What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the Localism Act 2011.
They empower communities to shape the development and growth of a local area. Once adopted, they become part of the Development Plan, and contribute to planning application decisions in that area as well as protecting green spaces.
A Neighbourhood Plan cannot block development that is already part of the Local Plan, but it can shape where that development will go and what it will look like.
Village Plans can help a community assess current and future potential issues, think about all aspects of community life in an area, and set out a plan of action.
Despite a Village Plan not having the formal weight of a Neighbourhood Plan and not having any legal influence over development, a Village Plan is evidence of a strong community that has given clear thought to its needs.
Similarities & Differences
The main difference between Village Plans and Neighbourhood Plans is that Neighbourhood Plans concern writing planning policies for the allocation of land and the protection of the environment and local amenity.
A key benefit can be the community infrastructure that may be delivered through development. There is also an added complexity and expense to Neighbourhood Plans due to their statutory requirements. A Neighbourhood Plan becomes a part of the development plan, but it is fundamentally about our village, as is the Village Plan.
How are they similar?
Both help communities to take action for themselves so they can bring about local improvements.
Both can be used to alert policy makers to local issues and gain support for projects.
Both can help our community consider the need for land use development such as new housing or infrastructure.
How are they different?
The Village Plan has no formal statutory weight and cannot be used to create planning policies or grant permission for development.
A Neighbourhood Plan could focus on just one issue or action, whereas the Village Plan encouraged residents to think about the wellbeing and sustainability of our community as a whole.
Due to the statutory weight afforded to a Neighbourhood Plan, its preparation can be more complex, time-consuming and costly than preparing the Village Plan.
Benefits of a Neighbourhood Plan
Being part of the development plan, Neighbourhood Plans carry real legal weight. Planning applications and appeals are assessed against them.
With a Neighbourhood Plan in place, 25% of the revenues from the Community Infrastructure Levy arising from local development will be paid to the Parish Council, to be used on projects that will benefit the community
A Neighbourhood Plan can influence the location and types of development, subject to satisfactory evidence of need
A Neighbourhood Plan can specify design criteria for new buildings
A Neighbourhood Plan can identify necessary infrastructure, subject to satisfactory evidence of need
A Neighbourhood Plan can identify and protect green spaces
A Neighbourhood Plan can provide more detailed policies than the Local Plan, so long as they have general conformity with the Local Plan and national policy.