Neighbourhood planning gives town and parish councils or newly formed neighbourhood forums the opportunity to prepare, with the community they represent, a planning document for their area.
The purpose of this new tier of plan making is to empower local people to take a proactive role in shaping the future of where they live, and give them greater ownership of the plans and policies that affect where they live.
The first step in the official process of developing a neighbourhood plan is for a community to apply to us to designate a neighbourhood plan area. The local town or parish council should submit to us the following:
- A map which identifies the area to be covered by the neighbourhood plan
- A statement explaining why the boundaries chosen are appropriate
- A statement confirming that they are, as a parish or town council, a "relevant body" entitled to request that we designate their area
Central government amended the neighbourhood planning regulations in 2016 in an effort to minimise unnecessary delays. These changes removed the requirement for us to publicise and carry out six-week consultations on neighbourhood area designations. Decisions on designations are now taken under delegated powers by the Council's Economic Regeneration and Planning portfolio holder
Neighbourhood plans can help to influence the use and development of land in a specific area. They can establish a vision for the area, include general policies for the development and use of land, and bring forward sites for development.
There are a number of conditions that will need to be met:
- Have regard to national policies and advice, such as the National Planning Policy Framework
- Contribute to the achievement of sustainable development
- Be in general conformity with the strategic policies in the development plan for the area (our Core Strategy and our other development plan documents)
- Be compatible with European obligations and human rights requirements
Plans will have to be considered by an independent examiner to ensure that they are legally compliant and consistent with these requirements.
Following the independent examination, a local referendum will be held so that the whole community has the opportunity to vote on whether or not to adopt the plan. A majority vote (more than 50%) of the local community is needed to progress the plan towards adoption by Lancaster City Council.
The Wennington Neighbourhood Plan was formally adopted by Lancaster City Council at a Full Council Committee meeting on the 10th April 2019 and is the first neighbourhood plan to be adopted within the District.
As per Neighbourhood Plan Regulations 2012, this Neighbourhood Plan is now 'made' and should be used when determining future planning applications within the identified Neighbourhood Area.
- Wennington Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 19 (Final) Decision Statement (PDF, 211KB)
- Wennington Neighbourhood Plan (adopted 10 April 2019) (PDF, 3.9MB)
At its meeting on 4 December 2018 Cabinet unanimously approved the Wennington Neighbourhood Plan to proceed to referendum. In accordance with the examiner’s recommendation, the Wennington Neighbourhood Plan will proceed to a public referendum scheduled for Thursday 14th February 2019. Please view the Decision Statement (PDF, 102KB) and relevant documents below.
- Information Statement (PDF, 267KB)(outlines the details of referendum and eligibility to vote)
- Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) 2018-2031 Referendum Plan (PDF, 3.9MB)
- Statement upon General Information relating to Town and Country Planning and the Referendum (PDF, 48KB)
- Neighbourhood Plan Area Map (PDF, 1.2MB)
- Examiner's Final Report (October 2018) (PDF, 622KB)
August to October 2018
Lancaster City Council submitted the plan in August 2018 and all associated comments to an independent planning inspector, Mr Peter Bigger. The inspector completed his Report (PDF, 622KB) 19 October 2018, which provides the findings of the examination into the Wennington Neighbourhood Plan.
Lancaster City Council consulted on the Wennington Neighbourhood Plan for six weeks, from 20 July 2018 to 31 August 2018. Wennington Parish Council has previously consulted on their plan, however, this final consultation was led by the city council, as outlined in Regulation 16 of The Neighbourhood Planning (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2015.
At its meeting on 5 March 2019 Cabinet unanimously approved the Wray Neighbourhood Plan to proceed to referendum. In accordance with the examiner’s recommendation, the Wray Neighbourhood Plan will proceed to a public referendum scheduled for Thursday 30th May 2019. Please view the Decision Statement (PDF, 681KB) and relevant documents below.
