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What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Since 2012, local communities can create a Neighbourhood Plan which then will be used to determine the outcome of planning applications within that area. A Neighbourhood Plan has legal standing as part of the planning process and gives a local community an opportunity to have real say in planning decisions that affect that community.
How can AFA planning consultants help?
Several steps are required before a Neighbourhood Plan can be approved and brought into legal force. AFA planning consultants can help local communities such as town or parish councils with either the whole or parts of the process.
A Neighbourhood Plan is a one-off document that will apply to planning applications in the area for the foreseeable future. That makes it important to get it right. As a one- off project, local planning officers in the council may not have experience in creating a Neighbourhood Plan and are unlikely to need to prepare another one in the future. Our specialist planners can help stream line the process by leveraging our experience in creating Neighbourhood Plans. Grants are available from government organisations to help with the cost of using our expertise.
Using our planners experience we can help a community develop a project plan that ensures all the required steps are completed. We can help by drawing up a timeline, identifying key actions and responsibilities and ensuring that all participants know what is involved before committing to the project.
The Neighbourhood plan will be a legal document that guides planning policy in the area. It therefore needs to be based on solid information and a thorough evaluation of the needs and existing character of the area. We can help identify key pieces of information and help communities make the best use of existing data and reports to support the aims and objectives of their Neighbourhood plan.
Community engagement and consultation
A key part of the developing a Neighbourhood Plan is ensuring that it reflects the consensus of the local community. There are some important stages where community consultation and approval is required and therefore early and appropriate engagement with the community is essential. We can help councils to prepare their strategy for communicating with the community and help draft communications setting out the aims, issues and benefits of the plan.
Sustainability appraisals and Strategic Environmental Assessments
Often local authorities may require communities to include a Sustainability Appraisal or a Strategic Environmental Assessment as part of their Neighbourhood Plan. Our planners can help prepare these specialist documents where they are required.
Writing the plan
Although the plan reflects the vision of the community it will be a legal document that will affect the outcome of planning decisions. Our planners can help by using their expertise to draft the plan ensuring that it meets all the legal requirements, that it reflects the key aims of the community and that it is clear and can be effectively applied.
Contact us today regarding your Neighbourhood Plan on freephone 0800 088 6415.
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