Introduction to neighbourhood planning
Introduction to neighbourhood planning

The following Planning guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Introduction to neighbourhood planning
  • What is neighbourhood planning?
  • Defining 'neighbourhood area'
  • 'Relevant body'
  • Neighbourhood Development Plans
  • Neighbourhood Development Orders and the Community Right to Build
  • Basic conditions
  • Relationship with other policy/legislation
  • Independent examination
  • Referendum
  • more

What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning was introduced in England by the Localism Act 2011. It empowers communities to shape the development and growth of a local area through the production of a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), a Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO) or a Community Right to Build Order (CRTBO).

Neighbourhood planning regulations came into force on 6 April 2012. Provisions relating to NDPs, NDOs and CRTBOs came into force on 5 April 2013 and have been amended several times since.

The government has published a document which provides a simple step-by-step overview of the rights which give people more power over what happens in their neighbourhood. The Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) also provides guidance on the neighbourhood planning system.

Defining 'neighbourhood area'

There is no comprehensive statutory definition of 'neighbourhood area'; local communities are free to define their own neighbourhood areas for the purposes of preparing a plan, subject to approval by their local planning authority (LPA). Section 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) requires that an LPA can only designate a 'neighbourhood area' where:

  1. a ‘relevant body’ (ie a parish council or neighbourhood forum - see below) has applied to the LPA for an area specified in the application to be designated as a neighbourhood area, and

  2. the LPA is determining the application


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