What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a new type of plan which will focus on very local areas, to be produced by communities with Parish and Town Councils, with the assistance of the Council. Policies included in neighbourhood plans are related to the use of land in the area, or to spatial matters (i.e., aspects that affect how a place works). When adopted, they form part of the overall development plan for Torbay and be used to consider all planning applications in that area, in the context of the Torbay Core Strategy.
What does a Neighbourhood Plan do?
A Neighbourhood Plan gives local people a chance to create a planning document that guides and shapes development in their local area, and to influence what facilities are provided in the area as a result.
What's the legal basis for a Neighbourhood Plan?
A new planning system was introduced through the Government's Localism Act (2011), which devolves greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods. A key element of this includes Neighbourhood Planning and the opportunity for local communities to draw up ideas for development at the local level, in the form of Neighbourhood Plans that now forms part of the Development Plan for Torbay. From 15th November 2011, the Bill is an Act of Parliament.
How was the Neighbourhood Plan developed?
Community Partnerships and Torbay Council agreed that three Neighbourhood Plans would be prepared for Torbay, one each for Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Torbay Council was successful in a bid (2011) to take part in the Neighbourhood Planning Front Runners Scheme, to secure £20,000 in funding from central government to help create a Neighbourhood Plan for Brixham. Subsequent bids for the Torquay and Paignton Neighbourhood Forums were also successful, with the fifth wave of frontrunners announced in March 2012.
The Paignton Community Partnerships and Ward Councillors agreed to join in producing an interim Neighbourhood Forum for Paignton. Our Neighbourhood Plan forms a significant part of the basis for deciding planning applications in our area, specifically covering Paignton town and the related communities in the surrounding areas. It now forms part of the overall development plan alongside the Torbay Local Plan.
The Neighbourhood Plan Forum (NPF) inaugural meeting was held on 13 October 2011 which elected David Watts as Chairman, and Dean Auton as Vice Chair. The minutes of the inaugural and subsequent meetings of the Paignton Neighbourhood Plan Forum are available online.
Who is currently on the Paignton Neighbourhood Forum?
The Paignton Neighbourhood Forum includes hundreds of members from all walks of life: residents, workers, ward councillors, representatives from Community Partnerships, to name but a few.
What area is covered by the Paignton Neighbourhood Plan?
The Paignton Neighbourhood Plan area is shown here.
Paignton Neighbourhood Plan Area
How do I join the Forum or find out more?
Can a Neighbourhood Plan be used to stop development?
No - a Neighbourhood Plan can guide development to be more appropriate to local context and help decide where it goes, but the government has made it clear that it is not a tool to be used to stop development. Having said that, the Council is legally obliged to take the plan's policies into account when deciding upon planning applications.
Will Neighbourhood Plans allocate land?
This will depend on how the community want to progress their plan but the plan is able to allocate land if required.
What is the timeframe?
It is expected that the creation of Neighbourhood Plans will take approximately two years from start to finish.
Is the Council still progressing a Core Strategy or just Neighbourhood Plans?
The Council is still progressing with the Core Strategy which will span the whole of Torbay and contain overarching Strategic Policies and Development Management Polices. Neighbourhood plans are able to develop in tandem with the Core Strategy.
If we have a Neighbourhood Plan does this mean that we don't have to use the Local Plan or Core Strategy?
No - the local Plan remains part of the development plan and will continue to be used to determine planning applications until superseded by the Core Strategy. Neighbourhood Plans will form a new tier of planning at a very local level. They need to conform to the overarching adopted Core Strategy for Torbay but will form part of the development plan for their area.
Which carries more planning weight: a Neighbourhood Plan or the Torbay Local Plan?
The weight (importance) that is attached to a particular policy can only be decided when considering a specific proposal. At a general level, when adopted, Neighbourhood Plans and the Local Plan or Adopted Core Strategy should complement each other. Planning decisions will be based primarily around policies in adopted Neighbourhood Plans and the Local Plan/Core Strategy.
I'm a developer - do I have to use Neighbourhood Plans when putting in planning applications?
Yes - planning applications will need to have regard to all relevant policy.
How does a Neighbourhood Plan get adopted as planning policy?
To get adopted, the plan will be subject to approval by the Council, then an independent examination, and be subject to a local referendum gaining at least a 50 percent level of support.