Localism and Neighbourhood Planning

The idea behind localism is that decision-making be passed to a more local level from national and regional level to local government and from local government to local communities.

There are two main parts to Neighbourhood Planning: Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders (including the Community Right to Build).

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led framework for guiding the future development, regeneration and conservation of an area. A neighbourhood plan is about the use and development of land and may contain a vision, aims, planning policies, proposals for improving the area or providing new facilities, or allocation of key sites for specific kinds of development. It may deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues (such as housing, employment, heritage and transport) or it may focus on one or two issues only. These may be issues that are relevant to the whole neighbourhood or just part of the neighbourhood. This is for those producing the plan to decide.

A Neighbourhood Plan will be part of the statutory development plan for the area if successful at referendum. This statutory gives Neighbourhood Plans far more weight than some other local documents, such as parish plans, community plans and village design statements.

A Neighbourhood Plan must comply with European and national legislation and must have appropriate regard to national policy and be in general conformity with existing strategic local planning policy. It should not promote less development than that identified in the development plan for the local area (such as new housing allocations). It can allow greater growth levels. Also, it can specify policies and guidance on how new development should be designed, orientated and located. Neighbourhood Plans can be a powerful tool in shaping the development of a neighbourhood. The timeframe for the Neighbourhood Plan will be for communities to decide.

A robust programme of community engagement and proportionate evidence base should help to make sure that a neighbourhood plan is based on a proper understanding of the local area and of the views, aspirations, wants and needs of local people. Producing a clear project plan with key milestones could be very helpful in guiding the plan-making process.

Once a Neighbourhood Plan has been completed, it will have to be submitted to the Westminster Council as the local authority and then be subject to an independent examination. This will make sure that the proper legal process has been followed and that the plan meets the basic conditions, including general conformity with strategic local policy.

What is a Neighbourhood Development Order?   A Neighbourhood Development Order is a means for neighbourhood forums to grant planning permission for certain kinds of development within a specified area. For example, in conservation areas, a Neighbourhood Development Order could allow missing historical features to be reinstated or could allow things like improvements to shop fronts or extensions to houses or other buildings. This could be for the whole of or just a part of the neighbourhood area. Public Referendum Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders (including Community Right to Build Orders) will be subject to a public referendum. Once plans or orders have been subjected to an independent examination and any necessary modifications made to ensure they meet important legal requirements, it is necessary to gain a more than 50% ‘yes’ vote of those voting in a public referendum in order to bring them into force. As we have been designated a business area, there would be 2 referendums, one for business ratepayers and one for residents. If only one of these groups was to vote ‘yes’ Westminster Council would have the final say on the implementation of the plan.   Below are some useful materials on Neighbourhood Planning from Locality. London Neighbourhood Planning Presentation The evidence base for your Neighbourhood Plan Locality PAS presentation Neighbourhood Planning – Experience in Camden PAS London Neighbourhood Planning Presentation What do you want to achieve through Neighbourhood Planning? Neighbourhood Planning Roadmap Forum for Neighbourhood Planning Writing Planning Policies

Other Important Documents

National Planning Policy Framework The London Plan Westminster City Plan TfL WEP Transport Study January 2015 V14 Oxford Street Crossrail Development Impact Study 2012

Conservation Area Audits

Harley Street Portman Estate Dorset Square Regent Street


Neighbourhood Planning Symposium rCOH Workshop Notes Neighbourhood Planning Presentation – AGM 2016, Tony Burton Presentation – AGM 2016, Brendan O’Neil

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