Neighbourhood planning information

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. It enables local people to have more say in where new houses, businesses, shops and community facilities should go in their local area and can allocate sites for development.

Neighbourhood planning can take several forms, including Neighbourhood Development Plans, Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Buy Orders. 

  • With a Neighbourhood Plan, communities can establish general planning policies for the development of land in a neighbourhood.
  • With a Neighbourhood Development Order, communities can grant planning permission for new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood Development Orders will allow new homes and offices to be built without the developers having to apply for separate planning permission.
  • A Community Right to Build Order is a special type of Neighbourhood Development Order 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.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

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 key sites for specific kinds of development.

An adopted neighbourhood plan will form part of Waverley's statutory development plan against which all planning applications and development proposals will be decided. It therefore has more weight in planning decisions than, for example, a parish plan or a village design statement.  

Neighbourhood planning cannot be used to prevent the building of the homes and businesses required to meet Waverley's current and future needs (as set out in the Local Plan). The government is clear that a neighbourhood plan 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. If a neighbourhood plan is not produced, Waverley will continue to rely on relevant policies in the adopted Local Plan as well as supplementary planning policy documents (SPD) to decide planning applications. These include documents such as village design statements, the residential extension guidelines SPD or the mix of housing types and density SPD.

Matters to consider before making a decision on producing an neighbourhood plan

  • It is not the borough council’s place to tell you whether to produce a neighbourhood plan – this is a decision for the community to make. 
  • You should weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the different options (e.g. neighbourhood plan, community led plan (parish plan or village design statement), neighbourhood or community right to build order, or none of these.

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.

Producing a Neighbourhood Plan

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 on the issues and options. 
  • After the plan is written and consulted on, it can be submitted to the Local Planning Authority (Waverley Borough Council). 
  • After another round of consultation, the plan is then tested by an independent examiner against a series of ‘basic conditions’. One of these is that the neighbourhood plan is in general conformity to the strategic policies in the Local Plan.  It also has to take account of national policy.
  • If it passes this stage, there will be a referendum on the plan. If more than half of those who vote say ‘yes’, the council will bring the plan into legal force. Where parish or town councils decide to progress their neighbourhood plans prior to the adoption of the new Waverley Local Plan it will be important for the parish/town council and Waverley to be in regular dialogue.

Page owner: Alice Knowles. Last updated: 03/06/2019 15:43

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