Preparing a neighbourhood plan
Preparing a neighbourhood plan is a significant undertaking as it’s preparation is led by the community.
Below is a summary of the key stages in preparing a neighbourhood plan:
Step 1: Define your Neighbourhood
You will need to form a Neighbourhood Forum and submit a neighbourhood area application to the local planning authority, including the proposed boundary of the neighbourhood area.
The Neighbourhood Forum must have a written constitution, have open membership and comprise a minimum of 21 individuals.
The local authority has the power to amend the boundary of the proposed area if it’s thought necessary.
The local planning authority publicises the applications for six weeks and invites comments.
Step 2: Prepare your Plan
If approved, the Forum starts preparing the plan. They must engage the community, notify statutory consultees and build an evidence base to justify the eventual policies and proposals.
This stage must include a six week consultation period to publicise the proposals and consider responses.
Step 3: An Independent Check of your Plan
A draft plan must then be submitted to the local planning authority, who will formally publicise the proposals for six weeks.
An independent examiner will then be appointed to consider any representations and check it conforms to national and local planning policy. Changes may be recommended.
Step 4: Community referendum
Once satisfied with the plan the local council will organise a referendum. A majority of people voting must support the plan if it is to be adopted by the local planning authority.
Step 5 Legal force
The local planning authority will then bring the plan into force and publicise its decision. The plan will then become part of the formal development plan for the area.
Role of the Council
Neighbourhood planning is led by the community and represents a significant undertaking.
However Harrow Council as the local planning authority is involved and will make decisions at key stages of the process as outlined above such as approving the neighbourhood area within which the Neighbourhood Plan will have effect. It will organise the independent examination of the plan and the community referendum that is held at the end of the process.
The referendum is an important part of the process. It allows those who live in the area to decide whether or not the Neighbourhood Development Plan, the Neighbourhood Development Order, or the Community Right to Build Order comes into effect.
This is direct democracy and outlines the importance of working with the wider community and securing their support at an early stage in the process.
Before undertaking a neighbourhood plan you should consult with the Council’s Regeneration and Planning Division.
For information about planning policy matters and advice on the Harrow self-build register.Address: Civic Centre