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Ideas about how your neighbourhood or community should develop

Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to shape the future of the places where they live and work. Neighbourhood plans have exactly the same legal status as those developed by councils.

Residents are directly able to:

  • decide where new homes, shops and offices will go
  • decide what new buildings look like
  • decide what facilities, services and infrastructure is needed
  • grant planning permission for new buildings through a Neighbourhood Development Order.

Communities which have neighbourhood plans can also receive part of a new levy on development in their area, which can be invested in local facilities. Funding and practical support is available to help you and your neighbours get started.

Here's how

Step 1: decide the area the plan will cover

Your plan might cover the parish boundaries, or just the centre of town, or perhaps include or exclude particular parts of the neighbourhood. The local planning authority will check the boundaries make sense and give approval.

Step 2: develop your ideas

What already exists in your neighbourhood and what's missing? Who lives in your neighbourhood? Is it families, the elderly, young professionals, and what do they want? What sort of housing do they need? What sort of infrastructure and public services will be needed to support your plans? How will your plans attract businesses and create jobs?

Step 3: engage and consult with your local community

A neighbourhood plan needs 50% of local people to say 'yes' in a local vote, so it's crucial your neighbours are on-side. They will also have ideas which will help make your plan stronger. It will then be checked by an independent examiner.

Step 4: community referendum

Your council will organise a referendum so people who are eligible to vote and are affected by the plan have the final say. If it gets approved, it comes into force and will help determine planning applications and decisions in your area.

Community experiences:

  • In Thame, Oxfordshire, residents are protecting the character of their traditional market town while planning for the future, with more housing, a primary school and community centre. Their neighbourhood plan had a big 'yes' vote in the referendum as a result of the strong community involvement which shaped the plan. Nigel Champken-Woods, Thame Mayor said "This is an excellent result and the networks and relationships formed throughout this process will go from strength to strength and the community spirit, which is a significant part of what Thame is, will continue in abundance as the plan is implemented."

  • Alan Warburton, Winsford Town Council: "Neighbourhood planning offers a wonderful and exciting opportunity for local people to help shape the future of our town."

To find out what's happening in South Lakeland visit Neighbourhood Plans.

Community Right to Build

Want to build something your community can be proud of?

A Community Right to Build Order gives communities the ability to build their own housing, shops or community facilities without going through the traditional planning process. It will help communities deliver small scale projects, though it can also be used as part of the neighbourhood planning process so communities not only make the decisions but also take responsibility for building what they want.

Here's how

Step 1: get together with your neighbours

At least ten residents must be part of the scheme and you need to register as a legal body before you can proceed. Locality (our support provider) or the Charity Commission can help with this.

Step 2: come up with your ideas

Work with your neighbours to develop a proposal that the community can get behind. You need to work out which area the proposal will apply to and the local planning authority will need to approve this. Then identify suitable land, ensure you have the funding, and work with all interested parties to secure the right result. Then draft a Community Development Order which shows what you are proposing to build, where it is and how you have arrived at your decision.

Step 3: submit your plans

An independent examiner will then check your proposal to make sure it fits with national policies and other legal tests, for example on conservation or protection of listed buildings.

Step 4: vote in a referendum

Your local authority will then organise a referendum for you. If there is a majority 'yes' vote then you can start getting ready to build.

Community experiences:

  • Slaugham Parish Council, in Mid Sussex, has made two Community Right to Build Orders. They will pave the way for much needed new homes (some of which will be affordable) and a community centre, with the benefits of the development being retained by the community, for the community. The first Order is for 76 new homes, 38 of which are affordable, as well as plots for 'self-build'. The second Order is for a new multi-functional community centre and bowling green. The Orders are an integral part of the Slaugham Parish Neighbourhood Plan.

  • Chris Hinchey, Chair of Slaugham Parish Council's Neighbourhood Plan Committee. The Orders offer the Parish Council the opportunity to make clear the full details of the Plan's flagship proposals with the local community, rather than leave this to later planning applications. These proposals are central to achieving the community's vision for the parish.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will be a new charge on development which will be used to support critical infrastructure to deliver the Core Strategy. Under changes being consulted upon, a proportion of CIL receipts would go directly to Parish and Town Councils to fund local community infrastructure projects.

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