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General information about neighbourhood areas and the neighbourhood planning process.


What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning is a new way for communities to decide the future of where they live and work.

Neighbourhood development plans set out a vision for the use of land in the community.

The plans are prepared by town and parish councils, or neighbourhood forums.

Neighbourhood plans can’t:

  • stop all development in the area

  • plan for less development than our Local Plan requires

Neighbourhood areas


The first stage of preparing a neighbourhood plan is agreeing what area the plan will cover. This is usually the parish boundary.

After we receive an application from a community group, we’ll check the area and make any amendments. Once we agree the area, it becomes known as a ‘designated neighbourhood area’.

Neighbourhood plans


Once we decide a designated neighbourhood area, the next stage is to prepare the plan. It’s a local community plan. Your community will need to make the decisions on what you want in your plan (you may use consultants to help).


Once prepared, the plan will:

  • sit alongside the Local Plan

  • be taken into account when decisions are being made on planning applications

  • give communities a real opportunity to guide and shape development in their area


The plan can be detailed or general depending on what local people want. But it must:


Because plans will affect what can be built, they must go through a number of formal procedures:

  • a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)/Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) screening

  • public consultation

  • an examination by an independent expert

  • a referendum to find out the level of local support for the plan


This is to make sure everyone has the chance to comment on them, and they meet tests laid down by law.

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