About Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood Planning is a key part of the Government's Localism agenda. It can provide local communities with the opportunity to help shape and manage development in their local area.

In addition to participating in existing planning processes, there are three new Neighbourhood Planning tools that can be used to shape development in your area.

Neighbourhood Plans

These set planning policies for the use and development of land, they can provide a range of detailed policies and proposals for an area, or a single policy relating to a specific issue, e.g. the design of new buildings.

Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDOs)

These extend permitted development rights by granting planning permission for a specific development or use of land in a Neighbourhood Area, e.g. rear extensions on residential properties.

NDOs must by formulated by a neighbourhood forum.

Community Right to Build Orders

Grant planning permission for new, small scale development on specific sites, for example new affordable housing on a defined site. Read more on Community Right to Build Orders.

Other ways to make a contribution

The new tools are not the only way for communities to get involved in planning in their local area.

Neighbourhood Planning is optional. You do not have to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan or Order to influence development in your area.

The Council encourages local people to make an active contribution to policy making:

It is up to local communities to decide whether to use some or all of the new powers, or whether other planning tools may be a better way of realising local ambitions.

Getting involved

The Council is committed to getting local people engaged in the planning and development of their area and encourages any group interested in getting involved to contact the planning policy team, who can provide more information to communities on the new powers and explain the tools available and how these could be used by local people.

Neighbourhood areas and neighbourhood forums

Before these tools can be formally used first a neighbourhood area must be proposed and designated and then a neighbourhood forum proposed and designated.

A neighbourhood area has to be proposed by the community by a group capable of being designated as a neighbourhood forum.

The Council then consults on the area proposed and reviews it to ensure that it is the right area in planning terms, the Council must designate a neighbourhood area which contains part of the area proposed.

A group then has to make an application to be designated as the neighbourhood forum for the area. The Council has to undertake consultation on the application and check that it is representative of the designated neighbourhood area. The full process is set out in Government legislation.

Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders will be published for consultation and subject to examination by an independent Examiner. The community has the final say on whether a Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order comes into force through a referendum.

Neighbourhood forums can draw up either a Neighbourhood Plan, or a Neighbourhood Development Order or both. However, the plan and/or the Order must be in line with the strategic policies in the Council's Local Plan (formerly Local Development Framework), the London Plan and the national planning policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Neighbourhood Plans cannot for example, be used to restrict the quantum of development in an area, they could however be used to influence the location, mix and/or design of that development. Neighbourhood Plans can cover a single issue or range of issues, they can relate to the whole or part of a neighbourhood and can allocate specific sites. Neighbourhood Development Orders can cover types of development e.g. house  extensions or minor developments in industrial sites, or proposals on specific sites.

Council support

The Council has a duty to support neighbourhood forums in working up details of the Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order, this includes advising on general conformity with the strategic policies in the Local Plan, when and which consultees to involve, and details of the evidence requirements which will be needed to inform the policies and proposals in the Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order.

The Regulations include requirements on the neighbourhood forum preparing the Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order to undertake pre-submission consultation. The Plan or Order is then submitted to the Council along with the specified documents which must accompany submission.

Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy

We are required to spend a proportion of Borough Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) receipts, taking account of the views of the residents in the neighbourhood where the receipts were generated. In Wandsworth this is known as the Wandsworth Local Fund. In areas without an adopted neighbourhood plan 15% of CIL receipts are allocated to neighbourhood CIL, in areas with an adopted plan the figure rises to 25%. Where a neighbourhood forum exists, it will be included in the council's consultation on setting priorities for that neighbourhood.

More information

Contact the Planning Policy Team

Find out about Neighbourhood Planning

The following organisations also have useful advice on their websites:  

Funding is available from the Government to support local councils and communities who undertake Neighbourhood Planning.