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 whether 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 is proposed by the Local Plan.

Stage 3: Independent check

Once a neighbourhood plan has been prepared, an independent examiner will check that it meets the right basic standards. If the plan doesn’t meet the right standards, the examiner will recommend changes. The planning authority will then need to consider the examiner’s views and decide whether to make those changes.

Stage 4: Community referendum

We will organise a referendum on any plan that meets the basic standards. 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 then needs to be ‘made’ by Cotswold District Council to enter into legal force - the plan will have to be formally agreed at a Council meeting.

Stage 6: Implementation

Once a neighbourhood plan is in force, it carries legal weight. The Local Planning Authority, and in some instance 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.

Cotswold District Council
Trinity Road
Cirencester
Gloucestershire
GL7 1PX