A step by step guide to producing a Neighbourhood Plan

Types of Neighbourhood Planning

Once an area has been designated the Parish Council can lead neighbourhood planning. There are two possible mechanisms it can use. One is a Neighbourhood Plan and the other is a Neighbourhood Development Order.

Neighbourhood Plan (NP):

Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is a policy document which sets out rules about how local development will take place. It can be focused on a small number of issues of particular concern to local people. Alternatively it can provide policies and proposals across all the planning and development issues in your area. Local people decide what they want to have included in it. There can only be one plan in any designated area.

When the preparation process is completed the Plan will form part of the Statutory Development Plan for the District, alongside the District Local Plan and National Planning Policy. Eden Council uses this framework to guide its decisions on the planning applications it receives. It is also used by Planning Inspectors and the Secretary of State if there is an appeal against a decision by Eden Council.

Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDO):

Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDO) grant permission for a development to take place. Where they exist there is no need for a further planning application for the same development to be submitted to Eden Council. They can be for a single development or can allow a type or class of development to take place across the whole of the designated area. Effectively they are the same as granting planning permission. Conditions can be applied to these permissions. You may have more than one NDO in a designated area.

Community Right to Build Orders (site specific)

Community Right to Build Orders (site specific) are a type of NDO made by a community organisation that permits the development of a specific site for community purposes without the need to apply for planning permission.

The process for preparing both Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders is the same and outlined below.

A Step by Step Guide to producing a Neighbourhood Plan/Order

Step one - Making a neighbourhood area application

  • The group sets out the proposed area and an explanation for it, and justification for why the group submitting the application wishes to be a qualifying body (see below).
  • We publish the application for 6 weeks and invite comments.
  • We make and publicise our informed decision.

Who can be a qualifying body?

Where an area is parished only Parish Council or Town Council can be designated as a 'Qualifying Body' that has the powers to use the neighbourhood planning powers. If there is no parish or town council then a specially formed forum can be designated with that power.

Step two - Publication of proposals for the plan

The key principle of neighbourhood planning is that proposals are supported by local people. The qualifying body will be expected to demonstrate that local people have had the opportunity to influence the content of the plan. Good local engagement is important. There are also formal specific consultation requirements.

For a minimum of 6 weeks the group (that has previously made a successful area application) has to:

  • Publicise proposals of what's going to be included in the Neighbourhood plan or Order, and bring it to the attention of the majority of those who live, work or operate businesses in the area.
  • Publish contact details for representations to be made.
  • Consult any statutory consultees.
  • Take account of the issues raised through consultation and adjust their plan as appropriate.

Step three - Submission of a draft Plan

The group then submit the following to us, which we will publish for 6 weeks:

  • A map of the area.
  • The draft plan.
  • A statement outlining how the proposal meet the basic conditions (see below).
  • A consultation statement (who was consulted and how; the issues raised and how they were resolved).

Basic conditions of a neighbourhood plan

  • A plan must have appropriate regard to national policy;
  • It must conform to the strategic elements of the Local Plan (PDF: 226 Kb / 2 pages);
  • It must be compatible with EU obligations - for example, a Strategic Environmental Assessment┬ámay need to be carried out if the plan is likely to have significant environmental effects.
  • It must also be compatible with human rights obligations;
  • It should be based on up to date and robust evidence.

Step four - The independent examination

We will check that all the necessary documents have been submitted and the process followed and if satisfied an examiner will be appointed by us (in agreement with the Parish/ Forum). The examiner will look at whether the proposals meet the regulatory requirements (for example: has the consultation been adequate) and whether the basic conditions (detailed above) have been met. A report will be produced.

Step five - The Referendum

We will publish the examiners report and decision on our website, and then hold a referendum which will establish the level of community support for the plan. A simple majority of 51% of the representative community will have to be in favour for the Neighbourhood Plan to be adopted.

Which is the relevant planning authority for our plan?

For neighbourhood plans being prepared in parishes wholly outside of the National Parks, Westmorland and Furness Council is the relevant planning authority. For neighbourhood plans being prepared in parishes wholly within the National Parks, the Lake District National Park Authority or the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are the relevant planning authority. For neighbourhood plans being prepared in parishes within both planning authorities, support will be given by the planning authority where the main centre of the population is.

Last updated: Wednesday, 24 April, 2024.