Neighbourhood Plans

A number of communities in Northamptonshire are doing a Neighbourhood Plan. Find out how they are getting on here.

Forum for Neighbourhood Planning

Are you involved in neighbourhood planning or would like to be and would like to knowPlanning aid forum logo more about it? If so, you may be interested in this forum that helps support people and communities who are using new powers under the Localism Act 2011 to create neighbourhood plans. You can join the forum and review/add posts as well as download useful resources and find out about the latest news and events relating to neighbourhood planning. It is hosted by Planning Aid.

The First Neighbourhood Plan voted in

In an historic landmark, people living and working in the Upper Eden valley area in Cumbria are the first in the country to take to the polls and vote on a neighbourhood plan that has been produced by local people for local people. The Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan  was approved by 90% of those who voted with 1,310 votes in favour and 138 votes against.

Useful guide to Neighbourhood Plans from Locality

Quick guide to neighbourhood planning - LocalityLocality provides training and support to communities who are thinking of undertaking a neighbourhood plan. This quick guide gives a short, step by step overview of the neighbourhood planning process. It gives you ideas, guidance and sets out best practice in neighbourhood planning.

If you would like more in depth information on how to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, then it would be worth checking out their Neighbourhood Plans Roadmap Guide.

The Localism Act

“We will introduce new rights for communities to shape their local areas through neighbourhood planning.  Communities will be able to use neighbourhood development plans to set policies for the development and use of land in their neighbourhoods and through the use of neighbourhood development orders can permit development – in full or in outline.” A Plain English Guide to the Localism Bill – Communities and Local Government.

The Localism Act came into force in April 2012. The Act aims to provide a radical shift of power away from central to local government, to give power back to people and their communities and create the conditins for the Big Society.  The main measures of the Act applicable to rural communities are:

and it is supported by the new National Policy Planning Framework which is a simplified framework replacing all previous national planning policy statements.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan allows a community to help shape the details of development in their area where that development has already been agreed in the Local Plan. A Neighbourhood Plan is NOT a means of preventing development in a community if the Local Plan has already agreed it. 

Who can do a Neighbourhood Plan?

  •  In parish areas a Neighbourhood Plan must be parish or town council led.
  • If the area in the plan covers more than one parish, then consent of other relevant parishes is needed
  • Where your communityis in an unparished area, the local authority must designate a Neighbourhood Forum to take the plan forward and at least 21 members from that area must be in the forum

Front Runners piloting Neighbourhood Plans

There are 233 Front Runner communities piloting the plans including 8 communities in Northants. Some of the key findings so far from the pilots are:

  • Existing parish arrangements helpful for head start
  • Found neighbourhood planning more difficult and taking longer than first thought
  • Found local authorities to be generally supportive
  • Strong focus on provision of affordable housing, public realm, town centre regeneration
  • Communities want to be proactive about planning rather than reactive

One comment from a pilot site said: We are finding that communities undertaking Neighbourhood Plans are pro acceptable development. But if you are strongly against any development, then a Neighbourhood Plan is not the process you need.”

How Northamptonshire ACRE can help

Neighbourhood plans are not for all communities, but if you feel they may be relevant to your area and would like more information about them or the process to follow for carrying one out, please leave a comment below or email elaine.oleary@northantsacre.org.uk or Tel. 01604 765888.

We have also produced a series of slides on both the Localism Act and Neighbourhood Plans that you can download: Summary of Localism Act 2012 and Neighbourhood Planning . These are also available in laminated format for use on display boards.

Please contact Sarah Clarke on 01604 765888 or email sarah.clarke@northantsacre.org.uk if you would like to arrange to borrow the laminated slides (and display boards).

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