From:                              Planning Aid England <> on behalf of Planning Aid England <>

Sent:                               12 April 2017 12:57


Subject:                          UpFront: neighbourhood planning news Mar/Apr 2017



Mar/Apr 2017


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Welcome to 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.

Legislation update

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. have put together a useful debrief which draws out the implications of the White Paper for neighbourhood planning, the key points of which are summarised below:

  • 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 arti
cle here.

Update on neighbourhood planning and community right to build support programme 

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.

Referendum news 

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:


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Neighbourhood planning events coming soon:

MyCommunity Neighbourhood Planning Networking Event: 11am-3pm on  Tuesday 18th April, County Hall, Aykley Heads, Durham DH1 5UF. To book your place visit the MyCommunity website.

'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 website. 

Details of all forthcoming events can be found here.  If you'd like your event included here please email us


Top Tips Icon

Top Tips


Securing 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 neighbourhood plan.

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 network.

Read all Val's  top tips here.

What top tips could you pass on? Send us your suggestions for this e-bulletin.


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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 [2017] 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 local plans.  

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 guide

MyCommunity's 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 commercial areas. 

Know My Neighbourhood - new digital tool for neighbourhood planning

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?
Steve:  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?
Steve: 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 similar requirements?

Read the full interview here.

UpFront podcasts 

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.

View the video

Our other videos can be found here.


Question of the month icon

Question of the month


Q. What can the neighbourhood funding element of CIL be spent on?* 

The Community 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 allocated.

Read the full answer here.

* The outcome of DCLG’s review of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) may affect current arrangements.


Let us know what you think

Let us know what you think about Up Front. News items, resources, events, tips and questions are all very welcome.

If this has been forwarded to you, why not subscribe yourself?


Where to go for help

There are a number of websites dedicated to neighbourhood planning including My Community. This has information on neighbourhood planning, including case studies, a range of toolkits covering topics such as writing planning policies and writing a consultation statement, as well as  details of upcoming events.

The Forum for Neighbourhood Planning has a wealth of information and resources including; latest news; case studies; resources; and links to ‘made’ plans. 


This bulletin is produced by Planning Aid England with funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government




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