Neighbourhood Planning

Communities now have new powers to shape development through Neighbourhood Planning, a new right introduced through the Localism Act 2011.

It allows communities to prepare:

  • Neighbourhood Development Plans;
  • Neighbourhood Development Orders; and
  • Community Right to Build Orders.

Who can undertake Neighbourhood Planning?

If there’s a parish or town council, that is the only body that can lead on neighbourhood planning. If there isn’t a parish or town council, then a community group known as a neighbourhood forum needs to be established to lead the process. The Localism Act recognises that not all communities are residential in nature and in non-parished areas that are predominately commercial a business-led neighbourhood forum can be established. An application form for the designation of a neighbourhood forum is available to download below.

The parish or town council, or neighbourhood forum, needs to apply to their local council to have an area designated as a neighbourhood area. This will then become the area where neighbourhood development orders apply.  An application form for the designation of a neighbourhood area is available to download below.

The preparation of a Community Right to Build order is a slightly different process in that it requires the formation of a constituted community group rather than a neighbourhood forum. Parish and town councils can also lead on Community Right to Build Orders.

Neighbourhood Development Plan sets out the policies against which planning applications are assessed. Neighbourhood Development Plans will become part of the development plan for the area, which means that the policies and proposals contained within them will be used in the determination of planning applications, including appeals. A neighbourhood plan should support the strategic development needs set out in the Local Plan and plan positively to support local development.

Neighbourhood Development Order can grant planning permission for specified developments in a neighbourhood area. Once established there would be no need for anyone to apply to the council for planning permission if it is for the type of development covered by the order.

Community Right to Build Order is a type of Neighbourhood Development Order in that it grants planning permission for types of development that communities want to see in their area. As well as housing, this includes other amenities for the benefit of local people such as a community building or playground. 


We offer support to groups that are deciding to prepare a neighbourhood plan. If you would like to discuss your plan, contact us by email ( to book a meeting or to talk with us over the phone.

Neighbourhood Plans in Burnley

Worsthorne with Hurstwood

Worsthorne with Hurstwood Parish Council submitted a formal written notification to Burnley Council stating its intention to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.

On Friday 31st March 2017, the Head of Regeneration and Planning Policy approved the application for the Parish Council area for Worsthorne with Hurstwood to be designated as a Neighbourhood Area for the purposes of Neighbourhood Planning. The Parish Council can now start the formal process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan. Further details can be found on the Worsthorne with Hurstwood Neighbourhood Plan page

Useful Information


All groups undertaking a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order (NDO) are eligible to apply for up to £10,000 in Basic Grant. Grants can be used for a range of activities to support the plan or order-making process.

If your group is facing more complex issues you may be eligible for an Additional Grant of £8,000 (in addition to the £10,000 Basic Grant). This Additional Grant is available to groups if any one of the following is met:

  • Allocating sites for housing in your neighbourhood plan
  • Proposing to include design codes in your neighbourhood plan
  • All groups writing a business led neighbourhood plan
  • All groups preparing a plan for a cluster of three or more parish councils
  • Neighbourhood plans for areas which have a population of over 25,000 people
  • Designated neighbourhood forums
  • Groups based in areas which have a high level of deprivation (where 30% or more of the neighbourhood area or population is in the 20% most deprived areas in England according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation).

If you meet the eligibility criteria above, you can apply for this additional £8,000 giving a maximum total amount of £18,000 to apply for. More information on the grant support available can be found on the Locality neighbourhood planning website.

Neighbourhood Planning Guidance

Simplified and accessible national planning practice guidance is now available through this online resource. It includes a section on neighbourhood planning.

The government intends that the user friendly format will make planning guidance more accessible and will make it easier to keep up to date.

How to set up a neighbourhood forum or designate a neighbourhood area.

Locality have prepared a “road map” guide to assist groups in developing neighbourhood plans, including:

  • Learning about each of the stages and activities required to produce a neighbourhood plan
  • Understanding when and how to designate a neighbourhood area, neighbourhood forum, when to submit your plan to the local planning authority, what is required for examination and referendum
  • Understanding what needs to be done once the plan comes into force.

The guide can be found on the Locality Neighbourhood planning website.