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Monday 21 March 2022
Planning Statement

Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities and gives them direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. Communities can prepare plans with real legal weight and can grant planning permission for the development they wish to see through a ‘neighbourhood development order’.

Since neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 there has been a growing momentum behind it. There are an increasing number of communities across England undertaking neighbourhood planning and the first areas have completed the process with their plans now forming a formal part of the development plan for their areas. There is significant flexibility in what neighbourhood plans can include – they can involve, for example, just a few policies on design or retail uses or they can be comprehensive plans incorporating a diverse range of policies and site allocations for housing or other development.

All neighbourhood plans and orders are subject to an independent examination and a vote by the local community in a referendum. Only a neighbourhood plan or order that appropriately fits with local strategic and national policies and complies with important legal conditions may be put to a referendum.

When a neighbourhood plan has passed examination, achieved successful local support through referendum and is then formally ‘made’ by the Local Planning Authority, it will form part of the statutory ‘development plan’ which is used by the local planning authority in deciding planning applications. This status, the community-led nature of neighbourhood planning and extra funding that the community can access through the community infrastructure levy (see below) are real incentives for communities to take up this right.

The main legislation that sets out the neighbourhood planning system can be found in the Localism Act 2011 and the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012. The Localism Act 2011 amended existing planning legislation to introduce neighbourhood planning.