About neighbourhood planning

The Localism Act 2011

The 2011 Localism Act introduced a new set of tools for neighbourhoods to come together and shape the future of their local areas.

Go to the Localism Act 2011 on GOV.UK to download a copy of the plain English guide to the Localism Act.

See Localism Act 2011 on the My Community website for Neighbourhood Planning Glossary, Social Value Act: information and resources, Understanding Community Right to Build Orders and Localism policy. 

Neighbourhood Planning

One of these tools is to bring an optional new tier of plan into the planning system - a Neighbourhood Plan. Neighbourhood Planning enables Town and Parish Councils or Neighbourhood Forums to prepare, with the community they represent, a formal planning document for their area. The purpose of this new tier of plan making is to empower local people to take a proactive role in shaping the future of the areas in which they live, and give local people greater ownership of the plans and policies that affect their local area

A second tool is the ability to promote a Neighbourhood Development Order, which allows neighbourhoods to grant permission for certain developments or classes of development to take place in their area. When this is done, there is no need to get planning permission from the District Council.

Read 2010 to 2015 government policy: planning reform Appendix 2: neighbourhood planning on GOV.UK for information on neighbourhood development plans, neighbourhood development orders and Community Right to Build orders.

Read neighbourhood planning on Planning Portal for information on neighbourhood planning, community right to build, community infrastructure levy and new homes bonus scheme.

Read our step by step guide to producing a neighbourhood plan.

Support for Neighbourhood Planning

There are several sources of advice and support for communities who are interested in doing Neighbourhood Planning.

The government has awarded a contract to Locality, in partnership with the Royal Town Planning Institute, Planning Aid England and partners, to deliver a 2-year programme to support communities producing Neighbourhood Development Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders. The programme will offer practical support and grants of up to £8,000 per Neighbourhood Area.

Neighbourhood planning on My Communities website.

We work with ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) to provide support for groups carrying out Neighbourhood Planning.

Read the Neighbourhood Planning Protocol (PDF: 281Kb / 8 pages) for more information on the direct support we can provide.

We also fund a small grant scheme to help the initial stages of engaging in Neighbourhood Planning. You can use this to help decide with your community what you want to do before you are ready to apply to locality for funding. This is managed on our behalf by ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT).

Go to Community led planning on the ACT website to find out about the Eden Neighbourhood Planning Grant and for guidance notes and grant application form.

ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) can also provide initial Neighbourhood Planning information and advice on engaging your community on the issues. For more information contact ACT for details see contact us on ACT website.

Further guidance on Neighbourhood Planning

For national guidance on Neighbourhood Planning, or the wider reforms to the planning system through the Localism Act, we suggest the following:

Last updated: Tuesday, 4 April, 2023.