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How to prepare a neighbourhood plan

Find out the steps you'll need to follow to prepare a neighbourhood plan


Step What the qualifying body (eg, Parish Council, Town Council and neighbourhood forum) needs to do What we'll do
  • consider possibilities of preparing a neighbourhood plan
  • consider setting up a steering group, and neighbourhood forum
We'll support you through this
Designation of the neighbourhood area
  • decide upon the area for the neighbourhood plan
  • apply to us for designation of the neighbourhood area
We'll decide if the area is designated as soon as possible
Development of visions, aims and objectives
  • draft of vision, aims and objectives and consult the wider community
  • collect data (eg, Office for National Statistics (ONS) and local questionnaires)
We'll provide support if required
Development of the plan
  • develop policies
  • draft the plan
  • consult the wider community on your draft plan
  • note; you might want to undertake a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) if you're looking to allocate sites. You can combine this with the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
We'll support you through the process
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) / Habitats Regulations Assessment screening
  • reach a preliminary opinion if a SEA and HRA are required
  • If a SEA is required, we have a guide to support you to prepare this, or a consultant can do that for you. If a HRA is required, you'll have to source consultants to undertake the work. You'll need to submit the SEA/HRA to us
We'll consider your opinion and decide if a SEA/HRA is needed, and also consult the statutory bodies on this. And we'll prepare the SEA/HRA screening report
Pre-submission consultation
  • undertake a six week pre-submission consultation (this should include the SEA/HRA if they're required)
  • adjust the plan depending on the consultation and create a consultation statement
No support required
Revising the pre-submission plan
  • consider making changes based on the comments received in the pre-submission consultation
We can support you through this step if required
Independent health check (optional)
  • following the pre-submission consultation, the plan, supporting documents, and any comments received, can be sent to the examiner for a 'Health Check' (this usually takes 10 days for the check, and three weeks for the report)
  • we use NPIERS to refer your documents to a suitable examiner
  • the cost depends on the scope of the plan, but the day rate is £375 + VAT - if jointly commissioned by us and you, we'll pay two thirds of the cost
We'll arrange the 'Health Check' for you
Revising the draft plan
  • following the 'Health Check' the examiner may recommend further work or refinement of the draft plan
We can support you through this step if required
Submission of the plan
  • submit your plan to us. Please include a map, consultation statement, the plan, and a statement explaining how the plan meets relevant legislation
We'll check the validity of your plan and publish it for a six week consultation
Independent examination
  • an independent examiner will conduct the examination, usually via written representations and site visits. Occasionally, a hearing session, meeting of understanding, or accompanied site visits may be required
We'll consult you on the choice of examiner, and organise and pay for the examiner. We'll receive the examiners report
Decision by Cabinet if plan proceeds to referendum
  • you'll receive a decision on whether the plan will proceed to a referendum, or needs changing
Our cabinet will decide on the plan and make any necessary changes based on the examiner's report
  • you'll receive the results of the referendum
We'll hold and pay for any local referendum. At least 28 days notice are necessary, before the referendum takes place
  • you'll receive information when the plan comes into force, and you'll receive the final plan
We'll publish the plan, implement the plan, and then use it to guide and support planning applications