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Write Your Neighbourhood Plan

Write your neighbourhood plan (PA Copyright)What is it?

If you’re tired of having new planning developments imposed on your area whether local people want them or not, you will now have the chance to do something about it.

We are introducing new rights for communities to decide on the future of their area by drawing up “neighbourhood development plans,” giving local people a say over where new houses, businesses and shops could go.

Communities will also be able to grant planning permission in full or in outline, to make it easier and quicker for shops and businesses to be built in areas where people want them.

How can I get involved?

Neighbourhood planning is part of the Localism Bill, which is currently going through Parliament. We expect neighbourhood planning to be available across England and Wales some time in 2012.

The Government has already announced 126 frontrunner areas which will be the first to test this new right. Find out if your community is one of them on the  Department for Communities and Local Government website.

To make a neighbourhood plan you will need to be part of either a town and parish council or, in areas without a parish council, a designated “neighbourhood forum”.

Each neighbourhood can only have one forum – the local council will agree which group should be the neighbourhood forum in your area. We expect that many new and existing residents’ organisations, business and community groups will put themselves forward as forums.

Local planning authorities will have to provide advice and support to neighbourhoods as they draw up their plans. The plan drawn up by your neighbourhood will need to be in line with national planning policy, with the overall planning vision set for the wider area by the local authority, and with legal requirements.

If it meets all of these conditions and passes an independent check, local people will be able to vote on it in a referendum. Provided the plan gets more than 50% of the votes, the local authority will bring it into force.

Where can I find out more?