The Localism Act has empowered communities to shape the development and growth of their local area through Neighbourhood Planning, and essentially consists of three elements:
- Neighbourhood Development Plans - Communities can write a plan which, if passed, becomes part of the statutory planning framework for the area
- Neighbourhood Development Orders - Communities can agree to approve a particular development of type of development without the need for planning permission
- Community Right to Build - Communities will be able to develop land subject to doing the work and passing examination and referendum (via a Neighbourhood Development Order)
The Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012 set out the procedures for Neighbourhood Planning and Community Right to Build.
Communities that are interested in Neighbourhood Planning are advised to review the information from the Planning Advisory Service
There is also information available on the Department of Communities and Local Government website that will be helpful to communities considering their response to Neighbourhood Planning:
- An introduction to neighbourhood planning
- Giving communities more power in planning local development
The District Council has welcomed the principles of neighbourhood planning since the initiative will ensure that communities are better able to help shape and deliver new development in their areas.
However, given that there are potentially significant resource implications for the authority, and the District Council has set its priority as the adoption of the Derbyshire Dales Core Strategy, and as such will need to review the resources it could dedicate to supporting the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.
The preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan is not compulsory, and it is the responsibility of the Parish Council to take the lead in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Development Plan.
Any Neighbourhood Development Plan must be in general conformity with National Policy, as articulated in the National Planning Policy Framework, and the existing development plan for the area as prepared by the local planning authority.
The role of the local planning authority is to provide 'technical advice and support' to communities preparing Neighbourhood Plans. This may include making evidence available as well as undertaking the procedural check of the plan against the legislation and regulations.
This will also include undertaking a 'screening' to establish if the Neighbourhood Plan requires a Strategic Environmental Assessment, you can find out more here.
A Neighbourhood Development Plan must be subject to an Independent Examination, which at this time, has to be funded by the local planning authority. Furthermore, once the Independent Examination has been completed, the Plan must be subject to a local referendum - the costs of which are to be borne by the local planning authority.
Any communities considering Neighbourhood Planning once they have reviewed the information available should contact the District Council's Planning Policy Manager in the first instance.