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About neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning and economic growth

The Localism Act aims to put local people and local authorities at the heart of the planning process by reducing ‘top-down’ planning and creating new powers.

As well as growth identified in the council’s development plan, changes to the planning system allow local communities to come together to develop local planning policies and further growth through neighbourhood planning.

Neighbourhood planning in your community

Neighbourhood planning has an important role to play as part of the statutory planning framework for both parished and non-parished areas. It is important to be aware that neighbourhood planning cannot be used to prevent development, neighbourhood plans are pro-growth documents which must have regard to national planning policies in the National Planning Policy Framework and be in general conformity with the local development plan for South Gloucestershire. Preparation and adoption of a neighbourhood plan is an option for communities, but they are not compulsory.

Parish/town councils and neighbourhood forums can prepare neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development orders for their local areas. To ensure these plans are truly led by the community local people vote to approve them in a referendum. If the vote is successful they will form part of South Gloucestershire’s Development Plan.

There are three types of neighbourhood plan:

  • A neighbourhood development plan – establishes a vision and general planning policies for the future development and use of land in your local area. This will form part of South Gloucestershire’s local development plan and will be used to determine all planning applications and development proposals received in the relevant plan area.
  • A neighbourhood development order – allows communities to grant planning permission for certain types of development that they want in their local area.
  • A community right to build order – allows communities to grant planning permission to build small-scale housing developments, community facilities or shops led by the community.

The formal process of preparing a neighbourhood plan is set out in the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012 (as amended) which can be viewed here:

The 2016 changes mean that where a relevant body proposes their neighbourhood area to follow their parish boundary the local authority must designate the neighbourhood area and is no longer required to advertise and consult on it. This was to help speed up the initial stages of plan making.  Information and guidance on neighbourhood planning

A neighbourhood plan is prepared by town and parish councils and local community groups, not the council, although we can provide some guidance and technical assistance.

Council training presentations

Below are a series of presentations from training events that may be useful:

Background information and evidence available from the council

A variety of information (community profiles, flooding information, archaeological data, listed buildings and sites of nature conservation interest) for those preparing a neighbourhood plan is available from the council’s web site. Information can be accessed from the council’s Evidence Base or the Historic Environment Record online.

Guidance and support

The links below offer a range of different support and the council advice that communities explore these pages to help consider whether a neighbourhood plan is right for their community and sets out what support is available. Alternatively, communities may wish to engage through the emerging Joint Spatial Plan and the new South Gloucestershire Local Plan, which will be prepared by the council and could also deliver or set the framework for locally initiated development and planning policies.

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