Neighbourhood Plan FAQs
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans were brought in by new legislation in 2011. A Neighbourhood Plan is a plan developed by a community to shape the place they live in. It should focus on planning and land use matters. It contains planning policies specifying the type of development acceptable to the community, and can also contain a Vision and aspirations for the area and its community.
In order to be adopted, a Neighbourhood Plan must pass a referendum. Everyone in the area has a vote and if 50% or more of the votes are in favour of the Plan it will be adopted. Once adopted, then by law all planning applications in the area must be determined an accordance with the policies in the Plan, except where material considerations indicate otherwise. This means the Neighbourhood Plan has the same importance as the Local Plan.
Are there any restrictions on what a Neighbourhood Plan can include?
The policies must relate to development within the Neighbourhood Area. The Neighbourhood Plan must be in general conformity with the Local Plan. It cannot advocate less development than is allocated by the Local Plan, but it can allow for more if the people want.
I have a suggestion for the Neighbourhood Plan, what happens now?
Email your suggestions to email@example.com. We will check if it relates to development within our area and put it to the people, if it gets popular support and we can justify and evidence having a policy about it, it will go into the Plan. If it’s something that can’t be done through the Neighbourhood Plan, we can forward it to the right people who can implement it.
Why did you include X on the survey?
The survey questions are based on what people have asked their City Councillors about or issues that have come up at planning committee on planning applications.
Why didn’t you include X on the survey?
Probably because nobody has brought it to our attention yet. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can look at including it in the Chichester Neighbourhood Plan.
What does the process of making a Neighbourhood plan involve?
The Parish Council must engage with the public to see what development the people want. The Parish gathers evidence to show that the policies developed from people’s suggestions are needed or justified, can be delivered and would not have a significant detrimental impact on the environment. After more consultation, an Independent Examiner must approve the Plan and then a referendum is held where if 50% of the votes are in favour then the Plan is adopted.
How long will it take to make a Neighbourhood Plan?
From inception to adoption it may take around 18-24 months.
What are the benefits of having a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan gives local people the opportunity to influence planning decisions in their area. Having a Neighbourhood Plan means that more money from the Community Infrastructure Levy (which developers pay on new houses and buildings) will go to community infrastructure projects and local needs.
Can the Neighbourhood Plan allocate housing sites?
Yes, we can allocate housing sites. We cannot choose how many new homes to provide, this is set by government, but we can choose where they are built. If we don’t allocate any housing sites, we will still have to deliver our set number of dwellings, but the developers will have more freedom to choose where they go.
Should we allocate housing sites? Why or why not?
The adopted Local Plan is now out of date with respect to housing sites. Its updated replacement, the Local Plan Review, was expected to be consulted on in Spring 2020 but this has been delayed by a year to spring 2021. This means the area hasn’t got the government’s required 5-year housing supply. With no up to date Local Plan and no 5-year supply, we are considered to be an area of significant “housing need”; this means housing applications can only be refused if the harm caused by the proposed development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh its the benefits.
By allocating housing sites in the Neighbourhood Plan we can bring back some balance to decision making, get some local input (not on numbers but on location), and stop developers using the “housing need” argument to put poorly designed housing on undesirable sites.
What’s the process involved in allocating housing sites?
The process would involve a “call for sites”, inviting suggestions from landowners or members of the public as to available land where housing can be built. We then assess each site against criteria such as whether the site is at flood risk, impact on ecology, whether the site is brownfield/greenfield, proximity to the existing settlement, etc, and allocate the best sites on that basis. We can then specify any necessary requirements or restrictions on what that particular site must deliver or how it should be developed (e.g. density, buffer zones, etc).
How can I contact you about Chichester’s Neighbourhood Plan?