Neighbourhood Planning - What's Involved

Neighbourhood Planning helps communities proactively plan for their future development needs through the statutory planning process.   It allows communities to develop policies to guide future development and use of land in its neighbourhood, it can include general or site specific policies.

It can help a community to:

  • develop a shared vision for the neighbourhood
  • choose where new homes and other development should be built
  • identify and protect local facilities and green spaces
  • have a say on what new buildings should look like A neighbourhood development plan (neighbourhood plan) must be in general conformity with national planning policies and the strategic policies contained in the local plan.   A neighbourhood plan can  address issues not covered in the local plan or provide additional policy detail to that found in the local plan.  Once a neighbourhood plan is in force, planning decisions for that area will take into account its policies as well as those set out in the current local plan. 

What is a Neighbourhood?

Most often, a parish will constitute a neighbourhood area.  In some cases two or more parishes may choose to prepare a neighbourhood plan together.  

Who is responsible for Neighbourhood Planning?

In a parish, the Town/Parish Council will lead on neighbourhood planning but may delegate to a neighbourhood planning group (NPG) to undertake the work on its behalf.   For parishes with no town/ parish council, such as those with parish meetings, a neighbourhood forum would need to be formed and approved.   

What is the process?

  • The NPG requests the Local Planning Authority (LPA)  to designate a Neighbourhood Area
  • The NPG gathers the views of the community and other stakeholders through a structured, inclusive and documented engagement process to guide the polices, proposals and actions to be included in the Neighbourhood Plan,
  • Evidence is gathered to direct and support the plan, such as housing needs, environmental and land availability assessments  
  • The draft Neighbourhood Plan emerges, it is tested against evidence and is subject to further assessment and consultation until the final draft is agreed.
  • The NPG undertakes a 6 week consultation process with the community and stakeholders
  • The draft plan, consultation statement, environmental assessment and basic conditions statement is submitted to the LPA where it is assessed to see if it complies with statutory requirements or the ‘basic conditions’
  • The LPA conducts a further 6 week formal consultation on the draft plan
  • The plan is subject to independent examination to determine whether it can go forward for referendum unchanged, with modifications or cannot go forward at all.  
  • The plan is tested at referendum and must achieve more than a 50% yes vote to be ‘made’ and put forward for adoption by the LPA
  • The Neighbourhood Plan is adopted by the LPA as part of the local plan.

What Neighbourhood Plans cannot do

Neighbourhood plans cannot block development already agreed through the local plan, or development that has already been granted planning permission.  Neighbourhood Plans cannot consider ‘excluded development’ such as minerals or waste.   

Other Types of Neighbourhood Planning

As well as Neighbourhood Development Plans, communities can also undertake Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders which allow certain types or particular developments to take place without the need for planning permission.

More Information

Locality’s Neighbourhood Planning Road Map Guide is a comprehensive guide to producing a Neighbourhood Plan. It takes you through the process step by step, from first deciding to join with people from your local community to create a Neighbourhood Plan, to submitting the finished article.

You can also find information about neighbourhood planning on the Government website.

If you would like to discuss Neighbourhood Planning on Dartmoor, then please  contact Jo Rumble, the Communities Officer (jrumble@dartmoor.gov.uk) at the Dartmoor National Park Authority,