Defining the neighbourhood and agreeing the neighbourhood forum
Before Neighbourhood Planning can be taken forward in an area, proposals have to be made to the Council for the designation the area as a neighbourhood area and the designation of the neighbourhood forum.
Potential neighbourhood bodies can submit proposals for the designation of a neighbourhood area to the Council (as local planning authority). These must include a map indicating the proposed area and a statement as to why the area is considered appropriate to be designated as a neighbourhood.
The Council then has a duty to publicise the proposal on the Council website for a period of not less than 6 weeks giving details of how to make representations.
Following the end of the consultation period the Council is then required to consider the proposal and responses. If a valid application is made to an authority, the Localism Act requires the authority to designate a neighbourhood covering at least part of the area proposed. The Council then has to publicise its decision.
Applications to become a neighbourhood forum from organisations and bodies must fulfil a number of criteria in terms of the membership of the organisation, and the information required to support the application as set out in the Regulations. The minimum requirements for membership of the forum are a minimum of 21 people who live, work or are an elected Member for at least part of the area concerned.
The Council is required to publicise the application to become a neighbourhood forum for a period of not less than six weeks giving details of how to make representations. The Council then has to consider the application and any representation it has received. In making its decision on whether to designate the organisation as a neighbourhood forum, the Council is required to consider a number of criteria set out in the Localism Act, including:
(a) whether the membership includes people who live, work or are an elected Member for at least part of the area concerned;
(b) whether the membership is drawn from different places in the neighbourhood and different sections of the community; and
(c) whether the purpose of the organisation reflects, in general terms, the character of the area.
Publicising decisionsThe Council is required to publicise its decision on the designation of a neighbourhood forum as soon as possible after making the decision. If it refuses to designate a body it must issue a statement setting out the reasons for the decision. After five years, neighbourhood forums need to reapply if they wish to continue to be designated as the forum for their area.
In Wandsworth, decisions on designating neighbourhoods and neighbourhood forums will be reported to the Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee.