Skip to content

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan provides a new way for local communities to influence the planning of the area in which they live and/or work. Their legal basis is provided by the Localism Act 2011.

Neighbourhood Plans give communities more direct power to plan the areas in which they live. Neighbourhood Plans can be used to:

  • Develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood.
  • Set planning policies for the development and use of land.
  • Give planning permission for development the community wants to have.

Neighbourhood Plans therefore offer a powerful new planning tool for local communities. This section of the guide provides a brief introduction to Neighbourhood Plans.

Who can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan?

Unlike Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans are not prepared by the local planning authority. There are two types of body that can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan:

  • Parish and town councils – in areas where a parish or town council exists, these are the only bodies who can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Neighbourhood forums – where a parish or town council does not exist, only bodies that have made an application to the local planning authority can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. Such a body is known as a neighbourhood forum.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

There are two main mechanisms for neighbourhood planning. Each will enable a community to achieve a different outcome and

So communities should consider what they want to achieve and then decide which mechanism will enable them to do this:

  • Neighbourhood Plans (which may be known as Neighbourhood Development Plans) will enable a community to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood by setting planning policies to shape the future development and use of land in their area.
  • Neighbourhood Development Orders – will help implement a shared vision by granting planning permission, whether full or outline, to certain types of development or development in certain locations.

The process for developing Neighbourhood Development Plans and Orders is the same.