Neighbourhood Plan as part of the Local Plan

Planning law requires that planning applications are decided in accordance with the local plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. An emerging neighbourhood plan may be considered as a material consideration; this can depend on the stage the plan has reached and the level of consultation undertaken.

Neighbourhood planning is about shaping the development of a local area in a positive manner. It is not a tool to stop new development proposals from happening and should reflect local and national policies. Neighbourhood plans and orders should not promote less development than set out in the local plan or undermine its strategic policies.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes explicit reference to the opportunity for neighbourhood plans to promote more development than is set out in the local plan. A Neighbourhood Plan will be subject to examination and referendum and then form part of the Local Development Plan. This statutory status gives Neighbourhood Plans far more weight than some other local planning documents, such as parish plans, community plans and village design statements.

Local plans and neighbourhood plans may allocate sites for different kinds of development. Normally, local plans would make allocations for larger, more strategic sites. There should be a high level of cooperative working between local planning bodies and neighbourhood plan groups, to ensure that site allocations in both plans complement each other to create a coherent growth strategy for the area.

A neighbourhood plan may make its own site allocations. Neighbourhood Plan policies may help to shape development on sites allocated in the Local Plan, for example by putting in place policies on things like design or housing mix. However, there could be difficulties in achieving general conformity with strategic local policies if a neighbourhood plan’s policies restricted development to a degree that undermined a strategic site allocation in a local plan. A neighbourhood plan may allocate more growth or sites than set out in a Local Plan. Neighbourhood planning groups may decide to do this once the strategic growth of an area has been considered.

Further information can be found here:
https://mycommunity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Neighbourhood-Plans-General-Conformity-Final-Version.pdf