What are Neighbourhood Plans?

Neighbourhood plans were introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and are planning policy documents that are prepared by local communities. They must conform with local plans and national policy and are subject to independent examination. Once passed they must be agreed by the local community via a referendum before they can be adopted; once adopted, a neighbourhood plan becomes part of the Local Plan and will be considered when determining planning applications for that neighbourhood area.

In Purbeck only parish or town councils qualify as bodies able to lead on developing a neighbourhood plan – so in Lytchett Matravers the Parish Council are the driving force behind the plan.

Why have a neighbourhood plan?

Whilst neighbourhood plans are not a legal requirement they do enable communities to play a much stronger role in shaping the areas in which they live and work and in supporting new development proposals, this is because unlike the parish, village or town plans, a neighbourhood plan forms part of the development plan and sits alongside the local plan prepared by the local planning authority. Decisions on planning applications will be made using both the Local Plan and the neighbourhood plan, and any other material considerations.

Find out more

For more information and an overview of the process, visit the Government’s Planning Practice Guidance and Purbeck District Council’s neighbourhood planning guidance.