the May/June edition of UpFront, designed to keep you
informed about all matters connected to neighbourhood planning.
This issue inlcudes: a summary of key points from the Neighbourhood
Planning Act, news of work on industry guidance for neighbourhood plan
examinations, articles looking at creative and innovative neighbourhood
plan policies in St Ives and Leeds, top tips on community engagement in
inner city neighbourhood planning; and our question of the month looks
at securing a high turnout at referendum. As usual, this edition
also contains the latest neighbourhood planning news and
The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 received Royal
Assent on the 27th of April 2017. As well as changes to
rules regarding compulsory purchase and limiting the use of planning
conditions, this is good news for neighbourhood planning groups; most
provisions in the Act are designed to improve the Neighbourhood Plan
(NP) adoption process and the status of the NP in decision making by
the Local Planning Authority (LPA). This includes making the NP part of
the LPA’s development plan immediately following referendum approval,
and not waiting further for its formally being “made” by the LPA’s
Executive. Once made, the Act distinguishes between future minor and
major modifications to plans - making it easier to adapt them.
Seen in the context of other recent amendments, such as the added
protection afforded to areas that have an up-to-date date NP
(which provides positively for housing) from housing applications on
unallocated sites, and a number of commitments to funding neighbourhood
planning and committing local authorities to provide more support for
neighbourhood planning in the recent Housing White Paper, the
Government’s ambition to strengthen the foundations of localism are clearly
being realised. Of course, as planning power afforded to neighbourhood
planning groups increases, so too does challenge and responsibility
that goes with it. The Act itself can be read here.
Update on neighbourhood planning and community right to build
We are now in year three of the Department for
Communities and Local Government-funded support programme, worth £22.5
million for Neighbourhood Planning and £3.5 million for community
We have awarded over £8 million in grant funding and £3.1 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 April the Idmiston Neighbourhood Plan was successful
at referendum. In May no less than 30 plans successfully passed
referendum, including Bookham, Salford Priors and Coleshill. Full
details of all referendum results for April and May are available here.
Neighbourhood planning FAQs
Locality are in the process of putting together some
frequently asked questions around neighbourhood planning and the wider
planning system. We understand it can be a daunting process and
we’d like to offer advice on topics that many groups struggle
with. We’re after your help with this.
Are there any questions that you would like answering? Anything you
know that you think it’s important to share with other groups? If
so please email
NPIERS leading industry guidance for neighbourhood plan
The purpose of the
Neighbourhood Planning Independent Examiner Referral Service (NPIERS)
is to provide communities and Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)
with quick and easy access to independent examiners for neighbourhood
plans, who are fully trained in the process and subject to stringent
performance monitoring. NPIERS also offers clarity around timescales
and costs for neighbourhood plan examinations.
NPIERS recently met with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
Planning, Lord Bourne, who declared that there is a political will for
the neighbourhood examination process to be more transparent for
communities, and procedural guidance is necessary.
NPIERS has formed a working party, chaired by Christopher
Lockhart-Mummery QC, to take this forward. The working party is made up
of examiners, and representatives from the Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Read the full artlce here.
Neighbourhood planning events
'Neighbourhood Planning - here to stay?' RTPI West
Midlands event: Thursday 20th July, Brimingham
Have neighbourhood plans now become fully integrated into the planning
system? What issues and challenges are emerging? Has it improved the
way we plan? This seminar is designed to explore these and other
questions. For further information and to book your place visit the RTPI website.
Details of all forthcoming events can be found here. If
you'd like your event included here please email us
Community engagement in inner
city neighbourhood planning
This month's top tops have been prepared by Abbie Miladinovic, Project
Support Officer at Leeds City Council. The tips are based on the
experiences of a number of inner city neighbourhood planning
groups in Leeds, notably Holbeck - the
first inner city neighbourhood plan to come forward in Leeds and
recently submitted for examination.
In the early stages of the neighbourhood plan process, it is important
to avoid overloading people with technical planning jargon. Framing
engagement in a way that is fun and accessible to all people
(especially those who have never been engaged in planning issues) is
particularly important. The early involvement of local area management
officers (who already have links with local people on other issues)
worked particularly well in Holbeck where they were able to provide
assistance with forum organisation and governance.
Officers from across the Council worked with the local community in
Holbeck and Planning Aid England to organise an initial local event to
set out the benefits that neighbourhood planning can bring to an inner-city community.
