This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/giving-communities-more-power-in-planning-local-development Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.

Issue

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.

Actions

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’)

Background

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.

Appendix 1: community infrastructure levy

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The community infrastructure levy is a new levy that local authorities in England and Wales can choose to charge on new developments in their area. Our overview document provides a quick guide to the levy. The levy is designed to be fairer, faster and more transparent than the previous system of agreeing planning obligations between local councils and developers under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

In areas where a community infrastructure levy is in force, land owners and developers must pay the levy to the local council.

The charges are set by the local council, based on the size and type of the new development.

The money raised from the community infrastructure levy can be used to support development by funding infrastructure that the council, local community and neighbourhoods want, like new or safer road schemes, park improvements or a new health centre.

The community infrastructure levy:

  • gives local authorities the freedom to set their own priorities for what the money should be spent on
  • gives local authorities a predictable funding stream that allows them to plan ahead more effectively
  • gives developers much more certainty from the start about how much money they will be expected to contribute
  • makes the system more transparent for local people, as local authorities have to report what they have spent the levy on each year
  • rewards communities receiving new development through the direct allocation of a proportion (15% or 25% depending on whether a Neighbourhood Plan is in place) of levy funds collected in their area

Guidance setting out the main procedures local authorities need to follow when introducing and operating the community infrastructure levy was published in April 2013.

Community infrastructure levy regulations and amendment regulations

The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 came into force on 6 April 2010.

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.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) Regulations 2013 came into force on 25 April 2013.

Appendix 2: neighbourhood planning

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

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.

Neighbourhood planning is a growing movement. As of April 2014:

  • around 1,000 communities have taken the first formal steps towards producing a neighbourhood development plan
  • 80 full draft plans have been produced for consultation
  • 13 neighbourhood plans have been passed at community referendums

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 basic 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.

To support their role, local planning authorities can claim funding of at least £30,000 per completed plan.

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 £10.8 million, 2-year programme to support communities to progress their neighbourhood development plans and neighbourhood development orders. The programme offers hands-on, practical support and grants of up to £7,000 per neighbourhood area. Communities have been able to submit applications from 1 May 2013. Full programme details are available from the My Community Rights website. 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

We have revised planning practice guidance to make it easily accessible and available online. The guidance includes a section devoted to neighbourhood planning. This site is also home to the National Planning Policy Framework as understanding national policy is an important part of developing a successful neighbourhood plan. More information on neighbourhood planning and other community right can also be found on the My Community Rights website.

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

Appendix 3: Local Plans

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Local Plan for an area sets the rules for how the area will develop over time. The Local Plan, along with any neighbourhood plans, forms the overall development plan for the local area. Planning decisions must normally be taken in accordance with the development plan.

The National Planning Policy Framework states that every local planning authority in England should have a clear, up to date Local Plan, which conforms to the framework, meets local development needs, and reflects local people’s views of how they wish their community to develop.

The National Planning Policy Framework provides a framework in which local people and their local councils can produce their own distinctive plans, reflecting their own priorities. The National Planning Policy Framework says Local Plans should:

  • be based on the objectively assessed needs of the local area
  • set out opportunities for development and clear policies on what will or won’t be permitted and where
  • plan positively for the development and infrastructure required in the area to meet the objectives, principles and policies of the National Planning Policy Framework
  • reflect a collective vision for the sustainable development of the area
  • cover an appropriate time scale (preferably 15 years) and be kept up to date
  • be based on co-operation with neighbouring authorities, public, voluntary and private sector organisations
  • allocate sites to encourage development and the flexible use of land, identifying new land where necessary
  • contain a clear strategy for enhancing the natural, built and historic environment and supporting Nature Improvement Areas where they have been identified

Planning guidance published online on 6 March 2014 makes clear the importance of Local Plans in setting out a vision and agreed priorities for the sustainable development of an area. The guidance also supports local authorities and communities in plan-making.

The government is working with the Local Government Association, the Planning Advisory Service, and the Planning Inspectorate to provide support to local councils on plan-making. Councils at an early stage of preparation should contact the Planning Advisory Service.