Neighbourhood planning—independent examination and referendum
Neighbourhood planning—independent examination and referendum

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

  • Neighbourhood planning—independent examination and referendum
  • Context
  • Independent examination
  • Examiner's report
  • Referendum
  • Intervention by the Secretary of State
  • Making and adopting the NDP/NDO
  • Implementation and monitoring
  • Modification of NDP/NDO
  • Challenging an NDP

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—the implications for English and Welsh planning law and practice or visit the Planning area of the Brexit toolkit.


The Localism Act 2011 introduced the concept of neighbourhood planning, which allows communities to shape the development and growth of a local area. As part of the neighbourhood planning process, an independent examination and referendum are required for the completion of:

  1. neighbourhood development plans (NDPs), which allow communities to set out planning policies for the development and use of land in the neighbourhood. NDPs form part of the statutory development plan

  2. neighbourhood development orders (NDOs), which grant planning permission in the area, without the need for planning applications

  3. community right to build orders, a type of NDO, which allow certain community organisations to bring forward smaller-scale development on a specific site, without the need for planning permission

The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (the 2012 Regulations) and Schedule 4B to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) set out the procedure for the independent examination and

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