The scope of a Neighbourhood plan was also set out but importantly,
encouragement was given to local people to 'try something new' or
different which perhaps challenged established conventions on what a
neighbourhood plan could achieve. This is an important message for all inner-city
Read all Abbie's top tips here.
What top tips could you pass on? Send
us your suggestions for this e-bulletin.
Pushing the boundaries: Lessons from St Ives
Article by Tony
Burton - free range neighbourhood planner, convener of Neighbourhood
Planners.London and an Examiner. Twitter: @Tony4Place
One of the joys of neighbourhood planning is its
flexibility. Qualifying bodies can decide how ambitious they want their
plans to be and how many issues are covered. There is also significant
untapped freedom to push the boundaries of what planning decisions can
influence. The St Ives neighbourhood plan has caught the headlines for
tackling the impact of second homes and holiday lets though its Policy
H2 stating "new
open market housing, excluding replacement dwellings, will only be
supported where there is a restriction to secure its occupancy as a
Principal Residence". The policy has already
stood up at appeal when a decision to retain a planning condition
preventing use of a new dwellings as a second home or holiday let was
The approach has been picked up elsewhere in Cornwall with the St
Minver and Rame Peninsula plans securing support at referendum. A
recent Neighbourhood Planners.London conference also kicked off a
discussion as to the relevance of the approach in parts of the capital
experiencing high levels of absentee landlords.
Read the full article here.
planning in one city
Article by Dr Quintin Bradley,
Senior Lecturer in Planning and Housing, Leeds Beckett University.
With 35 neighbourhood plans underway, the city of Leeds
has seen the biggest community engagement in planning in any city
outside London. In a conference organised by Leeds Beckett University
in May, the first steps were taken in establishing a network of
neighbourhood groups to share experiences and support. The situation in
Leeds is unique because it has a range of groups, spanning rural towns
and villages and inner city communities, with 22 parish areas and 13
forum areas. This diversity in neighbourhood plan areas, and in levels
of affluence or deprivation, is the result of a deliberate strategy by
Leeds City Council to promote neighbourhood planning both as democratic
engagement in land use decisions, and as a direction of community
development. Richard Lewis, the Executive Member for Regeneration,
Transport and Planning said: “Neighbourhood
planning in Leeds is not just about the leafy villages, it’s for the
inner city areas too.” This meant that the Council’s small
neighbourhood planning team has been proactive in providing support,
but has also prioritised that service to help those groups facing the
steepest climb, and many of the inner city forum areas, designated in
2013, are benefiting from the experience of groups at a later stage in
the development of their plan.
Read in full here.
Memorandum of Understanding - new toolkit
This toolkit explains the purpose, content
and use of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between a qualifying
body (QB) for neighbourhood planning and stakeholders critical to the
development of a successful neighbourhood development plan or order. In
particular, a MOU is relevant to the way in which a QB and their Local
Planning Authority (LPA) do business together.
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
commercial areas. The purpose of document is to provide practical
tools to help with the analysis of an area’s regeneration challenges
and to help develop solutions in the form of effective planning
The Good Councillor's Guide to Neighbourhood planning
Locality in association with National Association
of Local Councils (NALC) has published The Good Councillor's guide to
neighbourhood planning. This guide is aimed at
local councillors who are interested in finding out more about their
role in relation to neighbourhood planning or perhaps belong to a
council who are embarking on producing a neighbourhood plan for their
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.
of the month
Q. How can neighbourhood planning groups encourage
high voter turnout at referendum?
This month’s answer
is provided by Will Sparling who has been involved in neighbourhood
planning in Yorkshire and the South East.
The key to this is talking about your plan. Think about your
neighbourhood area and who will be voting on your plan and go and speak
to them. This can be really effective. Try to use plain English when
you do, and always ask planning officers to do the same! One fantastic
example I know of, is where a group took a ‘neighbourhood planning
gazebo’ around their large village and encouraged people to speak to
them whilst they were out and about.
There are a couple of quick wins that could help too. Firstly, set out
the key points of your plan to make people aware of what it is and what
it does. Secondly, ask your town or parish council and local planning
authority to raise awareness of the referendum on the homepage of their
website and through social media. You could even consider your own
social media pages as well as providing articles to traditional media.
One thing of importance to note is that the parish or town council, or
neighbourhood forum, cannot fund or be involved with a campaign for a
yes vote. Funding must come from private individuals or businesses and
there is a legal maximum spend allowed. Speak to the elections team at
your local council if you need help.
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Front. News items, resources, events, tips and questions are all very
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