what's a neighbourhood plan?

 

Introduced in 2011 as part of the Localism Act, Neighbourhood Planning gives communities more direct control over the type, location, size, pace and design of developments in their area.  It provides a statutory right for local people and businesses to plan for the future of their area. 

 

Here's a two minute video giving you a quick overview of  What's a Neighbourhood Plan?

 
A Neighbourhood Plan IS:

 

A document that sets out planning policies for a neighbourhood area. Planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications.

 

Written by the local community - the people who know and love an area - rather than the Local Council’s Planning Authority.

 

A way to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.

 

A Neighbourhood Plan IS NOT a way of stopping growth, BUT…

…can help inform, direct and shape local development in a positive manner. Plans may not propose less development than in the local Council’s plan - but can, for example, propose more homes or businesses; or alternative sites; or higher design standards for buildings etc….

 
 
 
What does a Neighbourhood Plan cover?

The map below highlights (in white) the area that our Neighbourhood Plan is intended to cover - Larger Map here

Essentially, neighbourhood planning is about development and land use…..

        ……which can, in fact, cover many important aspects of daily life in our community.

 

 

What does a Neighbourhood Plan look like?

There are three different types of Plans - some can even go so far as to grant permission for certain types of smaller, local development.  Most, however, take the form of Neighbourhood Development Plans - which is currently what we anticipate doing.

 

..set out a vision for an area and provide planning policies for the use and development of land.  Allows us to define in much greater detail the needs and priorities of our specific community.

..grant planning permission for certain types of developments agreed by the neighbourhood. Once in place, there is no need to apply to the local authority for planning permission.

..similar to NDO’s, but smaller scale. Once in place, appropriately constituted community groups can grant planning permission for new buildings they want to see go ahead, without having to apply for local authority permission. 

Why do we need a Neighbourhood Plan?

Creating a Neighbourhood Plan gives us a real say and influence over future development in our area.  We have the opportunity to set out policies to protect the things our community VALUES and to mitigate CONCERNS as much as possible.   Policies, for example, that:

 

address big issues, like the location and scale of new development

 

provide for enhanced local services and infrastructure through development benefits

 

capture and protect what is distinctive about their neighbourhood. 

As a result, we can be more confident that new development will suit our needs.

Who decides on whether the Plan is put into Force?

It is important to understand that neither the Forum leaders, nor its membership alone, have the final say on whether the draft Plan is ultimately approved.   This will be determined by way of an independent Referendum, with everyone who lives, works or runs a business in the area able to vote.

 
 
 

 

In practice, what weight does the Plan really carry?

A neighbourhood plan is an important document with real legal force.  If the Plan receives a ‘Yes’ vote at local referendum and is adopted by the local authority, it will form part of the statutory development plan for Solihull Council.  As such, the policies we set down in the Plan will take precedence over Solihull’s Local Plan in determining planning permission for local (non-strategic) development.

 

Any new planning application will be assessed by Solihull Council against the policies in our Neighbourhood Plan and permission would normally be refused if it does not conform with them.  If an application goes to appeal, our policies will have equal weight with national and district policies.

Source:

The sceptics among us may well ask whether a Plan can really have teeth in practice.  Communities around the country are being ambitious in using this new power in innovative ways  -  read more about what has already been achieved by communities around the country using this new power in innovative ways  Read more

 

A neighbourhood plan is an important document with real legal force.  If the Plan receives a ‘Yes’ vote at local referendum and is adopted by the local authority, it will form part of the statutory development plan for Solihull Council.  As such, the policies we set down in the Plan will take precedence over Solihull’s Local Plan in determining planning permission for local (non-strategic) development.

 
 
What's the process to Create a plan and how long will it take?

As you would expect given the potential impact of the plan, development is required to follow a rigorous process that typically takes around 2-3 years.  Much of this time is taken up in community engagement and consultation.

 

 

What stage are we at now with the Plan?

In July 2015 we applied to Solihull Council for our Neighbourhood Area and Neighbourhood Forum to be officially recognised  (i.e. the top two boxes in the chart above).

 

We had already created three Focus Groups to address what we understood (from resident feedback to date) to be priority topics for discussion.  Emerging areas included affordable housing, commercial development, parking, traffic, infrastructure, learning and community facilities, green belt and maintaining the identity of our villages for the future.  

 

The Neighbourhood Forum received official approval in October 2015.  We then focused on a series of events to try to stimulate discussion and involve the whole community in shaping and developing the plan.  These took place throughout 2016 and included the Open Events, the Residents Survey, Business Survey and the Developer Showcase.

 

Now (Spring 2017) we believe that with the input from the residents and businesses of the KDBH Area we have largely identified the Issues and Aims and are moving on to drafting the Policies which are the key part of the Neighbourhood Plan.   During the first half of 2017 we will develop these Policies into a first draft of the Plan, with ongoing consultation and feedback with members.  (This is working down the central dark purple boxes in the chart above.) 

 

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