This is a new right for communities that came into force in April 2012. This right was introduced in the Localism Act with the intention that Neighbourhood Planning will be a way for communities to:
· Choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built
· Have their say on what those new buildings should look like
· Grant permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead.
Parish and Town Councils (or, in areas without elected Councils, a Neighbourhood Forum) will take the lead on defining a neighbourhood and developing the Neighbourhood Plan.
How is a Plan started?
Once the neighbourhood has been defined and there is approval from the local planning authority, the next step is the Neighbourhood Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order. These must be generally in line with local and national planning policies and other laws. You will need to thoroughly engage and consult your community in developing the ideas within your plan. The final plan is submitted to your local planning authority for an independent check by an experienced examiner to check it meets the required standards. Finally, the local council will organise a referendum to give the community a say on whether the Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order comes into force. Once in force decision makers will be obliged, by law, to take what it says into account when they consider development in that neighbourhood.
A Neighbourhood Plan may not be the right approach for your community. You may want to complete a Community Led Plan first before starting to look at the details of your built environment, or you may be able to influence how your village looks by using existing planning mechanisms. It is also worth noting that a Neighbourhood Plan is not the route to use to block proposed new building already allocated to your area – the Neighbourhood Plan is about accepting development and shaping it to meet the needs of your residents.
For more information and advice about making the right decision for your community contact Rural Action Yorkshire. Also see the resources page and 'How RAY can help'.