The Localism Act 2011 sets out how communities are able to get more involved in planning for their areas – specifically around creating plans and policies to guide new development, and in some cases granting planning permission for certain types of development.
Neighbourhood Planning is a new way for communities to develop a shared vision and decide the future of the places where people live and work. It is a way to promote development, whilst giving local communities greater ownership over plans and policies that affect their area. There are three specific options available:
- A Neighbourhood Development Plan
- A Neighbourhood Development Order
- A Community Right to Build Order
Communities can choose to create either a Development Plan or a Development Order, or both. Neighbourhood Planning is not compulsory for local areas, in some cases it may be more appropriate for communities to use other tools to plan for their local areas.
However, a Neighbourhood Plan or Order cannot be used to stop development; it is a tool to understand what a sustainable and appropriate level of development is for the community and where this growth might be located.
Neighbourhood Planning in Tavistock would be led by the Town Council, but it would allow community groups and other stakeholders affected by the plans to have input as to whether or not the Plan is adopted. Any draft Plans or Orders would be available on this page, when and if produced, to allow for feedback and general comments.
The stages for Neighbourhood Planning are as follows:
- Deciding on the Neighbourhood Plan area
- Preparing the draft Plan or Order in consultation with community groups and other interested parties/stakeholders
- An independent assessment of the draft Plan/Order would be undertaken, if accepted then
- A community referendum/consultation period would be instigated, inviting comments and feedback
- Once all amendments had been made, and all tests passed, then the Plan would be adopted
When designing the Neighbourhood Plan area a map must be produced identifying the land to be used, along with reasons why this area is considered appropriate. Confirmation that the organisation submitting the application is a qualifying body would also be required (i.e. a Parish or Town Council).
This application would be published for a six week period, with comments being invited from those who live, work and/or do business in the area. The application would be assessed by the District or Borough Council and consideration would be given to whether the existing neighbourhood areas should be modified.
The Plan or Order proposal would then be prepared in line with the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations, and a period of consultation with the community would follow. A draft of the Plan or Order would be published inviting key stakeholders and residents to comment. The draft Plan would then be submitted to the Local Planning Authority.
Once a Neighbourhood Plan or Order has been prepared, an independent examiner will check that the Plan conforms to all higher level Planning Policies. A public hearing is likely to be held by the examiner. The examiner can recommend changes or refuse the Plan altogether. An examiner’s report would be available for review on this page, together with the hearing dates.
Once the Plan or Order is approved it proceeds to the referendum stage, during this stage the District or Borough Council will hold a referendum on any Plan or Order that meets legal requirements.
People living in the Neighbourhood area who are registered to vote in local elections will be entitled to vote in the referendum. If the proposals would have a significant impact on the wider area, people from other areas may be allowed to vote too. If more than 50% of people voting support the Plan or Order, then the Local Planning Authority must bring it into force.
Once in force, developers and decision-makers would be obliged by law to take what it says into account when either submitting or considering Planning Applications. The Localism Act places a legal duty on local authorities to help and support Town and Parish Councils in Neighbourhood Planning.
The type and level of support available to communities that wish to create a Neighbourhood Plan or Order, is set out in the South Hams Neighbourhood Planning Protocol and the West Devon Community-Led Planning Protocol.
More information can be found by contacting:
South Hams Strategic Planning Team: Tel: 01803861234, Email: email@example.com
West Devon Strategic Planning Team: Tel: 01822813600, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tavistock Town Council has appointed up to 4 Councillors to support the Neighbourhood Development Plan process.
They are currently: Councillors James Ellis, Pete Squire and Ursula Mann (Chair).
Members: Dr Sharon Gedye, Kit Harbottle, Stuart Honey (Secretary), Richard Martin, Janna Sanders, Sue Spackman and Ian Wright.