Unlike Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans are not prepared by the local planning authority. There are two types of body that can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan:
Parish and town councils
in areas where a parish or town
council exists, these are the only bodies who can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan and
where a parish or town council does not exist, only bodies that have made an application to the local planning authority can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. Such a body is known as a Neighbourhood Forum.
In Grovehill, Grovehill Future Forum, with assistance from Dacorum Borugh Council, will prepare a neighbourhood plan in consultation with the whole community.
What is the role of the local planning authority?
The local planning authority, in our case Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) is expected to give assistance and advice on how to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. But DBC cannot control the Neighbourhood Plan preparation process, nor can it produce a Neighbourhood Plan on behalf of a local community.
DBC has to agree and formally designate a ‘Neighbourhood Area’ and ‘Neighbourhood Forum’ if applicable that is to be covered by the Neighbourhood Plan. DBC can provide information and help to gather evidence to inform the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan. It can also help with the consultation process.
DBC will also be required to check the proposed formally submitted ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ to ensure that it meets all the relevant legislation and regulations. Once satisfied they will have to arrange for an independent examination of the Neighbourhood Plan to take place. If the Neighbourhood Plan passes the examination, DBC will be responsible for arranging a local referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan.
What is the relationship between a Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan?
Together, the DBC Core Strategy and the Neighbourhood Plan comprise the development plan for the area covered by the Neighbourhood Plan. A Neighbourhood Plan must conform generally with the policies and proposals of the Core Strategy prepared by DBC.
What can a Neighbourhood Plan contain?
A Neighbourhood Plan must be about the use and development of land and buildings. It can set out how much, what type and where development should take place. It can also have a say in how buildings should look (their ‘design’). It cannot be used to prevent development that DBC has identified as being needed within their Core Strategy.
Typical things that a Neighbourhood Plan might include:
- The development of housing, including affordable housing
- Providing for businesses to set up or expand their premises.
- Transport and access issues (roads, cycling, walking, disabled).
- The development of schools, places of worship, health facilities,
- leisure and entertainment facilities, community and youth
- centres and village halls.
- The restriction of certain types of development and change of use, for example to avoid too much of one type of use.
- The design of buildings.
- Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and the planting of trees.
- Protection of important buildings and historic assets such as archaeological remains.
- Promotion of renewable energy projects, such as solar energy and wind turbines.
What is the ‘Community Right to Build’?
Community Right to Build is a specific type of Neighbourhood Development Order. It allows a local community group to bring forward a small development for one or more purposes, such as new homes, businesses and community facilities, but it must be small scale in comparison to the size of settlement.