What is a Neighbourhood Plan? Through the Localism Act, the government has given local communities more power to influence the future of the places they live by introducing three neighbourhood planning tools:
- Neighbourhood plans: A neighbourhood plan outlines a vision for the area and sets planning policies for the use and development of land. It could cover where new homes, offices or shops could go and identify green spaces to be protected. Neighbourhood plans should be about local issues and focus on guiding development rather than stopping it. Once adopted, a neighbourhood plan becomes a statutory plan and will be used in making decisions on planning applications.
- Neighbourhood development orders: Neighbourhood development orders can grant planning permission for specific developments such as shop fronts and ‘green energy’ proposals.
- Community right to build orders: Community right to build orders identify land for specific small scale developments, such as new homes or community facilities.
A qualifying body can make a neighbourhood plan before a local plan has been adopted by the local planning authority. Town and parish councils are the ‘qualifying bodies’: they can produce plans that cover their entire area, or just part of it. Alternatively, they can work with other town or parish councils to produce a joint plan if they wish to do so. The neighbourhood area has to be designated by us to allow the town or parish council to produce a neighbourhood plan.