- Information Statement (PDF, 969KB)(outlines the details of referendum and eligibility to vote)
- Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) Referendum Plan (PDF, 3.3MB)
- Statement upon General Information relating to Town and Country Planning and the Referendum (PDF, 48KB)
- Neighbourhood Plan Map (PDF, 4.8MB)
- Examiner's Final Report (PDF, 494KB)
Lancaster City Council submitted the plan in August 2018 and all associated comments to an independent planning inspector, Rosemary Kidd (MRTPI), who will determine if the plan meets certain requirements and standards.
The inspector completed her Report (PDF, 469KB)12 December 2018, which provides the findings of the examination into the Wray Neighbourhood Plan. The council will now consider the Inspector's recommendation that the Plan should proceed to Referendum on the basis it meets all legal requirements. More details to follow.
- Examiner’s Questions (PDF, 136KB) 28 September 2018
- Response to Examiners Question 28 September 2018 (PDF, 241KB) 24 October 2018
- Examiner's Questions (PDF, 118KB) 12 November 2018
11 June 2018
Lancaster City Council consulted on the Wray Neighbourhood Plan for six weeks, from 11 June to 23 July 2018. Wray Parish Council has previously consulted on their plan, however, this final consultation was led by the city council, as outlined in Regulation 16 of The Neighbourhood Planning (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2015
- Wray Neighbourhood Plan (Submission Version) (PDF, 1.8MB)
- Basic Conditions Statement (PDF, 1.8MB)
- Consultation Statement (PDF, 111KB)
- Map (PDF, 4.8MB)
- Proposals Maps (PDF, 4.6MB) 31 May 2018
- Schedule of Evidence (PDF, 125KB) (documents viewable via google drive)
- Site Assessment (PDF, 11.6MB) 1 June 2018
- Constraints Maps (PDF, 4.4MB)
- Local Green Spaces (PDF, 5.7MB)
- SEA and HRA (PDF, 158KB)
- Bibliography (PDF, 258KB)
- Glossary of Terms (PDF, 273KB)
- Tabe of Successor Policies in Emerging Local Plan (PDF, 158KB)
- Landscape Appraisal (PDF, 30.7MB) 2017
- Consultation responses (PDF, 2.4MB)
- Wray PC Comments on Regulation 16 Consultation Responses (PDF, 3.3MB)
This interactive map shows all the designated neighbourhood areas in the Lancaster District
What is Neighbourhood Planning?
The Localism Act 2011 introduced Neighbourhood Planning in England.
Neighbourhood planning gives communities more of a say in the development and growth in their local area (within certain limits and parameters). They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be located, what those buildings should look like, what infrastructure should be provided and can grant planning permission for new buildings that the community would like to see go ahead.
Neighbourhood plans have to be subjected to an independent examination and referendum before they can be used and form part of the Lancaster District Local Plan.
What are the benefits of developing a Neighbourhood Plan?
- Enable communities to play a much stronger role in shaping their local area.
- Form part of the formal development plan and sits alongside local plan documents prepared by Lancaster City Council (unlike previous parish, village and town plans).
- Planning application decisions will be made using both the local plan and the neighbourhood plan and any other material considerations.
- Gain 25% of the revenues from the development Community Infrastructure Levy (if in place) which could be used to develop local facilities (if there isn’t a parish/town council, Lancaster City Council would agree with community how to best spend the neighbourhood funding).
Who should lead on a Neighbourhood Plan?
Three types of organisation (known as ‘qualifying bodies’) can lead a neighbourhood plan including parish/town councils, neighbourhood forums or a community organisation.
A parish/town council would lead in a neighbourhood area which contains all (or part) of a parish/town council administrative area.
It is important to work with other members of the community (interested or affected) to encourage them to play an active role in its preparation. The relationship between any group and the formal functions of the town or parish council should be transparent to the wider public.
What should a Neighbourhood Plan address?
