Guide to neighbourhood planning

Community groups and neighbourhood planning

The Localism Act 2011 allows communities to have a say in how their local area is developed through setting up neighbourhood forums and preparing neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development orders.

Neighbourhood forum

A neighbourhood forum is a community group that is legally designated to develop and submit neighbourhood planning in local authority areas without parishes like ours. A neighbourhood forum:

  • promotes social, economic and environmental wellbeing in the area
  • is open to people who live or work in the area, or are elected to represent the area

Prospective neighbourhood forums have to apply to the Council to be designated.

Neighbourhood area

A neighbourhood area is the geographical area that a neighbourhood plan or a neighbourhood development order covers.

A neighbourhood area:

  • must be designated by the Council
  • can’t overlap with another neighbourhood area
  • can only have one neighbourhood plan

Prospective neighbourhood forums have to apply to the Council to designate a neighbourhood area.

Applications to become a neighbourhood area and neighbourhood forums can be made separately or together.

Neighbourhood plan

A neighbourhood plan is drawn up by a neighbourhood forum and needs to align with the Council’s core strategy and the London Plan.

Neighbourhood plans:

  • should encourage positive planning to benefit the local community
  • can’t be used to prevent development or introduce controls to existing planning law and regulations

Neighbourhood plans go through a consultation, examination and referendum process. They’re approved if they receive more than 50 per cent of referendum votes.

Neighbourhood development order

A neighbourhood development order sets out development plans in a neighbourhood area that don’t need planning application.

Neighbourhood development orders go through a consultation, examination and referendum before they’re approved.

Last updated: 23 February 2023