Q&As

Are parish councils compelled to have a neighbourhood plan? And can they, in effect, facilitate unwanted development, because they are based on the idea of where, not if, development is to take place within a parish?

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Published on LexisPSL on 11/07/2016

The following Planning Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are parish councils compelled to have a neighbourhood plan? And can they, in effect, facilitate unwanted development, because they are based on the idea of where, not if, development is to take place within a parish?

A neighbourhood development plan is defined by section 38A Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (PCPA 2004) as a plan 'which sets out policies (however expressed) in relation to the development and use of land in the whole or any part of a particular neighbourhood area specified in the plan'.

It is of the essence of neighbourhood plans that although they are made by the local planning authority (LPA) they are drawn up by the local community for the neighbourhood area they concern. It has therefore been necessary for the legislation to get to grips with what is to be regarded as a local community for the purpose of such areas and such plans. The approach taken, most notably by section 116 of the Localism Act 2011 (LA 2011), has been to empower parish councils (sometimes called town councils) to prepare neighbourhood development plans for all or part of their area. However, a good deal of the country is not within the area of any parish council. For those

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