Policy

Giving communities more power in planning local development

Supporting detail:

Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning gives communities the power to:

  • make a neighbourhood development plan
  • make a neighbourhood development order
  • make a Community Right to Build order

Neighbourhood planning was introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Neighbourhood planning legislation came into effect in April 2012.

Neighbourhood development plans

A neighbourhood development plan establishes general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood, like:

  • where new homes and offices should be built
  • what they should look like

The plan can be detailed or general, depending what local people want.

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 we expect 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.

More and more communities are taking up the right to produce a neighbourhood plan. At August 2013, 3 plans have successfully been through a community referendum and have been brought into force by the local planning authority.

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.

Community Right to Build orders

A Community Right to Build order gives permission for small-scale, site-specific developments by a community group.

Neighbourhood forums

Neighbourhood planning will be led by the local parish or town council. In areas without a parish or town council, new neighbourhood forums will take the lead.

In areas which are predominately commercial, the neighbourhood forum can be led by a business neighbourhood forum.

Community Infrastructure Levy

Parishes with a neighbourhood plan will receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy arising from developments in their area compared to parishes without a neighbourhood plan who will receive 15%.

Role of the local planning authority

The local planning authority has a duty to support communities making their neighbourhood plan. For example, it will organise the independent examination of the neighbourhood development plan, neighbourhood development order or Community Right to Build order. This is to check that the plan or order meets certain minimum conditions.

The local planning authority is responsible for organising the neighbourhood planning referendum. The referendum ensures that the local community has the final say on whether a neighbourhood development plan, neighbourhood development order or a Community Right to Build order comes into force in their area.

Support for communities using neighbourhood planning

There are several sources of advice and support for communities who are interested in doing neighbourhood planning:

From May 2013 the government has run a a £9.5 million, 2-year programme to support communities to progress their Neighbourhood Development Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders. The programme will offer hands-on, practical support and grants of up to £7,000 per neighbourhood area. Communities can submit applications from 1 May 2013. Full programme details will be available from the My Community Rights website when the programme goes live. For more information, see the factsheet.

The local planning authority is under a duty to support and obliged by law to help people draw up their neighbourhood plans.

Developers, parish and town councils, landowners and local businesses may all be interested in sponsoring and taking a leading role in neighbourhood planning. In fact, in many areas, local businesses are working alongside local residents, local government and others with an interest in the neighbourhood’s future development and growth.

Further information

There is more information about neighbourhood planning in the detailed guide and on the My Community Rights website.

The DCLG policy team also produces regular bulletins containing latest news and policy developments.

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