What Is Neighbourhood Planning?
In very simple terms, a Neighbourhood Plan is:
– A document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area – planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications
– Written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority
– A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.
Local people can create a plan that allows them to develop planning policies that reflect the priorities of their area and have real legal weight. The whole community then decides at a referendum vote whether the local authority should bring the plan into force.
– The Government believes that local communities should have genuine opportunities to influence the future of the places where they live.
– Neighbourhood Plans allow communities to say where they think new houses, businesses and shops should go, and what they should look like.
– Local communities can use Neighbourhood Plans to grant planning permission in areas where they most want to see new homes and businesses, making it easier and quicker for development to go ahead.
– The Localism Act (2011) introduces a new right for communities to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan.
A Neighbourhood Plan puts power back in the hands of local residents, employees and business, councils and civic leaders – those who know best the needs of their local areas. The Neighbourhood Plan would:
– Create a vision for future development in Droitwich
– Reflect the views of the community
– Be backed by a robust evidence base
– Be reliant on community consultation
– Be subject to a public referendum
– Will have force of law.
The Droitwich Spa Neighbourhood Plan would support the South Worcestershire Development Plan, see http://www.swdevelopmentplan.org/
Benefits for Droitwich
– Protect Open Space
– Sustainable development e.g. housing developments to have facilities in the area.
– Control over Infrastructure design e.g. appearance of equipment such as telecoms towers should not have an adverse effect on the area.
– Ability to bid for assets of community value e.g. pubs, library, swimming pool.
– Powers to tackle abuse of planning system such as the deliberate concealment of new developments.
– Local Authorities can require developers to pay a levy. Ensures that money raised goes to new infrastructure such as roads and schools.
– The Localism Act requires local authorities to maintain a list of assets of community value which have been nominated by the local community.
– Old planning law failed to give members of the public enough influence over decisions that make a big difference to their lives, resulting in a confrontational and adversarial system where many applications end up being fought over.
– Neighbourhood planning involves and engages the community.
How is it done?
– Local groups examine all aspects of the town under the guidance of the town council. (Droitwich already has a group who have been carrying out this work).
– The group produces a plan in line with national planning policy.
– Local people vote on the Neighbourhood Plan in a referendum. If the plan is approved by a majority the local authority will bring it into force.