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About neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act in November 2011. It gives local communities a way to decide the future of the places where they live and work, such as where new houses, businesses, shops and community facilities should go in their local area and sites allocated for development.

Neighbourhood planning can take several forms:

  • With a Neighbourhood Plan, communities can establish general planning policies for the development of land in a neighbourhood.
  • With a Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO), communities can grant planning permission for new buildings they want to see go ahead. NDOs will allow new homes and offices to be built without the developers having to apply for separate planning permission.
  • Community Right to Build Order is a special type of NDO which allows community organisations to bring forward smaller-scale development, such as a housing scheme, on a specific site, without the need for planning permission.

A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. A neighbourhood plan is about the use and development of land and may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, or allocation of sites for specific kinds of development.

An adopted neighbourhood plan is part of Waverley's statutory development plan which is used to determine planning applications. Neighbourhood plans cannot be used to prevent homes and businesses which is required as part of the Local Plan, but they can propose more development than that proposed in the Local Plan.

Neighbourhood planning is optional, not compulsory. There is no requirement for any parish or town council to undertake work on a neighbourhood plan if they don’t want to. Producing a neighbourhood plan will require a range of specialist skills and commitment, time and energy from the community. It will also require financial resources.

There are a number of stages that must be followed when producing a neighbourhood plan.

  • The first step is to agree the area that the plan will cover. In parished areas such as Waverley, the town or parish council is the only body that can propose a plan.
  • The next stage is for the community to build an evidence base and to start to engage the whole community. 
  • The draft neighbourhood plan can then be written, with consultation held with the community. 
  • After the plan is written and consulted on, it can be submitted to Waverley. 
  • After another round of consultation, the plan is then tested by an independent examiner against a series of ‘basic conditions’.
  • If it passes this stage, there will be a referendum on the plan. If more than half of those who vote say ‘yes’, the plan is adopted by Waverley.