Neighbourhood planning: step by step
There are three specific legal powers for neighbourhood planning and six formal stages to establish them.
The three powers: in brief
Neighbourhood Development Plans
A Neighbourhood Development Plan is a plan developed by the community, which, once approved, becomes a part of the statutory development plan to be implemented by the Local Planning Authority.
Neighbourhood Development Orders
A Neighbourhood Development Order delegates powers to a Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum.
Community Right to Build Orders
The third power is the Community Right to Build. The Community Right to Build is a set of proposals that gives communities some power to decide what is built in their area. Where small scale developments for new houses (e.g. 5-10 homes), community facilities or shops have the agreement of the local community, a Community Right to Build organisation can be set up and take a proposal forward through referendum. If this is successful, the development will not require planning permission.
The six stages
Stage 1: Designating a neighbourhood area
Parish or Town Councils in Cotswold District will decide if and when they want to proceed with neighbourhood planning. The first formal stage is to make a submission for designation of Neighbourhood Area to us. We anticipate the boundary will either be the parish boundary, or a combination of parishes.
Stage 2: Preparing the plan
Local people need to collect evidence and develop their ideas for what they want to see in their area. A Neighbourhood Plan must be in conformity with existing planning policy, and cannot propose less development than the Local Plan.
Stage 3: Independent check
Once a neighbourhood plan has been prepared, an independent examiner will check that it meets the legal requirements - the 'Basic Conditions'. If the plan doesn’t meet the Basic conditions, the examiner will recommend changes or can fail the plan. The planning authority will then need to consider the examiner’s views and make a decision on the next steps.
Stage 4: Community referendum
We will organise a referendum on any plan that passes examination. If more than 50 per cent of people voting in the referendum support the plan, then the local planning authority must bring it into force.
Stage 5: Legal Force
If the neighbourhood plan is supported by a referendum, it will be ‘made’ by Cotswold District Council to enter into legal force.
Stage 6: Implementation
Once a neighbourhood plan is in force, it carries legal weight in planning decisions. The Local Planning Authority, and where applicable, the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State will be obliged, by law, to take what it says into account when they consider proposals for development in the neighbourhood.