Benefits of a Neighbourhood Plan

From Knebworth Neighbourhood Plan

Neighbourhood Plan Working Party

Action 1.2 List benefits of Neighbourhood Plan (NP) (P Ward)

The following is a summary taken from various sources, links below.

There are two main mechanisms for neighbourhood planning – Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders. Each enables a community, including both local residents and businesses, to achieve different things and so communities should consider what they want to achieve first, and then decide which mechanism will best enable them to do this.

A Neighbourhood Plan is a way of helping local communities to influence the planning of the area in which they live and work. A Neighbourhood Development order can help to implement a shared vision by granting planning permission to certain types of development in certain locations, without the need to submit a planning application to the local planning authority.

What are the benefits to a community of developing a NP?

  • NP enables communities to play a much stronger role in shaping the areas in which they live and work and in supporting new development proposals.
  • This is because unlike the parish, village or town plans that communities may have prepared, a NP forms part of the development plan and sits alongside the Local Plan prepared by the local planning authority.
  • Decisions on planning applications will be made using both the Local Plan and the NP, and any other material considerations.
  • Neighbourhood planning provides the opportunity for communities to set out a positive vision for how they want their community to develop over the next 10-20 years in ways that meet identified local need and make sense for local people.
  • They can put in place planning policies that will help deliver that vision or grant planning permission for the development they want to see.
  • Include policies, e.g. regarding design standards, that take precedence over existing policies in the Local Plan for the neighbourhood – provided the Neighbourhood Plan policies do not conflict with the strategic policies in the Local Plan.

Typical things that a Neighbourhood Plan might include are:

  • The development of housing, including affordable housing (affordable housing is housing that is not normally for sale on the open market), and bringing vacant or derelict housing back into use.
  • Provision for businesses to set up or expand their premises.
  • Transport and access (including issues around roads, cycling, walking and access for disabled people).
  • The development of schools, places of worship, health facilities, leisure and entertainment facilities, community and youth centres and village halls.
  • The restriction of certain types of development and change of use, for example to avoid too much of one type of use.
  • The design of buildings.
  • Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and the planting of trees.
  • Protection of important buildings and historic assets such as archaeological remains.
  • Promotion of renewable energy projects, such as solar energy and wind turbines.

To help deliver their vision…

  • Communities that take a proactive approach by drawing up a NP or Order and secure the consent of local people in a referendum, will benefit from 25 percent of the revenues from the Community Infrastructure Levy arising from the development that takes place in their area.
  • Charging authorities should set out clearly and transparently their approach to engaging with neighbourhoods using their regular communication tools e.g. website, newsletters, etc. The use of neighbourhood funds should therefore match priorities expressed by local communities, including priorities set out formally in NP.

What type of permission can be granted by a Neighbourhood Development Order?

A Neighbourhood Development Order can grant planning permission for specific types of development in a specific neighbourhood area. A Neighbourhood Development Order can therefore:

  • apply to a specific site, sites, or wider geographical area
  • grant planning permission for a certain type or types of development
  • grant planning permission outright or subject to conditions.

A Neighbourhood Development Order can be used to permit:

  • building operations (e.g. structural alterations, construction, demolition or other works carried out by a builder)
  • material changes of use of land and buildings; and/or
  • engineering operations

Further information and a definition of development can be found here.