What are Neighbourhood Plans?
Neighbourhood Plans are community led local statutory planning policy documents. They may, subject to successful independent examination and endorsement by public referendum, be adopted as planning policy for the local area. The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Localism Act 2011 and Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 are the key statutes which set out the requirements and process for preparing a neighbourhood plan. There is a considerable amount of published plain English guidance available to help with the application of the legislation.
Is a neighbourhood plan right for your community?
A Neighbourhood Plan must be predominantly land-use based eg: dealing with the appropriate use of land: residential, industrial etc. or types and scale of development) whereas documents such as Parish Plans can focus on social issues including things like access to services, increasing participation in sport, litter etc. A Neighbourhood Plan cannot be prepared contrary to national or local planning policy (site allocations, Local Plan etc.), nor can it conflict with European legislation (such as that relating to equalities and ecological impact). It cannot restrict development but it can shape development that has been allocated or otherwise provided through the application of local planning policy.
Who produces it?
The whole process is led, carried out and controlled by a "Qualifying Authority". This will always be a Parish or Town Council within West Somerset. Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan requires a lot of time and effort. It will involve the community in reaching a broad consensus on objectives, key issues and outcomes. There also need to be a number of technical documents submitted with the Neighbourhood Plan such as a Sustainability Appraisal and possibly Habitat Regulations, Flood Risk Assessment if your area requires these.
How much will it cost?
The cost will vary depending on the scope and content of the Neighbourhood Plan. The Government estimates that the costs will be between £17,000 and £63,000. This cost, with the exception of the examination and referendum, is borne by the community producing the neighbourhood plan.
How long will it take to produce a neighbourhood plan?
It will vary depending on the complexity and size of the plan; it has been estimated that the entire process, from inception to adoption, could take 2 years.
Neighbourhood Plans within West Somerset:
So far one Neighbourhood Plan has been completed within West Somerset. Following independent examination and a successful referendum result, the Stogumber Neighbourhood Plan was 'made' by West Somerset Council on the 23rd November 2017 as a result of which it has become part of the statutory Development Plan for that part of Stogumber Parish outside the Exmoor National Park.
Where is further information available?
There are links to further advice and guidance on the right hand side of the page. If you would like to discuss neighbourhood planning please contact the Planning Policy Team on 01643 703704 or via firstname.lastname@example.org .
Last updated 30th April 2018.