A neighbourhood plan should support the strategic development needs set out in the Local Plan and plan positively to support local development in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 16). 2
Neighbourhood plans generally seek to address the development and use of land. However, wider community aspirations than those relating to development (and use of land) can be included in a neighbourhood plan, but actions dealing with non-land-use matters should be clearly identifiable.
If polices and proposals are to be implemented as the community intended, a neighbourhood plan needs to be deliverable. The National Planning Policy Framework requires that the sites (and scale of development) identified in a plan should not be subject to such a scale of obligations and policy burdens that may affect their viability.
Working with Lancaster City Council, a neighbourhood plan can allocate sites for development following an appraisal potential options and an assessment of identified sites against clearly identified criteria. Advice on how to undertake such assessments are set out in the National Planning Practice Guidance.
Consideration may be given to what infrastructure needs to be provided in their neighbourhood area alongside development such as homes, shops or offices. Infrastructure is needed to support development and ensure that a communities can grow in a sustainable way.
How the Community should be Involved in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan?
The preparation of a neighbourhood plan should be inclusive and open, ensuring that the wider community is kept fully informed of what is being proposed, are able to make their views known throughout the process, have opportunities to be actively involve and made aware of how their views have informed the preparation of a neighbourhood plan.
This is a legal requirement at various stages of the neighbourhood plan-making process.
Consultation must take place with all organisations who are considered to be affected by the draft neighbourhood plan. Lists of consultation bodies can be provided by the local planning authority. Other public bodies, landowners and the development industry should be involved in preparation of a neighbourhood plan, this will ensure that the plans prepared delivery sustainable development which benefit the local community whilst avoiding placing unrealistic pressures on the cost and deliverability of that development.
What weight does an emerging Neighbourhood Plan have?
A neighbourhood plan attains the same legal status as the local development plan once it has been agreed at a referendum and is brought into force by Lancaster City Council. At this point it becomes part of the district’s Local Plan.
Planning applications are decided in line with the Local Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise eg an emerging neighbourhood plan. Factors to consider include the stage of plan preparation and the extent to which there are unresolved objections.
The National Planning Policy Framework provides more detail on this (paragraph 216). 3
Can a Neighbourhood Plan come into place before the Local Plan?
A neighbourhood plan (when brought into force by Lancaster City Council) becomes part of the formal development plan for the area, they can be developed before or at the same time as the council is producing its Local Plan.
A draft neighbourhood plan must be in line with emerging Local Plan evidence and policies and the neighbourhood plan lead and Lancaster City Council must agree the relationship between emerging policies.
What are the key actions for preparing a Neighbourhood Plan?
Step 1: Designation of a Neighbourhood Area / Neighbourhood Forum
- A qualifying body (parish / town council, neighbourhood forum or community organisation) submits an application to Lancaster City Council to designate a neighbourhood area.
- Lancaster City Council will consider the application made and consult with key stakeholders if legislation required it to do so
- Lancaster City Council will designate a neighbourhood area.
Step 2: Preparing a Draft Neighbourhood Plan
The qualifying body develops proposals (advised or assisted by Lancaster City Council) including:
- Gathering baseline information and evidence.
- Engage and consult those living and working in the neighbourhood area and those with an interest in or affect by the proposals (i.e. service providers).
- Talk to landowners and the development industry.
- Identify and assess options and determine whether European Directives may apply.
- Start to prepare proposal documents (i.e. basic conditions statement).
Step 3: Pre-Submission Publicity and Consultation
The qualifying body:
- Publicises the draft plan and invites representations.
- Consults the consultation bodies as appropriate.
- Sends a copy of the draft neighbourhood plan to Lancaster City Council.
- Where European Directives apply, comply with relevant publicity / consultation requirements.
- Consider consultation responses and amend the plan if appropriate.
- Prepare a consultation statement and other proposal documents.
Step 4: Submission of a Neighbourhood Plan
- Qualifying body submits the plan to Lancaster City Council.
- Lancaster City Council checks that the submitted proposal complies with all relevant legislation.
