Neighbourhood planning is a new method of planning led by the local community rather than by us or the Government.
Local people can now set out the vision and planning policies for how they want their local area to develop by producing a neighbourhood plan.
Neighbourhood plans are about local issues rather than strategic planning issues, but they must take account of existing national and local planning policies.
The Government has not specified the content of neighbourhood plans. This is for the local community to decide. However, the Government’s aim is that they will promote development. They are not about attempts to stop development.
Designated neighbourhood forums and areas
We have designated five neighbourhood forums and five neighbourhood areas:
Current neighbourhood planning applications
Developing a plan
Neighbourhood planning is driven by the local community at the neighbourhood level.
The local community must come together to identify the geographical boundaries of their neighbourhood, and must form a neighbourhood forum group which will be in charge of developing the plan.
Developing a neighbourhood plan for your area involves submitting three applications to us:
- Neighbourhood area application: this application sets out the boundaries of the neighbourhood.
- Neighbourhood forum application: this application sets out the composition and constitution of the forum, which is the neighbourhood organisation which will produce the neighbourhood plan.
- Neighbourhood plan application: the neighbourhood forum submits the neighbourhood plan to us for determination by an independent examiner.
We do not charge a fee for any of the above applications.
Advice, guidance and grants
Please see the guidance notes towards the end of this page for information about the concept of neighbourhood plans and the processes involved.
For further advice on the neighbourhood planning process and the availability of grants, see the My Community Rights website and the Department for Communities and Local Government website.
Neighbourhood plans are produced by the local community, not by us. However, we will provide support and advice throughout the process by:
- meeting with prospective neighbourhood planning groups to explain the neighbourhood planning system
- receiving, publicising and determining neighbourhood area and neighbourhood forum applications
- receiving and publicising applications for neighbourhood plans
- arranging and funding independent examinations of neighbourhood plans
- arranging and funding referendums so that local people can vote on the adoption of neighbourhood plans.
Local groups need to submit two applications in order to begin the formal neighbourhood planning process:
- a neighbourhood forum application, and
- a neighbourhood area application.
Please find the relevant application forms at the bottom of this page.
What is a neighbourhood forum and neighbourhood area?
A neighbourhood forum is a local group which is founded with the purpose of improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of a neighbourhood area.
A neighbourhood forum has the ability to create a neighbourhood plan for the area. A neighbourhood plan guides future development of land in the area.
Can neighbourhood areas overlap?
No. The successful designation of a neighbourhood forum and area means that no other community group can be designated as a neighbourhood forum for that area.
What is a neighbourhood plan?
A neighbourhood plan is an optional planning document which is produced by a community group as opposed to us. A neighbourhood plan contains policies relating specifically to the local neighbourhood, and can cover a wide variety of planning-related topics.
Why might you be interested in a neighbourhood forum and neighbourhood planning?
Neighbourhood planning has the potential to address a variety of social, economic and environmental issues in the area, from the types of extensions people can build on their homes, to the delivery of commercial development in the neighbourhood. If you have an interest in these types of issues, then you also have an interest in neighbourhood planning.
How to form a neighbourhood forum or plan
We would like to hear from any group with an interest in forming a neighbourhood forum and/or preparing a neighbourhood plan. Contact us using the details below.