title="Lesbury Parish Council in Northumberland">

Neighbourhood Development Plan

 What is a Neighbourhood Plan?


Introduced in 2012, a neighbourhood plan is a community-led planning framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. It is about the use and development of land and may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area and providing new facilities, or allocation of key sites for specific kinds of development. It may deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport) or it may focus on one or two issues only. The timeframe for the neighbourhood plan will be for communities to decide, for example whether it is a 5, 10, 15 or 20-year plan.

This plan must meet certain ‘basic conditions’. These include compliance with European and national legislation, contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, have appropriate regard to national policy and being in general conformity with existing strategic local planning policy. It should not promote less development than that identified in the development plan for the local area (such as new housing allocations). Also, it can specify policies and guidance on how new development should be designed, orientated and located. It can be a powerful tool in shaping the development of a neighbourhood.

A Neighbourhood Plan will be subject to examination and referendum and then form part of the Local Development Plan. This statutory status gives Neighbourhood Plans far more weight than some other local planning documents, such as parish plans and village design statements.

 A neighbourhood plan offers several advantages over simply relying on the Local Plan produced by the local council:

  • Neighbourhood plans are led by authorised local community organisations (parish councils) rather than the local council’s planning department. This means that community representatives write the plan themselves. In preparing these plans, parish councils have the opportunity to engage properly with the wider community to ensure it represents the range of wants and needs in the local area.

  • A neighbourhood plan would be part of the statutory development plan for the area. This means that local authorities or planning inspectors would have to make decisions on the basis of the neighbourhood plan policies and any other material considerations when considering planning applications or appeals in the neighbourhood area. In other words, the neighbourhood plan carries more weight as a consideration in planning decisions, effectively giving the local community more influence and control over the development of their area.

It is about guiding and shaping future development.


From 'Neighbourhood Plans Road Map Guide' by D Chetwyn (undated) and 'Quick Guide to Neighbourhood Plans' by D Chetwyn (undated).