If the plan meets the relevant legislation then Lancaster City Council will publicise the proposed plan for a minimum of 6 weeks and invite representations, notify relevant consultation bodies and appoint an independent examiner (with the agreement of the qualifying body).
Step 5: Independent Examination
- Lancaster City Council send the plan and representations to the independent examiner.
- The independent examiner undertakes the examination.
- The independent examiner issues a report to Lancaster City Council and Qualifying Body.
- Lancaster City Council publish the report.
- Lancaster City Council consider the report and reaches their own view on its outcomes.
- Lancaster City Council takes a decision on whether to send the plan to referendum.
Steps 6 & 7: The Referendum and Making the Neighbourhood Plan
- Lancaster City Council publishes an information statement and notice of referendum.
- Polling takes place and results are declared.
- Subject to the results the Lancaster City Council consider the plan in relation to EU obligations.
- If the plan is compatible with EU obligations Lancaster City Council brings the plan into legal force.
What role should Lancaster City Council play in Neighbourhood Planning?
Lancaster City Council must take decisions at the key stages of the neighbourhood planning process and provide advice and assistant to the town / parish council, neighbourhood forum or community organisation that is producing the neighbourhood plan.
The council should be proactive in providing information to communities about neighbourhood planning, fulfil its duties and take decisions as soon as possible, set out clear and transparent decision making timetable and share this with those wishing to prepare a neighbourhood plan and constructively engage with the community throughout the process.
Lancaster City Council are responsible for publicity at various stages and organising and funding an independent examination and referendum.
The council must ensure that a neighbourhood plan submitted for independent examination complies with all the relevant statutory requirements (required to meet a set of basic conditions which can be found in Town and Country Planning Act (paragraph 8(2) schedule 4b).
Detailed Lancaster City Council Neighbourhood Planning Guidance is available on the council’s neighbourhood planning web page. This provides a step by step guide on how to take a neighbourhood plan forward in the Lancaster District.
What other organisations can provide advice and support on neighbourhood planning?
The Department for Communities and Local Government has made funding available to provide support and grants and you can apply now via the My Community website: http://locality.org.uk/projects/building-community/.
A wide range of other support is available and details can be found on the ‘my community rights’ website mycommunityrights.org.uk
Who should I contact about neighbourhood planning?
For further information about neighbourhood planning, please contact the Planning and Housing Policy Team by emailing email@example.com or 01524 582383.
What help can Lancaster City Council provide?
Our Planning Policy team are able to provide guidance on neighbourhood planning and advice about the process. The level of support will depend on the number of enquiries we receive and the available resources. However, we can provide the following help:
- Sharing evidence and information on planning issues
- Helping with public consultation events
- Providing advice on national and local planning policies that the plan or neighbourhood development order will need to accord with
- Providing advice on which organisations you will need to consult
- Organising the independent examination of the Plan
- Organising the community referendum
Town and parish councils are responsible for paying for the preparation of the plan. The district council will pay for the examination and referendum
- Neighbourhood Planning 'Get Started - Step by Step'
- Grant Funding ( via Locality website / external)
- Neighbourhood Planning: A Simple Guide for Ward Councillors (PDF, 457KB)
- Forum for Neighbourhood Planning
- Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulation 2012
- Neighbourhood Planning (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (PDF, 40KB)
One of the main issues with undertaking neighbourhood planning is one of resources. The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has provided funding to four organisations, to provide assistance to those developing neighbourhood plans or orders. These organisations are:
- Locality / My Community
- Royal Town Planning Institute / Planning Aid
- Princes Foundation
- Campaign to Protect Rural England
View our Neighbourhood planning FAQ (PDF, 334KB) for further information on neighbourhood planning.
If you would like to talk to us about any aspect of Neighbourhood Planning please contact the Planning and Housing Policy Team on 01524 582383 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There are also other organisations that offer guidance on Neighbourhood Planning:
Last updated: 16 April 2019