Neighbourhood Plans

What are Neighbourhood Plans?

They are a new way of helping local communities to influence the planning of the area in which they live and work. They can be used to:

  • Develop a shared vision for the neighbourhood.
  • Choose where new homes, shops, offices, and other development should be built.
  • Identify and protect local green spaces.
  • Influence what new buildings should look like.
  • Identify what infrastructure should be provided

Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the Government in the Localism Act 2011 to promote sustainable development at a local level. They focus on land use activities which require planning permission. Neighbourhood Plans can become part of the Authority’s Development Plan for the Lake District.

As well as land use development, we are involved in land use management. For further information, see the Partnership's Plan

Who can prepare Neighbourhood Plans?

Neighbourhood Plans can be prepared by parish or town councils, or is these do not exist, then by groups of local people coming together to create a neighbourhood forum. Neighbourhood Plans can be undertaken by most communities if effectively supported. A project working group can be set up to oversee the process and preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan. However, it’s the parish or town council, or neighbourhood forum, which is ultimately responsible for the Neighbourhood plan.

Step 1: Designating a neighbourhood area

First define your neighbourhood plan area. This is often the parish or town council area, although this can be reduced or extended if it is justified and agreed with by adjoining councils. The Authority is responsible for formally approving a neighbourhood planning area.

Areas that cover the whole area of the parish council are automatically designated as a Neighbourhood Area, however the Parish Council must register an interest with us to become a relevant body to produce a Neighbourhood Plan.

We will:

  • Advise communities on the processes involved in applying for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area and the information required.
  • Determine an application to become a relevant body within eight weeks of receiving the application.
  • Provide a map showing the boundary for the Neighbourhood Plan Area for the purposes of Neighbourhood Area Designation. For all other mapping requests, we can provide support on Parish Online mapping system which will allow a community group to produce its own maps.
  • Check and confirm receipt of any Neighbourhood Area application it receives and advise the applying qualifying body of any requirements omitted.
  • [For applications which fall within the areas of two or more local planning authorities] Publicise the application for comment in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2015, in a manner as we consider is likely to bring the area application to the attention of people who live, work or carry on business in the area to which the application relates. This includes through the Authority’s website, local and social media, local libraries / inspection points and by writing to relevant organisations, businesses and individuals.
  • Determine the application 20 weeks from when it was first advertised, if the applications falls within the areas of two or more local planning authorities.
  • Publicise our decision on our website and notify the qualifying body.

Step 2: Preparing a draft neighbourhood plan

Prepare a programme of work.

  • The tasks that need to be undertaken at each stage.
  • What resources will be needed to undertake the tasks (people, venues, materials, funding etc.)
  • How much time each stage will take.

Do not underestimate how much time it will take to organise public consultation events and materials and to analyse the responses received. Allow adequate time for this.

Decide which issues the neighbourhood plan can address, and which are outside the scope of the neighbourhood plan. It must generally conform to the strategic policies in the Local Plan

Be clear on what the neighbourhood plan is aiming to achieve. Consider developing a vison and/or objectives. And also consider options or reasonable alternatives should a Sustainability Appraisal be required.

Draft policies to set out the key details of what you want to happen. And include supporting text to justify the policy and explain what it is that the neighbourhood plan is really trying to achieve.

Include a proposals map if land is to be allocated for a specific use. A Sustainability Appraisal may be required which will need to be developed in parallel with the neighbourhood plan.

We will advise or assist the working group in developing policies and proposals, focussed particularly on content and conformity with the strategic policies in the Local Plan and the ‘basic conditions’. This could be through email, telephone conversations and attending meetings. Our ability to respond as soon as possible will be governed by resources at the time of the request.

We will:

  • Provide information on adopted Local Plan policies with which any Neighbourhood Plan will need to be in general conformity.
  • Provide advice on which issues are considered to be relevant planning matters and are suitable for inclusion in Neighbourhood Plans.
  • Provide information on relevant European and National legislation and policies.
  • Share existing information and evidence base work held by the Authority as appropriate and provide advice on areas where new evidence may be required or beneficial to support the preparation of the Plan.
  • Provide constructive comments on the emerging plan and other supporting documents and advise if the plan falls short on the basic conditions. We will provide a formal view on whether the Neighbourhood Plan meets the basic conditions.
  • Carry out screening /scoping to identify and provide an opinion on the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment or Habitats Regulations Assessment.

We will not:

  • Undertake consultation exercises, distribute consultation questionnaires, collect, collate or analyse responses on behalf of communities for consultation arising from requirements placed on qualifying bodies in the Regulations.
  • Provide project management services for the production of the Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Produce a neighbourhood plan on a communities behalf or draft the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan
  • Undertake the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment or Appropriate Assessment, even if these are required. Those undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan will be expected to make appropriate arrangements for undertaking these, which may include hiring consultants.

