Neighbourhood planning was introduced as a new power to communities by the Localism Act 2011. Local planning authorities have a legal duty to support the development of Neighbourhood Plans and orders. The Borough Council of Wellingborough have produced a 'Neighbourhood Planning Protocol'that clearly sets out all of the types of support you should expect from officers. Additionally, the following pages set out an explanatory of the processes and key stages involved in making a Neighbourhood Plan or Order.
There are two main mechanisms for neighbourhood planning - Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders:
A Neighbourhood Plan is a new way of helping local communities influence the planning of the area they live and work in. If a plan is prepared and agreed by the community in a referendum it will become part of the development plan for the area and be used in the determination of planning applications.
A Neighbourhood Development Order can grant planning permission for certain types of development without the need to submit a planning application to the Council.
In the rural area Parish Councils will lead Neighbourhood Planning; the plan will normally cover the entire parish. In the town communities can define their own 'Neighbourhood Area' and create Neighbourhood Forums as the delivery body for the plan..
Communities and local people can choose to draw up either a plan, or a development order, or both. However there are three main rules regarding what can and cannot be proposed:
They must generally be in line with local and national planning policies;
They must be in line with other laws, e.g. where statutory land use designations such as Conservation Areas apply, a Neighbourhood Development Order could not be put in place to ease the types of development that require planning permission;
If the local planning authority says that an area needs to grow, then communities cannot use neighbourhood planning to block the building of new homes and businesses. They can, however, use neighbourhood planning to influence the type, design, location and mix of new development. In short, a Neighbourhood Plan may prove a useful tool to supplement and provide more detail and distinctiveness in support of higher level strategic policies.
The Regulations for Neighbourhood Planning were laid before parliament on 6 March 2012 and came into force on 6 April 2012. They clarify the statutory steps that must be undertaken to allow a plan or order to be adopted. Since this time, the Regulations have been amended to place additional requirements on both the Local Planning Authority and the qualifying body. Details of the amendments, coming into force on 9 February 2015, can be found here.
The process for preparing both Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders is very similar. As shown in this diagram, there are various stages to preparing Neighbourhood Plans or Orders:
More information and guidance is available on Neighbourhood Planning from a variety of bodies. A Toolkit has also been prepared for North Northamptonshire to provide practical advice.
The following sub-pages contain information on the current neighbourhood plans in the Borough, including details of the designated neighbourhood area, any ongoing or completed consultations and details of emerging draft plans, the examination and any decisions or determinations made by the officers: