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Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan

Neighbourhood plans are land use plans usually prepared for an individual town/parish administrative area by the relevant town or parish council. Every neighbourhood plan is different just as every community is different. The decision on whether to undertake a neighbourhood plan will depend on the individual community, the land use planning issues it faces and any long term aspirations. Other types of community led plans are available.

Neighbourhood plans do not operate in isolation, but provide the opportunity to add local policy detail to strategic policies set out in the Local Plan.

How do you create a Neighbourhood Plan?

Step 1: Getting set up and deciding on the neighbourhood area

The parish or town council will need to lead on the neighbourhood plan. They will decide on the neighbourhood area (the area which the neighbourhood plan policies will apply). Adjacent parish or town councils may agree to work in partnership to prepare a joint neighbourhood plan.

Submit an application to designate a Neighbourhood Area

Step 2: Community consultation and evidence

The whole point of a neighbourhood plan is that it is community led. The neighbourhood planning group will need to talk to lots of people locally (residents, businesses, community groups, schools etc) to find out what is important to them about where they live, what they would like to improve and what their vision is for the local area. The neighbourhood planning group will also need to gather evidence to back up the ideas that the community want to see. Using this feedback and evidence, they will begin to write the planning policies that will help to make the vision a reality.

Step 3: Submitting the neighbourhood plan

Once the draft Neighbourhood Plan is complete, it is submitted to the district council who will check that the correct procedures have been followed and that all required documents have been submitted. The district council will then carry out a public consultation and arrange for an independent examiner to check that the plan meets the ‘basic conditions’. If the neighbourhood plan does meet the ‘basic conditions’, the district council will arrange a local referendum so that everyone who lives in the neighbourhood area can decide whether they support it. If more than 50% of voters are in favour of the plan, it will come into force and be used when making decisions on planning applications.

What support is available?

Our Planning Policy and Delivery Team support groups undertaking neighbourhood plans.

Our Communities Team are also able to offer a range of support for non-planning policy elements of your neighbourhood plan such as setting up your working group and connecting you to funding.

There is no funding available from the East Suffolk Council. Funding is available from Locality.