Step 3: Pre-submission publicity and consultation

Once the neighbourhood plan has been prepared a formal round of public consultation is required with the community. The relevant body must publicise the draft neighbourhood plan for at least six weeks in accordance with the Regulations, this includes sending us a copy and consulting with statutory consultees. This consultation will allow you to make any necessary changes that come forward from comments made by the public in advance of submitting the plan for examination.
If a Sustainability Appraisal has been prepared this should be consulted on at the same time.
We will:

  • Advise whether all the documents and the consultation process are in order
  • Publicise the consultation on our website

Step 4: Submission

Once you are happy that you have completed your pan and have carried out the statutory six week consultation, the plan will be submitted to us to publicise and consult on the plan for a further six weeks. The relevant body submits the final neighbourhood plan to the Authority along with:

  • A copy of the Neighbourhood Plan, including a map or statement showing the area covered by the neighbourhood plan.
  • A written statement explaining how the neighbourhood plan meets the basic conditions.
  • A consultation statement outlining all of the engagement undertaken throughout the plan process.
  • A Strategic Environmental Assessment and/or Habitats Regulations Assessment if necessary.

We will:

  • Check that the submitted plan is legally compliant, i.e. the procedural steps have been followed, and notify the qualifying body as to whether or not we are satisfied
  • Publicise the submitted neighbourhood plan for a minimum of six weeks on our website in accordance with the Regulations, including notifying the consultation bodies
  • Consider whether we need to submit comments on the draft plan, considering the following:
    • Whether the draft policy supports and upholds the general principles of the Lake District National Park Local Plan strategic policies.
    • The degree, if any, of conflict between the draft policy and the strategic policies in the Local Plan.
    • Whether the draft policy provides an additional level of detail and/or a distinct approach to that set out in the Local Plan without undermining the Local Plan.
    • The rationale for the approach taken in the draft neighbourhood plan and the evidence to justify that approach.
  • Collate the comments on the submitted neighbourhood plan.
  • Appoint and fund an independent examiner with the consent of the qualifying body.

Step 5: Examination

We will appoint and fund an independent examiner with the consent of the qualifying body, to check the plan meets the basic conditions and standards. The examiner will take into account any formal representations submitted to us during the consultation period. It is not expected that a public hearing will take place during the examination unless the examiner feels it necessary to do so.

The length of time taken during the examination will depend on the number of policies and the complexity of the plan.

Once the examination is over, the examiner will issue a report which we will publish on our website. The report is likely to include one of the following recommendations:

  • The Plan should proceed to a referendum.
  • The Plan should proceed to a referendum, subject to certain amendments.
  • The Plan should not proceed.

We will consider the report, decide whether the recommendations should be followed, and then publish our decision, notifying those who prepared and submitted the neighbourhood plan.

We will:

  • Submit the Plan to the independent examiner for examination as soon as possible after receipt with any representations and any other documents submitted with the Plan.
  • Consider the examiners recommendations and provide written confirmation as to whether we are satisfied or not satisfied the Plan meets the basic conditions. And be deemed in general conformity with higher-level policy found in the NPPF and the relevant local plan.
  • iIf satisfied, make any suggested amendments to the plan and then proceed to referendum.
  • Publish our decision and reasons in a ‘decision statement’, and provide details of where and when the decision can be inspected.
  • Publish the examiner report.

Step 6: Referendum

If the decision is to proceed to a referendum, we will cooperate with the relevant district council who are responsible for making the necessary arrangements for the referendum to take place including publishing an information statement and notice of referendum. The referendum will ask whether the community wishes the Authority to use the Neighbourhood Plan in its planning decisions. A simply Yes/No vote is required. For the Plan to succeed, over 50% of the votes need to be in favour. People registered to vote in the Neighbourhood Plan area are eligible to vote.

We will:

  • Liaise with the relevant District / Borough Council to organise the public referendum. We will fund this.
  • Publish the results.

Step 7: Adoption

Assuming a majority is achieved, the Authority will adopt the Neighbourhood Plan as part of the development plan. This may include policies in the neighbourhood plan taking precedence over policies in the Local Plan. The Authority will publish the Neighbourhood Plan on its website and inform those who commented on the proposed Neighbourhood Plan.

We will:

  • If the Neighbourhood Plan receives support at referendum from more than 50 per cent of those that vote, we will take the Plan to Committee and formally ‘make’ (adopt) the Neighbourhood Plan and publish it on our website in accordance with the Regulations.
  • Once made the Plan will form part of the Development Plan for the Lake District, and will be a consideration in determining the outcome of planning applications relating to the neighbourhood area.

What is happening at the moment in the Lake District National Park?

Map of parishes producing Neighbourhood Plans (PDF Document)

Follow each of the links below for information on each of the Neighbourhood Plans underway in the Lake District National Park.

What general support can the Lake District National Park Authority provide?

We will take a proactive and positive approach, working collaboratively with a neighbourhood planning body particularly sharing evidence and seeking to resolve any issues to ensure the draft neighbourhood plan has the greatest chance of success at independent examination. Specifically we will:

  • Work with parish/ town councils or community groups to enable them to prepare a draft plan
  • Provide groups with advice and/or technical assistance as appropriate including attending meetings and helping with consultation events if necessary
  • Make arrangements for the examination of the plan and referendum
  • We do not provide financial assistance.

To discuss neighbourhood planning please contact:

Strategy and Partnership's Service
Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
Kendal LA9 7RL

Neighbourhood Planning links