the March/April edition of UpFront, designed to keep you
informed about all matters connected to neighbourhood planning.
This issue inlcudes comment on the Housing White Paper; a caselaw
update, articles on digital technology in neighbourhood planning and
first impressions from a year examining neighbourhood plans; top tips
on securing high quality green infrastructure in a neighbourhood plan;
and our question of the month looks at what CIL money can be spent
on. As usual, this edition also contains the latest
neighbourhood planning news and resources.
The Housing White Paper,
published on 7th February, presents the Government's long-awaited plans
to address the "broken housing market" and its failure to deliver
the numbers of homes needed to house the nation. In terms of
neighbourhood planning, the content can be read positively in that it
re-emphasise's the Government's commitment in this regard. MyCommunity.org.uk
have put together a useful debrief which draws out the implications of
the White Paper for neighbourhood planning, the key points of which are
- Housing requirement
figure: There are provisions to enable
neighbourhood planning groups to obtain a housing requirement
figure from their local planning authority to help avoid delays in
getting a neighbourhood plan in place.
- Clear design expectations: Amendments to
planning policy to create an expectation that neighbourhood plans
should set out clear design guidelines following consultation with
local communities. The white paper proposes the use of tools such
as design codes that respond to local character to do this.
- Green belt: Changes to
planning policy on the green belt to make clear that development
brought forward under a neighbourhood development order should not
be regarded as inappropriate in the green belt, provided it
preserves openness and does not conflict with the purposes of the
green belt. Allowing neighbourhood plans to determine changes to
green belt boundaries, where a local or strategic plan has
demonstrated the need for green belt boundaries to be amended.
Neighbourhood plans would not be able to change the general extent
of the Green belt, the white paper says.
- Further funding for
neighbourhood planning: A promise to make further funding
available to neighbourhood planning groups from 2018-2020.
Provisions in the
Neighbourhood Planning Bill (which had its third reading in the House
of Lords on 15th March), should help to achieve the aims set
out in the White Paper.
Following the Housing and Planning Act 2016, two Statutory Instruments
laying down regulations and orders for “brownfield registers”
and “permission in principle”,
were published on 23rd March, coming into force in mid-April.
These set out the procedures and requirements for Local Authorities
when complying with the new legal requirement to register 90% of
Brownfield Land suitable for housing by 2020. They also set out the mechanisms
through which sites allocated in the brownfield register (as well sites
in local plans and on individual application) can be granted
“permission in principle” and subsequent “technical details consent”
(PiP+TD). Read the full article here.
Update on neighbourhood planning and community right to build
We have just completed year two of the three year
Department for Communities and Local Government-funded support
programme, worth £22.5 million for Neighbourhood Planning and £3.5
million for community buildings.
We have awarded over £7 million in grant funding and over £2.5 million
in technical support to neighbourhood planning groups.
Many groups have seen
the successful completion of their technical support packages with
reports on strategic environmental assessment, health checks prior to
examination, and heritage and character assessment helping them
progress with their plans.
Community groups all around the country continue to show significant
interest in projects to build new community facilities and
community-led housing developments. So far, there have been more than
200 requests for applications for community buildings project support
and pre-feasibility grants, with over £1.2 million awarded.
In February a total of 17 neighbourhood plans were
successful at referendum, including Poole Quays, Uttoxeter and Leiston.
In March 13 plans successfully passed referendum, including Langham,
Holmes Chapel and Leintwardine. Full details of all referendum results
for February and March are available here.
Community Right to Build (CRtB) update
The Community Right to Build Order for Atmos Totnes was
made by South Hams District Council on the 1st of March. This is
following the referendum on the Order which took place in November
2016. The referendum recorded a 86% ‘Yes’ vote for the use of a
Community Right to Build Order on a derelict eight-acre brownfield
site, marking the end of an intensive two-year period of work on the
project known as Atmos Totnes. Read the full case study here. (Image: http://atmostotnes.org/)
planning events coming soon:
Neighbourhood Planning Networking Event: 11am-3pm on Tuesday 18th
April, County Hall, Aykley Heads, Durham DH1 5UF. To book your place
visit the MyCommunity
'Neighbourhood Planning in One City': A Leeds Planning Network
Conference: 10am-3pm on Friday 10th May, The Rose Bowl, Lecture
THeatre 241, Leeds Beckett University, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS1
3HB. To book your place visit the Leeds Beckett University
Details of all forthcoming events can be found here. If
you'd like your event included here please email us
green Infrastructure in a neighbourghood plan
Green spaces contribute to the quality of place and can help acheive
social, economic and environmental benefits in the neighbourhood.
To complement My Community's recently launched Neighbourhood
Planning and Local Green Spaces guide (details of which can be found in
the resources section), we asked Val Porter from Milland Neighbourhood Plan
Group to share her top tips for securing green infrastructure within a
1 Your plan should clearly state why green infrastructure
is important locally. For Milland (a rural parish in West Sussex),
green infrastructure underlies the entire plan. It is the living
heart of the neighbourhood. Related to this, vision is important:
include your thoughts about green infrastructure in your neighbourhood
plan vision statement.
