What is a neighbourhood plan?
In very simple terms, a neighbourhood plan is:
•A document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area – planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications
•Prepared and written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority
•A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.
Local people can create a plan that allows them to develop planning policies that reflect the priorities of their area and have real legal weight. The whole community then decides at a referendum vote whether the plan comes into force.
A neighbourhood plan is an important document with real legal force, therefore there are certain formal procedures that it must go through.
Royal Town Planning Institute
What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans, Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.
Neighbourhood Development Plans are a statutory planning document and will be used with the Local Plan to test all planning applications in the area. Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders allow communities to grant planning permission either in full or in outline for the types of development they want to see in their areas.
It must be stressed that the policies produced are not a method for stopping development, what they can do is shape where that development will go and what it will look like.
Neighbourhood planning is one of the community rights, along with the Community Right to Build, Community Right to Bid, Community Right to Challenge and Community Right to Reclaim Land. See the My Community Rights website for more information.
How does it work?
A community group known as a neighbourhood forum needs to be established to lead. The Localism Act recognises that not all communities are residential in nature and as such in areas that are predominantly commercial then a business led neighbourhood forum can be established.
The Local Planning Authority (Stoke-on-Trent City Council) is involved and will make decisions at key stages of the process, such as approving the neighbourhood area within which the Neighbourhood Development Plan will have effect. It will also organise the independent examination of the plan and the community referendum that is held at the end of the process.
The referendum is an important part of the process allowing those that live in the neighbourhood area to decide whether or not the Neighbourhood Development Plan, Neighbourhood Development Order or Community Right to Build Order comes into effect or not. This is direct democracy and outlines the importance of working with the wider community and securing their support at an early stage in the process.
Neighbourhood plan maps
- Awaiting update of final plan
Neighbourhood Forum Constitution
- Awaiting update of final document
Role of officers
- The Chair. It shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson to chair all meetings or a designated deputy in his/her absence. And to ensure that meetings are held in accordance with the provisions of the Forum constitution.
- The Treasurer. It shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer to ensure that the finance provisions of the constitution (see clause 9 below) are carried out.
- The Secretary. It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary to keep a register of members, ensure that minutes are taken of all Management Committee, Special General and Annual General meetings and that the minutes are accessible to all members via the Forum’s website.
Other websites such as those below have further information for those that would like to research things more.
- My community - neighbourhood planning
- Urban Vision - North Staffordshire
- Local Green Space:
- Roadmap Guide:
- General Conformity:
- Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders:
- Planning for Community-led Housing:
- Community-Led Housing Toolkit 4 – How to Deliver your Project.
- Conservation Professional Practice Principles