The role of the local planning authority in neighbourhood planning
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What role should the local planning authority play in neighbourhood planning?
A local planning authority must:
- take decisions at key stages in the neighbourhood planning process
- provide advice or assistance to a parish council, neighbourhood forum or community organisation that is producing a neighbourhood plan or Order as required by paragraph 3 of Schedule 4B to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).
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How should a local planning authority carry out its neighbourhood planning functions?
A local planning authority should:
- be proactive in providing information to communities about neighbourhood planning
- fulfil its duties and take decisions as soon as possible, and within statutory time periods where these apply
- set out a clear and transparent decision making timetable and share this with those wishing to prepare a neighbourhood plan or an Order
- constructively engage with the community throughout the process.
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Is there a time period within which a local planning authority must take decisions?
Where a local planning authority has the responsibility for the neighbourhood planning process, it should make every effort to conclude each stage promptly. Timely decision taking is important particularly at the start and at the end of the process. Examples might be when taking the decision on whether to designate a neighbourhood forum, and when satisfying itself that a neighbourhood plan or an Order proposal has met the relevant legal tests and should proceed to referendum.
In the case of an application for a neighbourhood area to be designated, regulations prescribe the time period within which a local planning authority must make a decision, further details can be found here.
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Who takes the decisions on neighbourhood planning in a local planning authority?
The Council’s Executive takes the decisions on neighbourhood planning in a local planning authority (where the authority operates executive arrangements). The Executive may be able to delegate others in the authority to discharge these duties. The neighbourhood planning functions may be delegated to a committee or another authority. For further details see the Local Government Act 2000 and the Local Authorities (Functions and Responsibilities) (England) Regulations 2000.