What is a Neighbourhood Development Plan?
The Localism Act has reformed the planning system to enable local people more say in determining planning policy for their local area. Producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan will give local people the opportunity to decide the future of the places where they live and work. This will allow the community to set out the vision for an area and the planning policies for the use and development of land, this can include choosing where you want new homes, shops, leisure facilities or employment opportunities to be built and what these buildings should look like, within your parish or Neighbourhood Area. It is important to note that plans should focus on guiding development rather than stopping it.
A Neighbourhood Development Plan will give you an increased ability to influence planning within your area. Plans will, however, need to conform with planning policies and guidance at a local, national and European level and meet the Neighbourhood Planning regulations. This will be tested in an independent examination. The plan will also need to demonstrate involvement of the local community throughout the plan preparation and decision making and it will be subject to a community referendum upon completion.
Once such a plan is made and adopted, it will become a statutory plan carrying equal weight to the Local Plan (Core Strategy) and be part of the Local Development Framework. This will mean that it will be used in making decisions on planning applications by Herefordshire Council in your area.
Who can produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan?
Within Herefordshire, only parish/town councils are able to produce Neighbourhood Development Plans for their area. The parish/town council can enlist help from members of the local community but only the parish council can make a Neighbourhood Area application and submit the relevant draft documents to Herefordshire Council for consideration.
What are the benefits for producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan?
It is not compulsory for parishes to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan, however there are a number of benefits which may help your parish make a decision on whether to prepare one.
Preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan will help you and the local community play a greater role in creating the future of your local area. Neighbourhood planning offers communities the opportunity to establish the requirements for planning within their area. It will bring together local residents, businesses, local groups, landowners and developers to share ideas and build a consensus about what needs to be done within the local community.