What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A neighbourhood plan is a new type of plan introduced in the Localism Act. It will be the result of a community working together to decide how their local area should develop and grow in the future.

Who can prepare Neighbourhood Plans?

Neighbourhood plans can be prepared by parish or town councils. However, neighbourhood planning is not compulsory. You can check the boundaries of a parish on our online mapping system.

What influence does a Neighbourhood Plan have?

A neighbourhood plan is a new level of statutory planning sitting below the district Local Plan and Local Development Framework (LDF). These plans form the Development Plan and are used to determine planning applications.
A neighbourhood plan can influence the type, design, location and mix of new development, however it cannot block new development required to meet the district’s existing and future needs.

When can we start?

Local communities can start the early preparation of plans now. See the further information section below.

The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (138kb, PDF) outline detailed requirements for neighbourhood planning. This includes the procedures for designating a neighbourhood area and forum, and making neighbourhood development plans, neighbourhood development orders and Community Right to Build Orders.

Government will publish further regulations on neighbourhood planning referendums and guidance on neighbourhood planning will follow later this year.

What other types of neighbourhood planning are there?

A Neighbourhood Plan will set out the vision, general principles and policies for an area. There are two new other types of planning powers local communities can now use

  • Neighbourhood Development Orders – these allow for certain types of development without the need for planning permission. 
  • Community Right to Build Order– this allows a local area to build small scale housing developments, shops or community facilities.

All three types of new neighbourhood planning powers can be used in conjunction.
This does not affect the ability for local areas to continue to prepare Parish (or Community) Plans. Warwickshire Rural Community Council explain the types of Neighbourhood Development Plans.

What help is available?

The Government has funded four independent organisations to support the preparation of neighbourhood plans:

Neighbourhood plans are prepared by local communities but the council will provide some guidance and technical assistance when necessary.

Where can I find further information?

In addition, the Localism Act has a number of other new provisions in it that local communities can use A Plain English Guide to the Localism Act briefly explains these.