Want to have a say over where new homes, shops and offices are built or what new buildings should look like? Maybe you want to protect and enhance your local high street, choose where new industries should be located, or protect your local green spaces for generations to enjoy in years to come?

Neighbourhood Planning could be the right tool for you.

What is Neighbourhood Planning?

Neighbourhood planning was introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act. Neighbourhood planning allows local residents and businesses to have their own planning policies in a neighbourhood plan that reflect their priorities, deliver tangible local benefits and have real weight in planning decisions. Local people can also grant permission for development through ‘neighbourhood development orders’ and ‘community right to build orders’.

Across England many different communities have embraced neighbourhood planning. Have a look here to see some of the policies in use, which demonstrate the power and scope of what can be achieved through neighbourhood planning.

Neighbourhood Plans

In very simple terms, a neighbourhood plan is:

  • A document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area. Planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications.
  • Written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority.
  • A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.

A neighbourhood plan is an important document with real legal force, therefore there are certain formal procedures that it must go through. These are outlined below. To find out more about the process have a look at our roadmap guide.

Neighbourhood Development Orders

A neighbourhood development order is a way of granting planning permission for certain types of development wanted in an area, without the need for a traditional planning application. This follows a similar process to a neighbourhood plan. Neighbourhood development orders could for example, grant permission for flats above shops in an area or give permission for changes to shop fronts in the high street.

Community Right to Build

The Community Right to Build is also part of neighbourhood planning.

It allows communities to gain planning permission for a specific proposal on a site, without going through the traditional planning application process.

Projects could include developments such as:

  • Family homes to sell on the open market
  • Affordable housing for rent
  • Sheltered housing for local residents
  • Community facilities such as a community centre or children’s playground.

Find out more by reading Understanding the Community Right to Build and take a look at the Direct Support and Grants available.

Need help?

Don’t panic – neighbourhood planning can often seem like a daunting process, but help is available to support you through the journey.  We offer both technical support and grant funding.

We also have lots of resources designed to help you with writing your neighbourhood plan or preparing an order, and have collated some of them into Kits. In these Kits you can find technical guidance, tools and templates and briefing notes that will help you understand the process.

Check out our inspirational stories from other communities who have already gone through the process, you can read about their journey, the lessons they learnt and search for specific topics that may be relevant to you.

About the programme

Locality is working in partnership with Planning and Environment Consultancy AECOM, RICS, Design Council, RTPI and others on this project. It is funded as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Neighbourhood Planning and Community Right to Build support programme.