Planning reform


We want people to be able to influence decisions about new and modified buildings and facilities in their area.

People have the right to get involved in development decisions that affect them but in practice they have often found it difficult to have a meaningful say.


To give people more control over the development of their local area, we are:

  • giving communities the power to set the priorities for local development through neighbourhood planning
  • requiring local planning authorities to draw up clear, up-to-date Local Plans that conforms with the National Planning Policy Framework, meets local development needs and reflects local people’s views of how they wish their area to develop
  • giving councils the power to raise money to support local infrastructure through the community infrastructure levy
  • also giving communities the right to receive and spend a proportion of community infrastructure levy funds on the local facilities they want
  • giving councils new powers to stop unwanted development on gardens (so-called ‘garden grabbing’)


We made a commitment in the coalition agreement (PDF 475KB) to give people more power over development in their area.

The Localism Act 2011 introduced new powers for people to make neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood planning orders, with reduced interference from central government. These new powers are in addition to existing opportunities for community involvement, which are already part of the planning system.

Who we’ve consulted

The Department for Communities and Local Government consulted on proposed regulations for neighbourhood planning between October 2011 and January 2012.

We consulted on proposed changes to the community infrastructure levy between October and December 2011.

We also consulted on proposed changes to the regulations which govern the process by which local councils prepare their development plans between July and October 2011.

Bills and legislation

The neighbourhood planning provisions are contained in the Localism Act 2011.

Neighbourhood planning legislation came into effect in April 2012. Further legislation covering the referendum stage of neighbourhood planning came into force on 2 August 2012.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) Regulations 2011 came into force on 6 April 2011.

The Local Authorities (Contracting Out of Community Infrastructure Levy Functions) Order 2011 came into force on 7 December 2011.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) Regulations 2012 came into force on 29 November 2012.