Neighbourhood Plans (NP) were introduced by the Government in 2012 through the Localism Act. Their aim is to give local residents a greater say in development which happens in their area.
The NP is a community-led planning document, overseen by the Town Council, which will have the ability to influence development in Leamington Spa over the next twenty years or so. It is linked to and bound by the constraints of the Warwick District Council Local Plan which, it is hoped, will be adopted by Autumn 2017.
The NP can be used, for example, to:
- Develop a shared vision for the town
- Choose where future development should be built
- Define preference for the mix of housing types in new developments
- Identify and protect important local green spaces
- Promote and develop sustainable transport options
Neighbourhood Plans have a special status in the planning system as they become part of the overall Local Plan for Warwick District Council (WDC) – the planning authority. Decisions on planning applications must be in line with the Local Plan, unless there are very good reasons why not. By having an adopted NP, Leamington Spa would have a legally enforceable way of controlling some aspects of future development. Also, with an adopted NP, we get a greater share of Community Infrastructure Levy monies from developments in the town to spend on community projects.
Are there any restrictions?
- There can only be one NP covering the town and it must last for a reasonable amount of time ie twenty years.
- It must be prepared having regard to national planning policy
- It cannot go counter to policies in the Local Plan and cannot be used to prevent development already agreed
- The plan must be agreed by a referendum of local people
How is it done?
Process started by the Town Council –
NP area designated
Plan prepared by the local community
Examined by WDC planners to ensure it complies with the Local Plan
Examined by an independent examiner who considers how it fits with other planning documents
Local referendum to seek adoption. Simple majority in favour to progress
NP adopted by WDC and becomes part of the Local Plan