New rights and powers for local people in local communities were introduced as part of the Government’s new approach to planning set out in the ‘Localism Act 2011’ that came into force in April 2012. As part of the Act, Government has empowered local people with the opportunity to influence the future of the places where they live by introducing a new right for communities to draw up a neighbourhood plan.
Neighbourhood Planning allows communities, including residents, employees and business, with the opportunity to come together and say where they think new development (including new homes), should go and what they think future buildings should look like. There are however a number of rules to ensure that the Neighbourhood Plan fits into wider thinking. These are summarised below:
The Plan must generally be in line with local and national planning policies. National guidance is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Local policy is contained with the Ashfield Local Plan.
The Plan should contribute to achieving sustainable development
The Plan must be in line with other laws.
Communities cannot use neighbourhood planning as a tool to block the building of new homes and businesses. They can however influence the type design, location and mix of new development. Providing the above rules are adhered to local people will be able to vote on it in a referendum. If the plan is approved by a majority of those who vote, then the Local Authority will bring it into force.
The Plan provides a vision for the future and sets out clear planning policies to realise this vision.
Image courtesy of Devonshire Rural Community Council