Neighbourhood planning explained
The Localism Act (2011) introduced powers for communities to help shape future development in their area. These powers include:
- Neighbourhood development plans: to set out where and how new development should take place, and what it should look like. Neighbourhood development plans can be used to introduce a range of measures including allocating land for housing, designating local green spaces, or promoting local character. They need to display "general conformity" (fit in) with our development plan.
- Neighbourhood development orders: these can be used to grant planning permission for specific types of development in a specific neighbourhood area.
- Community right to build orders: these can be used to grant permission for small-scale, site-specific developments by a community group, for example, a new community hall.
Neighbourhood Development Plan Process
Of the three powers introduced by the Localism Act (2011), neighbourhood development plans are the most commonly used. The process of developing a neighbourhood plan has six main stages:
- Residents apply to be designated as a neighbourhood forum (where the area is not covered by a parish).
- The community applies to designate their area as a neighbourhood area (where the area is covered by a parish, this will be the parish council area).
- The community produces, and consults on, a draft neighbourhood development plan.
- The community submit their draft neighbourhood development plan to us. We then publish the submisson neighbourhood plan for a further consultation, and any responses received at this stage are sent to an independent examiner.
- If the neighbourhood development plan passes independent examination, then the local community votes in a referendum on whether it supports the plan and wants it to be used to help determine applications for development in the local area.
- If the plan receives a majority "yes" vote at referendum, then it will be "made" (adopted) as a part of the development plan and used to inform planning decisions in that neighbourhood area
Funding and resources for communities
The Government has allocated over £23m between 2018 - 2022 to support the development of neighbourhood plans or neighbourhood development orders. This funding programme is administered by Locality, and can consist of:
- A basic grant of up to £9,000;
- Additional grants for eligible groups for an extra £8,000; and
- Technical support through expert partners AECOM and other specialists.
For further information, please see Locality neighbourhood planning (external website)
Our neighbourhood plans
Made (adopted) neighbourhood plans
Once a neighbourhood development plan is "made", it has been adopted by us and forms a part of the development plan for the Wycombe District. This means that they are a material consideration when deciding applications for planning permission within their designated areas.
Neighbourhood plans in progress
Several communities are currently working on developing a neighbourhood plan for their local area.
Neighbourhood planning areas map
The map below shows where designated neighbourhood areas are located within the Wycombe District, the areas they cover, and their current progress with plan-making.
Click on image to view a larger version with legend.
- Locality Neighbourhood Planning (external website): what you need to know about neighbourhood planning and how to get started, including information about possible grants that may be available.
- Community-led planning (external website): information and advice from Community Impact Bucks, including contacts for assistance in carrying out neighbourhood planning.
- Notes on neighbourhood planning (external website): regular bulletins from the neighbourhood planning team at the Department for Communities and Local Government.