Neighbourhood planning

The process

The formal stages involved in creating a neighbourhood development plan are:

  1. area designation: apply to Buckinghamshire Council for your neighbourhood area to be designated. This is the area in which your policies will take effect. Applications must be made by a qualifying body such as a town or parish council or a Neighbourhood Forum (if the area is unparished)
  2. plan preparation: the parish/town council or a neighbourhood forum produce their plan
  3. screening the plan: every plan needs to be screened to see if it needs a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) or Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). Get in touch with us once you know which policies your plan will have
  4. pre-submission consultation: this is a minimum 6-week consultation carried out by the town or parish council or Neighbourhood Forum
  5. submission of the plan: the plan is checked to ensure it has the correct accompanying documents. These include a basic conditions statement, consultation statement and either a letter saying SEA/HRA are not required or an Environmental report if they were required
  6. submission consultation: this is a consultation like the pre-submission consultation except that it is carried out and paid for by Buckinghamshire Council. Everyone consulted in the previous consultation and everyone who responded to it is consulted again and their comments are sent to the examiner alongside the plan and its documents
  7. examination: the plan is examined by an independent examiner to check if it meets the basic conditions and can proceed to referendum or not. Sometimes changes are suggested
  8. referendum: if the plan passes an independent examination, a referendum is held and the local community votes on whether it supports the plan. If more than 50% vote ‘YES’ then it will be formally made

Contact your local planning policy team for an application form:

Neighbourhood planning team

Read more about the key stages in neighbourhood planning on GOV.UK.

Under the Localism Act, the council has a legal duty to offer help and advice to councils or forums producing neighbourhood plans.

The council will organise and fund certain stages of the statutory requirement in the neighbourhood plan-making process.

These stages include:

  • designation of the neighbourhood area
  • submission consultation
  • independent examination
  • referendum

Go to the locality website for more information on how to create a neighbourhood plan.