by Ed Dade

Planning applications are generally determined in accordance with the Development Plan for the local area. This includes the Local Plan and any Neighbourhood Plans.

The policies you write are, therefore, powerful tools which can decide where development can be located, and what the development should be like. These will often have financial and environmental implications.

National policy states that all policies should be underpinned by relevant and up-to-date evidence. This includes policies in Neighbourhood Plans.

Sources of evidence

Most of the evidence you need for your Neighbourhood Plan will already be available in the public domain.

You may find the following sources of existing evidence useful:

  • National planning policy framework (NPPF) and planning practice guidance (PPG) - the NPPF sets out the government's planning policies for England, and the PPG explains how they should be applied.
  • The Local Plan and supporting evidence base - the Local Plan includes lots of information about the area and sets out strategic and non-strategic policies which will shape your plan. In addition, the Local Plan is accompanied by numerous studies and reports which you can use to inform your policies.
  • National statistics published by government departments and bodies, for example, census data from the Office for National Statistics, or house price data from HM Land Registry
  • Local statistics for county or districts are usually maintained by County Councils and published on local data observatories
  • Details of planning applications and planning decisions
  • Any studies previously commissioned by the Parish Council, for example, traffic surveys

Where there are no existing sources of evidence, you may need to undertake your own research to inform your policies. For example, a really good design policy would be informed by some analysis of local buildings, streets and landscape.

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