What is it?
‘Neighbourhood planning’ forms part of the localism act. It gives communities the power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and influence local planning policy to shape future development and growth in the places where they live and work.
Communities are able to develop their ideas and engage with their neighbourhood through consultation, and if their ideas are approved at a community referendum, the neighbourhood plan will come into force. Communities can access funding and practical support to help them get started.
It is important to note that many of the powers or resources listed in the rest of the Housing section can be used in conjunction with and as part of a neighbourhood plan.
Who’s doing it?
Thame: Using a local plan to stop unwanted developments
Residents in Thame, Oxfordshire, were the first community to get together to develop a neighbourhood plan. With help and support from Thame town council and South Oxfordshire district council, residents of Thame were able to devise a spatial strategy that reflects their vision for growth in Thame.
The plan provides for nearly 800 dwellings over the plan period, along with new employment, retail, community facilities, improved connections, and better open spaces.
The plan provides deliverable allocations from the community’s point of view, demonstrating a community-led solution to growth. The strength of the commitment to the Thame neighbourhood plan has been tested in recent years, the most notable being a planning application from Tesco to build an out-of-town supermarket and petrol station.
The out-of-town location of the proposed supermarket was in direct contradiction of core policies in the Thame neighbourhood plan, including policy WS1 which states that new retail development should be located in the town centre.
The neighbourhood plan was cited as a chief reason for refusing planning permission and has protected Thame from a likely loss of footfall from their town centre and united the community in the process.
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