2 Green infrastructure encompasses the
neighbourhood's open spaces, woods, wetlands, meadows, watercourses,
ponds, parklands, gardens, public footpaths and bridleways, and could
be extended to include night skies. Try to Link green spaces as
part of the green infrastructure - this is important to form a living
Read all Val's top tips here.
What top tips could you pass on? Send
us your suggestions for this e-bulletin.
Case law update: The Court of Appeal clears Newick
Neighbourhood Plan in a wide-ranging judgement
Prepared by Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Barrister,
Francis Taylor Building, London
The Queen (on
the application of DLA Delivery Ltd) v Lewes District Council 
EWCA Civ 58, 10 February 2016
This appeal concerned the process by which a Neighbourhood Plan had
been prepared for the parish of Newick in East Sussex (‘NNP’). The
claimant, DLA Delivery Ltd., challenged the decision of Lewes District
Council to allow the NNP to proceed to a referendum. The claim for
judicial review was dismissed by Foskett J. on 31 July 2015. The appeal
proceeded on five grounds and covered many legal issues (only some of
which can be addressed here). The lead judgment was given by Lord
Justice Lindblom, with whom Lord Justice Lewison agreed.
The claimant’s first ground relied on paragraph 8(2) of Schedule 4B of
the 1990 Act, which provides: “(2) A draft order meets the basic
conditions if – … (e) the making of the order is in general
conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development
plan for the area of the authority (or any part of that area)’.
Read the full case note here.
First Impressions: A
year examining Neighbourhood plans
Lee Armitage, Director and Co-founder of Intelligent Plans and
examinations (IPe), discusses the IPe Examiner Team’s first
impressions from a year of examining neighbourhood plans:
We entered neighbourhood planning with a general perception that the
pace was gathering gradually, but we have been astonished at the very
real momentum in the last 12 months. Over 350 plans have completed
examination since 2012, which exceeds the number of up to date adopted
That brings us rather abruptly to the most apparent tension we have
experienced in undertaking examinations. One of the legal tests
(collectively known as the ‘Basic Conditions’) against which
neighbourhood plans are assessed is the requirement that the neighbourhood
plan is in general conformity with the strategic policies in the
adopted local plan for the area. This assumes that all local
authorities will have an up to date local plan in place, which is not
yet the case, albeit good progress is being made.
Read the full article here.
Neighbourhood Planning Local Green Spaces - new
new Neighbourhood Planninng and
Local Green Spaces guide explains why green spaces are
important, how your plan can address them, evidence requirements, how
to make Local Green Space designations and more. (Image source:
FairField Parish Council)
Neighbourhood Plans and Regeneration - new guide
This new guide from
MyCommunity provides neighbourhood planning groups with information and
practical tools to help them address regeneration issues in their
neighbourhood plans. This can involve a wide range of issues, including
regeneration of housing estates, town centres and industrial and
Know My Neighbourhood - new digital tool for
In March we spoke to Steve Messer
from Porism Ltd about
their new digital tool 'Know My Neighbourhood'
and the growing role of digital technologies in neighbourhood planning.
UpFront: What is ‘Know My
Neighbourhood’ (KMN) and how does it work?
KMN is a simple way for neighbourhood planning groups to start building
an evidence base from reliable, official datasets. KMN reworks a host
of official statistics from many sources to match a neighbourhood’s
footprint. It knows the composition of an area and can provide
statistics on population, ethnicity, health and wellbeing, housing
(tenure, dwelling types, housing conditions, etc.), deprivation,
economic activity and much more. We provide a tailored report to
neighbourhood planning groups which they can use to kickstart their
evidence base and help identify the make-up of their area. We’re keen
to expand the datasets available and develop more features based on
what groups need as there is lots of data out there to be used.
UpFront: How did you work with
neighbourhood planning groups in the development of KMN?
It started off a year ago when Highams Park Neighbourhood Forum got in
touch with us in need of data to support their plan. Our project
manager, Nicki Gill, worked closely with them to identify the data they
needed and produced a report. The report is written as a template so it
can easily be applied to other neighbourhood planning groups who have
Read the full interview here.
In our latest
video Harry Burchill, RTPI Policy Officer (England), speaks to
Martin Fitton from Kington Area Neighbourhood
Plan about the positive impact of technical support in the
development of the neighbourhood plan. Kington have received two
technical support packages - housing advice and assessment and
neighbourhood design codes. Details of how to apply for technical
support and eligibility criteria can be found here.
Our other videos can be found here.
Question of the month
Q. What can the neighbourhood funding element of CIL
be spent on?*
Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a planning charge introduced by the
Planning Act 2008 (and brought into force by 2010 Community
Infrastructure Levy Regulations) as a mechanism for local authorities
to provide or improve infrastructure that will support the development
of their area.
In England, where there is a neighbourhood development plan in place,
the neighbourhood is entitled to 25% of CIL revenues from new
development taking place in the plan area (for areas without a
neighbourhood plan, the neighbourhood proportion of CIL is a lower
figure of 15%). This money is paid directly to parish and town
councils. Where there is a neighbourhood forum rather than a
town/parish council, the local authority retains the 25%, but is
required by law to consult with the community on how this money is
Read the full answer here.
* The outcome of DCLG’s review of the Community Infrastructure Levy
(CIL) may affect current arrangements.
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