What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

How is it different from other Plans?

  • It is the local plan about the use and development of Land and Buildings in the area
  • It provides an opportunity for the local population to specify its growth and development plans for the next 15 to 25 years 
  • Its preparation is entirely community led 
  • Once it has been approved, it sits alongside the District Plan and the District Council has a statutory duty to take account of it in its decision making 
  • This will be the first time that very local views will carry statutory weight in the planning process

However, a Neighbourhood Plan cannot:

  • Block all development
  • Be inconsistent with the Government’s National Planning Framework (NPPF)
  • Propose less growth than specified in the District Plan 
  • Be prepared without input or support from the local communities
  • Deal with Suffolk County Council matters such as Minerals, Waste or major Infrastructure

Benefits to the community

  • An opportunity to produce a local vision for the community which once independently examined and through a successful referendum, becomes part of the adopted planning policy framework
  • Greater control of the spatial development of the communities through local policies including where development occurs, the type/style of development and materials used
  • Community engagement and direct involvement in plans for the community
  • Once Neighbourhood Plan has been approved, 25% of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) receipts from development in the parish goes directly to the parish to spend on supporting growth

Potential Disbenefits

  • There will be some cost to the Parish, though expense can be mitigated through grant support
  • To succeed the community must make a significant time commitment over a period typically 18-24 months.

Risks in developing a Neighbourhood Plan

  • It is possible that a proposed Neighbourhood Plan could fail at the “examination” or public referendum stages - this risk can be mitigated through full engagement of  the communities in setting out a collectively agreed view of what people want.

Risks in not having a Neighbourhood Plan

Communities that do not have a Neighbourhood Plan can be seriously disadvantaged.

  • Development can much more easily be imposed from above on those communities that do not have a Neighbourhood Plan
  • Local people will have limited say and influence on where development takes place, on how much development (i.e. number of houses) is brought forward
  • Communities will be less able to inform speculative applications from developers looking for sites to bring forward sustainable development

Examples of matters that a Neighbourhood Plan can address
(not an exclusive list)

  • New housing
         Types
         Designs
         Sizes
         Density
         Affordable Housing
  • Business premises
  • Community premises
         Village halls
         Schools
         Churches
         Health
         Leisure
         Entertainment
         Nurseries, youth centres, play areas
  • Protecting the Heritage
         Listed buildings
         Conservation areas
         “Special Landscape” areas
         Archaeological sites
  • Transport and access
         Roads
         Public Transport
         Cycling
         Walking
         Disabled access
  • Environmental aspects
         Flood risk
         Coastal protection
  • Renewable Energy
         Solar, wind, wave
  • Amenity land
  • Protection of the landscape, open
    spaces and agriculture
  • Nature reserves
  • Sporting facilities