Neighbourhood Plans - General Information

Under the Localism Act which came in to force in November 2011, a new tier of planning was created referred to as Neighbourhood Plans. The Government has produced detailed guidance as to how Neighbourhood Plans should be prepared and how to hold a local referendum. Further information can be found on the following websites:

Neighbourhood Plans are about allocating land for development. They are intended to set out where new houses, businesses, shops and community facilities should go in the local area and will allocate smaller sites for development. They may also include more detailed planning policies such as how new development should look.

Neighbourhood Planning Process

The Government's regulations formally set out the key stages to be followed and who can produce one. At present Parish Councils can undertake the process and in non-parished areas a designated Neighbourhood Forum consisting of residents, businesses and other community interests can take the lead.

All Neighbourhood Plans must be produced in line with national planning policy guidance and locally produced planning policies (Winchester Local Plan 2006 and the emerging Winchester District Local Plan Part 1) and other relevant legislation.

The process will include a number of stages including community engagement and consultation on the draft document. Given that a Neighbourhood Plan once adopted will be used to determine planning applications the Plan must also be subject to an examination and a community referendum, where at least 51% of those voting must agree to it, before it can be adopted.

Is a Neighbourhood Plan the right plan for our community?

Communities will need to decide what is the most appropriate plan for their community, and this will depend on what you want to achieve. Other options include Village Design Statements and Parish Plans. More information on these alternative plans can be found by clicking on the appropriate weblinks above; Council Officers will also be able to help advise you.

What if we decide not to do a Neighbourhood Plan?

Once the Council's Local Plan Part 1 is adopted (early 2013), the Council will commence preparing Local Plan Part 2 (due to be adopted 2015). This will identify smaller sites for development in accordance with the adopted strategies set out in Part 1 and set out more detailed planning policies.

The Council will be talking to Parish Councils through this process and will carry out a full consultation on the Local Plan Part 2. You may decide that the Local Plan Part 2 addresses the local issues satisfactorily, in which case a separate Neighbourhood Plan may not be necessary.

How much will it cost to do a Neighbourhood Plan and who pays?

There is not a lot of information or clarity on this yet. Initial estimates range between £15,000 to £50,000, although the Golvernment has confirmed that the Referendum and Examination will be the responsibility of the Local Planning Authority.  Costs could be greater if technical studies are needed to justify the approach being taken (cost of professional fees). These costs will need to be borne by the community as Winchester City Council has not been given any additional funding for Neighbourhood Plans.

Where can I find more information?

Parishes within Winchester District, outside the South Downs National Park should contact the LDF team in the first instance ldf@winchester.gov.uk or the Council's Community Planning Manager slincoln@winchester.gov.uk

Parishes within Winchester District that fall within the South Downs National Park (and for parishes that cross the boundary, if your main settlement falls within the National Park) should contact the South Downs National Park Neighbourhood Plans Officer at neighbourhood@southdowns.gov.uk.

You can download a copy of the presentation on Neighbourhood Planning given by Winchester City Council to Parish Councils on the 29/02/12 at the bottom of this page.