This is a very brief look at the Neighbourhood Planning element of the Bill. Oddly, given its name, only a few pages of the 50 page bill talk about Neighbourhood Planning. Most of the information here comes from the Explanatory notes, which can be found on the left-hand side of the Bill Documents page – you will need to scroll down a bit to find it. If you want to look at the bill itself, it is on the Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2016-17 page, which shows that the bill has gone through the House of Commons and is now working its way through the Lords.
The Neighbourhood Planning part comprises a series of changes to existing planning acts. The changes refer to the:
- local planning authority, which is Wealden for Uckfield
- qualifying body, which is the Steering Group for Uckfield’s Neighbourhood Plan.
Clause 1: Duty to have regard to post-examination neighbourhood development plan
The change requires the “local planning authority or other planning decision-taker to have regard to a post-examination neighbourhood development plan when dealing with an application for planning permission.” – i.e. they must take the Neighbourhood Plan into account even if it has not got quite as far as the referendum.
Clause 2: Status of approved neighbourhood development plan
This change provides “for a neighbourhood development plan for an area to become part of the development plan for that area after it is approved in each applicable referendum.” – i.e. it will be part of Wealden’s development plan.
Clause 3: Modification of neighbourhood development order or plan
This change enables “a local planning authority to modify, only with the consent of the qualifying body for the neighbourhood area, a neighbourhood development order or plan … ” – i.e. this provides a mechanism for changing the Neighbourhood Plan once it has been through referendum, with an examination but without another referendum.
Clause 4: Changes to neighbourhood areas etc.
This facilitates “the modification of a neighbourhood area and provide for what is to
happen to a neighbourhood development order or plan that has already been made in relation to that area.” – This might be required if there are boundary changes that affect Uckfield.
Clause 5: Assistance in connection with neighbourhood planning
This requires “an authority to … set out their policy for discharging the duty to give advice or assistance to qualifying bodies to facilitate proposals for neighbourhood development plans (including proposals for the modification of neighbourhood development plans) or orders.” i.e. Wealden would have to explain how they help qualifying bodies like our steering group with Neighbourhood Plans.
The clauses are explained in more detail in the Explanatory Notes.