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Neighbourhood Plan Process

Are you interested in writing a Neighbourhood Plan, but don't know where to start? This page summarises the process of writing a Neighbourhood Plan from start to finish. Click on each title to find out more.

You should also check out my article Essential Reading for Neighbourhood Planners, which discusses the best places to find the latest advice and guidance on preparing a Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Early engagement - gathering views and opinions of local people to inform your plan...
  • Submitting your plan - handing your plan over to your local district or borough council for legal checks...
  • Referendum - a vote for local people to decide if the plan should be used in the decision-making process...
Additional resources and guidance are available on the resources page. The Home page provides our latest blog posts on specific issues affecting Neighbourhood Plans. For older posts, browse the Archive.

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Exciting changes to the Plan Finder...

I've given the Neighbourhood Plan Finder a major upgrade, transforming it into a fully fledged web app!

Loyal readers will know that this site provides the most comprehensive directory of made Neighbourhood Plans on the web. However, the original Plan Finder was a little 'clunky'.

The new and improved Plan Finder offers better results and improved functionality, enabling users to perform a simple search to locate made Neighbourhood Plans. For example, with the new Plan Finder you can search for Neighbourhood Plans by:
Name or location of Neighbourhood PlanLocal Planning Authority e.g. district or borough councilCountyNational ParkReferendum date, in format "YYYY-MM-DD" e.g. a search for '2019-12' will return plans which passed referendum in December 2019. This directory of Neighbourhood Plans is intended to raise the profile of Neighbourhood Plans by helping people to find plans more easily. For example, helping developers and agents to locate plans which…

Housing Delivery Test 2019 Results Published

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has now published the latest results of its Housing Delivery Test (HDT), based on the number of new homes built in the period 2016 to 2019.

The HDT 2019 measurement for each council area is provided in the searchable table below.
How the Housing Delivery Test is calculated The HDT calculates the number of new homes built, as a percentage of the number of homes needed over the past three years. MHCLG re-calculates an HDT figure annually for every council area in England. The new 2019 measurement replaces the previous 2018 measurement.
Consequences of the Housing Delivery Test The purpose of the HDT is to hold local authorities to account over the supply of new housing.

Where the HDT shows the delivery of new homes has fallen below 95% of the district or borough's housing requirement over the previous three years, the council should prepare an Action Plan to assess the causes of under-delivery and identify actions to…

Why the Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan failed

News that the Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan was rejected at referendum has spread rapidly across social media and has even been picked up by local and national press - see BBC article.

The story has garnered a lot of attention as it is highly unusual for a Neighbourhood Plan to be rejected. The Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan is only the third Neighbourhood Plan not to be supported by residents.

At the referendum held on 14 March 2019, the Neighbourhood Plan was rejected, albeit by a very slim margin of just 22 votes.
'No' Campaign Prior to the referendum, Labour town councillors led a campaign which encouraged local people to vote against the Neighbourhood Plan. 
Based on the literature shared by the campaign group, opposition to the Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan appears to be pointed at three key issues: Impacts on the town and its infrastructure of the overall scale of growth Middlewich is expected deliverDisagreement with the individual sites identified by the Neighbourhood …

Neighbourhood Plan Review: Plans made in July 2019

Neighbourhood Plans provide a bespoke planning framework for the local area. No two plans are alike, although many have similar characteristics and address common themes. This post provides a short summary of those Neighbourhood Plans which successfully passed referendum in July 2019, highlighting the elements which make each plan locally specific and unique.

The purpose of this post is to celebrate the achievement of those communities in successfully preparing their Neighbourhood Plans, and to share the interesting ideas and policies for the benefit of others who are currently writing their plans. Links to the Neighbourhood Plans are provided throughout the post.
Navigate this post using the map July was a busy month, with a whopping 24 Neighbourhood Plans successfully passing referendum. To  make it easier to navigate this post, the location of the areas covered by each new Neighbourhood Plan are shown on the interactive map. Click on a marker to reveal a link to the plan's su…

Secretary of State overturns Planning Inspector's decision due to density concerns

Normally, planning appeals are determined by Planning Inspectors, but in some circumstances appeals may be 'recovered' for determination by the Secretary of State (SoS). The current SoS for Housing, Communities and Local Government is James Brokenshire MP.

In December 2018, the SoS issued a decision on a recovered appeal at Woburn Sands, Buckinghamshire. The proposal for residential development of up to 203 dwellings, a doctor’s surgery, open space and landscaping, together with pedestrian, cycle and vehicular access, was initially refused by Milton Keynes Council, and following appeal, granted permission by a Planning Inspector. However, the SoS recovered the appeal and overturned the Inspector's decision, dismissing the appeal.

