Neighbourhood planning was introduced in the Localism Act
2011. It is an important and powerful tool that gives communities statutory
powers to shape how their communities develop.
Torridge District Council addresses the Neighbourhood Plans in its Local Plan 2031. Section 9 of the TDC Local Plan 2031 is copied below for ease of access.
9.1 The Localism Act 2011 reformed the planning system to give people new rights to shape the development of the communities in which they live. A new type of community-led planning initiative known as a Neighbourhood Plan will set out policies on the development and use of land in a parish or ‘neighbourhood area’. Once adopted, Neighbourhood Plans will become part of the planning policy, alongside this Local Plan, against which planning applications will be assessed.
9.2 Communities can use neighbourhood planning to influence the type, design and location of new development by shaping it rather than blocking the building of new homes and businesses. It can be prepared by a Parish Council or an approved Neighbourhood Forum and may propose more development but not less. Neighbourhood Plans must have regard to national planning policy and be in general conformity with strategic policies in Part One of this Local Plan.
9.3 The Localism Act introduced new rights and powers to allow local communities to shape new development by coming together to prepare neighbourhood plans. The Councils recognise that some communities wish to have a greater say in where development is located and the type of development built, and may wish for additional development to help deliver a new facility. Neighbourhood Plans provide a means to achieve this. Where Parish Councils have undertaken a Parish Plan, it can be used to inform preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.
9.4 Neighbourhood planning can be taken forward by town and parish councils or by neighbourhood fora. Neighbourhood fora are community groups that are designated to take forward neighbourhood planning in areas without parishes. The role of the Local Planning Authority is to determine who should be the neighbourhood forum for the neighbourhood area; this will be determined in consultation with the local community.
9.5 Neighbourhood fora and parish councils can use new neighbourhood planning powers to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood. These are described legally as 'Neighbourhood Development Plans.' In an important change to the planning system communities can use neighbourhood planning to permit development without the need for planning applications. These are called 'Neighbourhood Development Orders.'
9.6 The Councils support and encourage town and parish councils and neighbourhood fora to produce Neighbourhood Plans for their parishes and/or neighbourhoods. Further guidance will be provided by the Councils to assist parishes and neighbourhood fora to prepare Neighbourhood Plans.