, that take precedence over existing policies in the Local Plan for the neighbourhood – provided the Neighbourhood Plan policies do not conflict with the strategic policies in the Local Plan.
So long as your Neighbourhood Plan complies with the above principles, it can be as narrow or as broad as you wish. But it must be primarily about the use and development of land and buildings. It can also have a say in how buildings should look (their ‘design’), or the materials they are constructed from.
Typical things that a Neighbourhood Plan might include:
The development of housing, including affordable housing (affordable housing is housing that is not normally for sale on the open market), and bringing vacant or derelict housing back into use.
Provision for businesses to set up or expand their premises.
Transport and access (including issues around roads, cycling, walking and access for disabled people).
The development of schools, places of worship, health facilities, leisure and entertainment facilities, community and youth centres and village halls.
The restriction of certain types of development and change of use, for example to avoid too much of one type of use.
The design of buildings.
Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and the planting of trees.
Protection of important buildings and historic assets such as archaeological remains.
Promotion of renewable energy projects, such as solar energy and wind turbines.
How long will it take to produce a Neighbourhood Plan?
It will be up to individual areas to decide on the pace at which they wish to progress their plans. However, it is anticipated that on average the process is likely to take around two years.
How can I get involved?
The core values behind the creation of a local neighbourhood plan are the involvement of the local community as development decisions affect us all. It is your community, your future and your plan so we want everyone to have the opportunity to have their say, have it your way. There are a number of ways for you, your family and friends to get involved in this new planning process.
Attend the public information events, all residents are welcome to attend, this is an opportunity to see how the progress of the plan is developing and also to engage with the process.
What will happen once a Neighbourhood Plan is adopted?
Once the Neighbourhood Plan has been adopted, planning applications will still be determined by the local planning authority in the normal way, but taking into account policies in your Neighbourhood Plan as well as the Local Plan.
Development granted permission by an adopted Neighbourhood Development Order or a Community Right to Build Order may be implemented. The developer will have to submit their proposals to the appropriate local authority or parish council, however, who will make sure that they are in line with the permission granted by the Neighbourhood Development Order.