Neighbourhood planning step by step process
There are a number of key steps in neighbourhood planning before a neighbourhood plan/order can come into force.
See below the steps for preparing a neighbourhood plan (general guidance applies to both neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development orders).
Before neighbourhood planning can take place, the area of interest must be submitted, approved and designated. To do this:
- You must submit an application to us to designate your neighbourhood area. In the absence of a parish or town council, you must submit an application to set up a neighbourhood planning forum. This forum must be made up of a minimum of 21 unrelated people who live or run businesses in the area.
- Your neighbourhood area application must:
- contain a map clearly showing the boundaries of the proposed neighbourhood area
- clearly explain why this area is suitable for neighbourhood planning
- Depending on whether the designated area is a full parish boundary or not, we will publicise your application for at least six weeks and invite comments from the local community.
After considering the application and any comments received, we then publish the decision on the application.
Once your neighbourhood area has been approved and designated, you can prepare your plan. The neighbourhood planning group (either the parish or town council or the neighbourhood forum) is responsible for preparing this. This involves:
- Gathering information about your neighbourhood area, considering thelocal plan in your area.
- Establishing your community's aspirations and priorities.
- Setting out a clear purpose for the plan including its goals and objectives.
- Drafting planning policies to help deliver the objectives of the plan.
- Understanding whether the plan is likely to have a significant environmental impact.
It's important that the plan follows some ground rules:
- It must generally be in line with local and national planning policies.
- It must be in line with any other relevant legislation (including SA/SEA).
- If we've highlighted that your area needs to grow, then you cannot use neighbourhood planning to block the building of new homes and businesses; you can, however, use neighbourhood planning to influence the type, design, location and mix of new developments.
- Neighbourhood plans must contribute to achieving sustainable development.
Before you can formally submit your plan to the council for examination, you must publicise the plan for 6 weeks, inviting comments from people who live, work and carry out business in the area as well as ourselves and a number of specific regional and national organisations and agencies.
You will have to consider responses received and may need to adjust your proposals accordingly.
The responses and your reaction to these will need to be set out in a consultation statement.
- We check to ensure it complies with all relevant legislation including the need for an SA/SEA
- We check to ensure all necessary processes and procedures have been carried out including consultation and the preparation of a consultation statement (see step 3)
- If we find that the plan meets the legal requirements then we will:
- Publicise the plan for a minimum of 6 weeks and invite representations
- Notify specific regional and national organisations and agencies
In order to do this:
- We will send the plan and any consultation responses received during step 4 to the selected examiner.
- The examiner makes the relevant checks. They may recommend that the plan proceeds to the next change with or without changes or they may propose rejecting the plan.
- The examiner issues a report to us and the neighbourhood planning group.
- We will then publish the report.
- We will consider the report and reach our own view and take the final decision on whether to send the plan to referendum. At this point the plan would be relevant to the consideration of planning applications.
Everyone living in the area of coverage (unless the examiner has advised differently) of the neighbourhood plan, who is registered to vote in local elections, will be entitled to vote in the referendum.
- We will publish a notice of referendum and an information statement.
Polling will take place and residents will vote on whether the plan should come into force. We will declare the referendum results (for the neighbourhood plan to proceed to step 7, more than 50% of the vote in the referendum must be in favour of the plan.
If more than 50% of people voting in the referendum support the neighbourhood plan, we must formally consider the plan for adoption as part of our planning policy framework.
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