Neighbourhood Plans – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A neighbourhood plan is new type of plan, introduced by the Localism Act 2011. Neighbourhood plans are prepared by the local community and can include planning policies and land allocations. The policies must be consistent with national and local planning policies and cannot be used to prevent development.

Who can prepare Neighbourhood Plans?

Neighbourhood plans can only be prepared by either a town or parish council or by a neighbourhood forum.  

What is a Neighbourhood Forum?

A neighbourhood forum is a community group designated to take forward neighbourhood planning in areas without parish or town councils, for example Baldock, Hitchin and Letchworth Garden City.  The membership of a neighbourhood forum is open to people who live, work or have been elected to represent the area concerned.  A prospective neighbourhood forum must apply to the local planning authority to be designated.  Details of how to apply to become a neighbourhood forum can be found in The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

What is a Neighbourhood Area?

A neighbourhood area is the geographical area that a neighbourhood plan covers.  The neighbourhood area must be designated by the local planning authority.  There cannot be more than one neighbourhood plan relating to a neighbourhood area.  Details of how to apply for a neighbourhood area can be found in The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

What influence does a Neighbourhood Plan have?

Following consultation, an examination and a successful referendum, a neighbourhood plan will become part of the statutory development plan and will be used when determining planning applications.

What help is available?

There is further information and guidance available from the following organisations:

My Community Rights

RTPI and Planning Aid (England)

Locality (The Building Community Consortium)