Details of the case are available on the Planning Inspectorate's website, using case reference: APP/Y0435/W/17/3169314.
Appeal site & Neighbourhood Plan The appeal site is a 15.2 hectare, greenfield site, located outside the development bo…

Just how big is an infill site? Appeal decision: Chinnor, Oxfordshire

An appeal decision initially caught my eye due to its surprising interpretation of 'infill development' -  but also raises some concerning issues around how Neighbourhood Plan policies are applied during the decision-making process.

The appeal relates to an application for the construction of up to 140 dwellings, new public open space, associated landscaping and site infrastructure on a 3.9ha site at Chinnor, Oxfordshire. The application was made by Persimmon Homes and initially refused by South Oxfordshire District Council. The appeal was allowed, meaning the Planning Inspector went against the district council's decision grant planning permission for the scheme. Details of the appeal can be found using the following reference APP/Q3115/W/17/3187058. Neighbourhood Plan & Development Plan Chinnor is a large village in Oxfordshire. The Chinnor Neighbourhood Plan (CNP) was 'made' in October 2017. When the appeal commenced, the Neighbourhood Plan was less than one…

Appeal granted in countryside despite Five Year Land Supply - Shinfield Neighbourhood Plan

Through a recent appeal decision, a Planning Inspector has granted outline planning permission for up to 55 dwellings and 'Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace' (SANG) at land at Parklands, east of Basingstoke Road, Spencers Wood, Wokingham.

The decision was issued on 28th February 2019, under appeal reference APP/X0360/W/18/3204133.

The appeal site is located between two villages, Three Mile Cross and Spencers Wood. The scheme proposes two areas of development adjoining each of the villages, separated by an area of open space - a 'SANG'.
Shinfield Neighbourhood Plan The Shinfield Neighbourhood Plan (SNP) was made in February 2017. Policy 1 of the SNP addresses the location of development:

In Shinfield Parish, development within the Development Limits..., will be supported; development adjacent to the Development Limits will only be supported where the benefits of the development outweigh its adverse impacts. 

'Development limits' are a very common planning …

Essential reading for Neighbourhood Planners

Through my site neighbourhood-planning.co.uk I have attempted to explain the neighbourhood planning process, and provide regular blog posts on the latest issues affecting neighbourhood planning. But where can you go to find out more?

In this article I attempt to summarise where you should go for the most useful information and guidance, and where you can find funding and support for writing a Neighbourhood Plan.
Locality Toolkits and Guidance Locality administer the government's current programme of support for neighbourhood planning groups, and Locality's neighbourhoodplanning.org site should be your first port of call when writing a Neighbourhood Plan.
Locality has produced an excellent series of 'toolkits & guidance' on a range of issues to assist the preparation of neighbourhood plans. It is difficult to understate how valuable Locality's guides are for budding neighbourhood planners. Be sure you don't miss: The Neighbourhood Plans Roadmap 2018 by Dave …

Neighbourhood Plan Review: Plans Made in September 2019

This post explores Neighbourhood Plans which successfully passed referendum in September 2019, highlighting elements which make each plan locally specific and unique. The following Neighbourhood Plans passed referendum in September 2019:
Bawtry Neighbourhood Plan (Doncaster Council)Brackenfield Neighbourhood Plan (North East Derbyshire District Council)Chelford Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire East Council)Congresbury Neighbourhood Plan (North Somerset Council)Glentworth Neighbourhood Plan (West Lindsey District Council)Hanslope Neighbourhood Plan (Milton Keynes Council)Hullavington Neighbourhood Plan (Wiltshire Council)Huntingdon Neighbourhood Plan (Huntingdonshire District Council)Misterton Neighbourhood Plan (Bassetlaw District Council)Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Lavers Neighbourhood Plan (Epping Forest District Council)Sedgefield Neighbourhood Plan (Durham County Council)Sedgeford Neighbourhood Plan (Kings Lynn & West Norfolk District Council)Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan (Sidmo…

Appeal rejected due to loss of open space: East Langton Neighbourhood Plan

A recent appeal for 5 dwellings has been rejected by a Planning Inspector, in part, due to conflict with a Neighbourhood Plan - despite a Local Green Space designation having been removed during examination.

The development proposal, for the erection of 5 dwellings and children’s play area with associated vehicular access at land rear of the Hanbury Centre, Stonton Road, Church Langton LE16 7SZ, was initially refused outline planning permission by Harborough District Council. The subsequent appeal was dismissed by a Planning Inspector, see appeal reference: APP/F2415/W/18/3212873.

Relevant to this appeal is the East Langton Neighbourhood Plan (ELNP), which was formally made by Harborough District Council in June 2018.
Impact on open space, sport and recreation In assessing the scheme, the Planning Inspector's main concern was that the development would lead to the loss of an open space used for sports and recreation.

The ELNP seeks to retain the appeal site as an open space, indi…