Neighbourhood plans

What is a neighbourhood plan?

A neighbourhood plan is a community led framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. Neighbourhood plans have a different status to other community led plans. Subject to a few basic conditions they will become legally binding and will become part of the development plan for the area. These conditions include:

  • they must have approval through a local referendum
  • they must take account of national planning policy
  • they must conform generally to the needs for strategic development set out in existing Local Plans (previously the Local Development Framework)
  • they cannot provide less development than existing Local Plans but could propose additional development if it was appropriate

Making the decision to prepare a neighbourhood plan

The process of producing a neighbourhood plan will bring together residents, businesses, landowners and local groups. These groups will need to work together to build a consensus and plan the future of their local area.

Once a community has made the decision to progress with a neighbourhood plan, the first step is for the relevant town or parish council to make an application to the district or borough council to designate a neighbourhood area.

Download the:

A summary of the key stages in neighbourhood planning

Further help and advice is also available at Neighbourhood Planning Support.

How can we help?

We can provide support and assistance to any community that wants to produce a neighbourhood plan, but it will not control the process which has to be a community led. Nevertheless, the regulations require us to undertake statutory tasks at certain points in the process in order to assist and support the community. Proposals for neighbourhood plans which have proven community support, through a local referendum, will need to be brought in to force by the local planning authority.

Once a neighbourhood area is designated, each parish will be allocated a planning officer to provide one to one support and technical advice to parishes throughout the production of the neighbourhood plan.

Neighbourhood plans should be in conformity with strategic policies within the development plans for the council.

Further information