The plan can be detailed or general, depending what local people want.
Neighbourhood plans allow local people to get the right type of development for their community, but the plans must still meet the needs of the wider area. In most cases this will mean that neighbourhood plans will have to take into account the local council’s assessment of housing and other development needs in the area and the VOWH Local Plan.
Neighbourhood planning will be led by the local parish or town council.
The National Planning Policy Framework (2012) states:
- develop plans that support the strategic development needs set out in Local Plans, including policies for housing and economic development;
- plan positively to support local development, shaping and directing development in their area that is outside the strategic elements of the Local Plan; and
- identify opportunities to use Neighbourhood Development Orders to enable developments that are consistent with their neighbourhood plan to proceed (para. 17).
“Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and deliver the sustainable development they need. Parishes … can use neighbourhood planning to set planning policies through neighbourhood plans to determine decisions on planning applications; and grant planning permission through Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders for specific development which complies with the order (para.183).
Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community. The ambition of the neighbourhood should be aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area. Neighbourhood plans must be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan. To facilitate this, local planning authorities should set out clearly their strategic policies for the area and ensure that an up-to-date Local Plan is in place as quickly as possible. Neighbourhood plans should reflect these policies and neighbourhoods should plan positively to support them. Neighbourhood plans and orders should not promote less development than set out in the Local Plan or undermine its strategic policies (para.184).
Outside these strategic elements, neighbourhood plans will be able to shape and direct sustainable development in their area. Once a neighbourhood plan has demonstrated its general conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan and is brought into force, the policies it contains take precedence over existing non-strategic policies in the Local Plan for that neighbourhood, where they are in conflict. Local planning authorities should avoid duplicating planning processes for non-strategic policies where a neighbourhood plan is in preparation (para.185).
Thame was one of the first communities to get a neighbourhood plan in place. As a front runner, the South Oxfordshire District Council and Thame Town Council have pioneered the process of developing neighbourhood plans. Their experience with the process and with working together provides invaluable advice to help other councils to work effectively on translating community aspirations into plans for the future. - See the Case Study
Community Infrastructure Levy
Parishes with a neighbourhood plan will receive 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy or Section 106 money from any developer arising from developments in their area compared to parishes without a neighbourhood plan who will receive 15%.
Role of the local planning authority
The local planning authority has a duty to support communities making their neighbourhood plan. For example, it will organise the independent examination of the neighbourhood development plan, neighbourhood development order or Community Right to Build order. This is to check that the plan or order meets certain minimum conditions.
The local planning authority is responsible for organising the neighbourhood planning referendum. The referendum ensures that the local community has the final say on whether a neighbourhood development plan, neighbourhood development order or a Community Right to Build order comes into force in their area.