What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act in November 2011. It is a way for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work. It enables local communities to have more say in where new houses, businesses, shops and community facilities should go in their local area and can allocate sites for development. They may also include more detailed planning policies, for example to define how new development should look.
For information on neighbourhood plans that are currently being consulted on, please visit our current neighbourhood plans consultations webpage.
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What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood planning is optional, not compulsory. There is no requirement for any community, parish or town council to undertake work on neighbourhood planning if they don’t want to. Where they choose to, local people can draw up either a plan, or a development order, or both.
- With a Neighbourhood Plan, communities can establish general planning policies for the development of land in a neighbourhood.
- With a Neighbourhood Development Order communities can grant planning permission for new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood Development Orders will allow new homes and offices to be built without the developers having to apply for separate planning permission. A type of Neighbourhood Development Order is a Community Right to Build Order which allows community organisations to bring forward smaller-scale development on a specific site, without the need for planning permission. Any benefit from development stays within the community to be used for the community's benefit, for example, to maintain affordable housing stock or to provide and maintain local facilities such as playgrounds and village halls. With a Neighbourhood Development Order communities can grant planning permission for new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood Development Orders will allow new homes and offices to be built without the developers having to apply for separate planning permission.
The Planning and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 15 November 2012 discussed Neighbourhood Planning - you can view the agenda, report and minutes.
Producing Neighbourhood Plans
Key aspects of Neighbourhood Planning include:
- Neighbourhood development plans must contain policies which are in line with the council’s borough wide plan and national planning guidance.
- Local communities will not be able to use neighbourhood plans to reduce the amount of development identified for their areas in the borough wide plan but they can propose more.
- Plans will have significant weight in the planning process and determination of planning applications in the area.
- Neighbourhood planning is not compulsory but, if done, must be prepared following a formal process.
In parished areas the Town or Parish Council is the only body that can propose a plan.
- In non-parished areas the borough council will have to consider who would be able to act as the appropriate neighbourhood forum.
- An independent examination on a Neighbourhood Plan will be needed, followed by a referendum, before it can be statutorily adopted. The referendum ensures that the community has the final say on whether a Neighbourhood Plan comes into force.
Locally produced guidance
- A new Neighbourhood Planning Protocol (June 2014) has been developed to provide local communities with more certainty on the level of work that is likely to be involved in producing a neighbourhood plan, provide more detail on the process in terms of the requirements of the regulations and guidance and also includes additional information on the steps that would aid the production of a plan. This is available to view below.
- A new step by step guide is also available, offering a brief explanation of the key steps involved in the neighbourhood planning process and can be downloaded below.
- Engaging the Community in Neighbourhood Planning is a document designed to support neighbourhood planning groups in the consultation process. It also contains an appendix with possible survey questions, which you may want to use when gathering information from the local community. You can view the document below.
- You should also check whether there has been any work on a community plan in your local area, as a useful source of information. Please check the Community Planning pages of the website for further details.
Assistance with Neighbourhood Plans
We can give some support and advice to communities wishing to develop a neighbourhood plan. Free advice and guidance is also available through Locality http://locality.org.uk/.
The Government has also prepared guidance and a set of formal regulations that can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.
Where there is a Parish or Town Council, they are responsible for taking the lead in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. In areas without a Parish or Town Council, a group of at least 21 people must be formed and apply to the Local Planning Authority, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) to be designated as a Neighbourhood Forum.
It is also necessary for all groups (whether led by a Parish/Town Council or Neighbourhood Forum) to apply to the Local Planning Authority (BDBC) to designate a Neighbourhood Area for the purposes of producing a neighbourhood plan, neighbourhood development order or community right to build order.
The government introduced changes to the neighbourhood planning regulations that came into effect on the 9 February 2015 to speed up the determination of neighbourhood area applications. The Borough Council will now have to determine a valid neighbourhood area application that:
- follows a parish boundary within 8 weeks of receiving the application.
- covers more than one local planning authority area within 20 weeks of receiving the application (even if the application area follows a parish boundary).
- for all other neighbourhood area applications (such as neighbourhood forums) within 13 weeks of receiving the application.
The above timescales will commence from the publication of the neighbourhood area application by the Local Planning Authority. In addition, the minimum period for consultation on neighbourhood area applications that follow a parish boundary has now been reduced from six to four weeks in order to meet the revised timescales.
Application forms can be downloaded below.