The Localism Act introduced a new tier to the planning system, giving local communities greater control over the development of their areas. It will enable a community, be it a group of residents, employees or businesses, to have a say in where new development should go, what it should look like and also the power to grant planning permission.
Neighbourhood planning can cover any one of these three distinct areas:
Neighbourhood Development Plan
- Communities can use a neighbourhood plan to create a vision for their area, establishing general planning policies for the development and use of land. This could be where new homes should be built and what types of materials should be used, or where public open space should be located and how it will be maintained. The plan must conform to the local planning authority's local development framework, and as such cannot be used to reduce the amount or type of development currently planned for.
Neighbourhood Development Order
- Communities will have the power to grant planning permission for certain types of development in their area, such as residential extensions, without the need to seek formal planning permission. As with a Neighbourhood Plan, a Neighbourhood Development Order must meet certain conditions, such as conforming to national policies and strategic local policies. It must also gain a majority vote at a referendum.
Community Right to Build Order
- This is a type of Neighbourhood Development Order which enables a community, such as a community interest company or community land trust to bring forward specific developments within their area. Any benefits which these schemes bring will remain within the community to be used for maintaining or enhancing community facilities.