Neighbourhood planning

What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and came into effect in April 2012. It is a government initiative aimed at trying to empower local communities to help make and take forward planning proposals at a local level.

Local people have the opportunity to draw up any of the following documents:

Neighbourhood development plan

This is to establish general planning policies for the development of land in a neighbourhood. Any plan must meet ‘basic conditions’ which include the need for policies to be generally aligned with strategic policies.

Once a neighbourhood development plan meets all the requirements and has been 'made' (adopted), it forms part of the overall development plan for the area. It can then be considered in the determination of planning applications.

Neighbourhood development order

This is to grant planning permission for a particular type of development in a specified area without the need for planning applications.

Community right to build order

This is to allow certain community organisations to bring forward small-scale development on specific sites without the need for planning permission.

What happens next?

Once prepared, any neighbourhood development plan or order must be looked at by an independent examiner. He/she will check that it meets certain ‘basic conditions’ and other relevant legal requirements.

The independent examiner may recommend that the plan or order proceeds to a public referendum (the next stage in the process) or may suggest that modifications are needed before it can proceed any further.

At the referendum, any plan or order needs to achieve more than 50 per cent of those who vote to do so in its favour, before the council can bring it into legal force.

Neighbourhood planning in Bracknell Forest

The first formal step in the neighbourhood planning process is the submission of an application to the local planning authority by a parish council or town council for the designation of a neighbourhood area.

Five areas have now been designated by the council - Binfield Parish Neighbourhood Area, Bracknell Town Neighbourhood Area, Warfield Neighbourhood Area, Winkfield Parish Neighbourhood Area and Sandhurst Town Neighbourhood Area.

Further information is available on the relevant neighbourhood area pages:

  • Binfield Parish - on 20 April 2016 Bracknell Forest Council brought the Binfield Neighbourhood Plan into legal force. This is a result of a successful referendum which took place on 3 March 2016, where 82% of those who voted did so in favour of making the Binfield Neighbourhood Plan. The Binfield Neighbourhood Plan now forms part of the statutory Development Plan for Bracknell Forest.
  • Bracknell Town - (applied for by Bracknell Town Council) designated 11 February 2014
  • Crowthorne Parish - (applied for by Crowthorne Parish Council) designated 15 June 2016
  • Sandhurst Town - (applied for by Sandhurst Town Council) designated 20 February 2016
  • Warfield - (applied for by Warfield Parish Council) designated 23 July 2014
  • Winkfield Parish - (applied for by Winkfield Parish Council) designated 24 December 2015

A summary map showing designated neighbourhood areas in Bracknell Forest can be found here:

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