Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their area through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans, Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.
Neighbourhood Development Plans

A Neighbourhood Development Plan sets out the policies against which planning applications are assessed.  They will become part of the Statutory Development Plan for Knowsley, which means that policies and proposals contained within them will be used in the determination of planning applications, including appeals.  It is important to note that the policies produced cannot block development that is already part of the Knowsley Local Plan and which includes the Knowsley Local Plan Core Strategy, adopted in January 2016.  What they can do is shape and influence where that development will go and what it will look like.
Neighbourhood Development Orders

A Neighbourhood Development Order can grant planning permission either in full or in outline for specified developments in a Neighbourhood Area, subject to restrictions.  Once established there would be no need for anyone to apply to the Council for planning permission if it is for the type of development covered by the Order.
Community Right to Build Orders

A Community Right to Build Order is a type of Neighbourhood Development Order insofar as it grants planning permission for types of development that communities want to see in their area.  As well as housing, this included other amenities for the benefit of local people such as a community building or playground.
Who can undertake Neighbourhood Planning?
This depends on whether the area in which you live is parished. In parished areas of Knowsley, only the local Parish or Town Council can lead on Neighbourhood Planning for your community. In non-parished areas of the Borough, a community gathering known as a Neighbourhood Forum needs to be established to lead the process.
In either case, the qualifying community body (Parish/Town Council or prospective Neighbourhood Forum) needs to apply to Knowsley Council to have an area designated as a Neighbourhood Area.  This will then become the area where Neighbourhood Plans apply.
The Neighbourhood Planning process
The text below outlines, in general, the key stages in the preparation of Neighbourhood Development Plans, although communities can choose to use any or all of the above Neighbourhood Planning tools once a Neighbourhood Area has been designated.

The preparation of a Community Right to Build Order is a slightly different process in that it requires the formation of a constituted community group rather than a neighbourhood forum. Parish and Town Councils can also lead on Community Right to Build Orders.

A summary of the key stages in neighbourhood planning

Step 1: Designating neighbourhood area and if appropriate neighbourhood forum

  • Relevant body (parish/town council, prospective neighbourhood forum or community organisation) submits an application to Knowsley Council to designate a neighbourhood area
  • Knowsley Council publicises and consults on the area application for minimum 6 weeks (except for where a local planning authority is required to designate the whole of a parish.)
  • Knowsley Council designates a neighbourhood area within the statutory timescales
  • In an area without a town or parish council a prospective neighbourhood forum submits an application to be the designated neighbourhood forum for a neighbourhood area
  • Knowsley Council publicises and consults on the forum application for minimum 6 weeks
  • Knowsley Council takes decision on whether to designate the neighbourhood forum

Step 2: Preparing a draft neighbourhood plan or Order

Qualifying body develops proposals (advised or assisted by Knowsley Council)

  • gather baseline information and evidence
  • engage and consult those living and working in the neighbourhood area and those with an interest in or affected by the proposals (eg service providers)
  • talk to land owners and the development industry
  • identify and assess options
  • determine whether a plan or an Order is likely to have significant environmental effect
  • start to prepare proposals documents eg basic conditions statement

Step 3: Pre-submission publicity and consultation

The qualifying body:

  • publicises the draft plan or Order and invites representations
  • consults the consultation bodies as appropriate
  • sends a copy of the draft plan or Order to Knowsley Council
  • where European Obligations apply, complies with relevant publicity and consultation requirements
  • considers consultation responses and amends plan/Order if appropriate
  • prepares consultation statement and other proposal documents

Step 4: Submission of a neighbourhood plan or Order proposal to the local planning authority

  • Qualifying body submits the plan or Order proposal to Knowsley Council
  • Knowsley Council checks that submitted proposal complies with all relevant legislation
  • If Knowsley Council finds that the plan or order meets the legal requirements it:
    • publicises the proposal for minimum 6 weeks and invites representations
    • notifies consultation bodies referred to in the consultation statement
    • appoints an independent examiner (with the agreement of the qualifying body)

Step 5: Independent Examination

  • Knowsley Council sends plan/Order proposal and representation to the independent examiner
  • independent examiner undertakes examination
  • independent examiner issues a report to Knowsley Council and qualifying body
  • Knowsley Council publishes report
  • Knowsley Council considers report and reaches own view (except in respect of community right to build orders and proposals for modifications of neighbourhood plans where the modifications do not change the nature of the plan, where the report is binding)
  • Knowsley Council takes the decision on whether to send the plan/Order to referendum

Steps 6 and 7: Referendum and bringing the neighbourhood plan or Order into force

  • Knowsley Council publishes information statement
  • Knowsley Council publishes notice of referendum/s
  • polling takes place (in a business area an additional referendum is held)
  • results declared
  • should more than half of those voting vote in favour of the neighbourhood plan, the plan comes into force as part of the statutory development plan for the area
  • should more than half of those voting vote in favour of the Order, the Order only has legal effect once it is made by the local planning authority
  • there are narrow circumstances where the local planning authority is not required to make the neighbourhood plan or Order. These are where it considers that the making of the neighbourhood plan or Order would breach, or otherwise be incompatible with, any EU or human rights obligations (see section 61E(8) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Act as amended).
  • in respect of proposals for modifications of neighbourhood plans where the modifications do not change the nature of the plan and meet the basic conditions, a referendum is not required. The local planning authority is required to make the modified neighbourhood plan

How to apply

To apply for a Neighbourhood Area designation or a Neighbourhood Forum designation, please complete the forms below and return to:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Post: Local Plan Team, Knowsley MBC, Yorkon Building, Archway Road, Huyton, Merseyside, L36 9FB

Designation of a Neighbourhood Area
The 'Neighbourhood Area' is the area to which a proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order will relate. Parish or Town Councils, and prospective Neighbourhood Forums must apply to Knowsley Council to designate a Neighbourhood Area.

Designation of a Neighbourhood Forum
Community groups intending to produce Neighbourhood Plans in non-parished areas must apply to Knowsley Council to become a Neighbourhood Forum.  This application should be made subsequent to an application to designate a Neighbourhood Area or at the same time, as the Forum cannot be designated first. 
The 2011 Act states that, to be considered acceptable, a Neighbourhood Forum must:

  • Be established for the express purpose of promoting or improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of an area;
  • Include a minimum of 21 individual members, each of whom lives in the Neighbourhood Area concerned, work there, or is an Elected Member; and
  • Have a written constitution.

Please note that the Council will be unable to approve applications that do not meet these conditions.   

Existing Neighbourhood Areas/Neighbourhood Forums

There is one designated Neighbourhood Area in Knowsley:

Halewood Neighbourhood Area

There are no further Neighbourhood Areas, and no Neighbourhood Areas, currently designated in Knowsley.

New proposed Neighbourhood Areas/Neighbourhood Forums

There are currently no applications to designate Neighbourhood Areas or Neighbourhood Forums in Knowsley.

Neighbourhood Planning Guidance

The Council has produced guidance to provide more information and advice in respect of the neighbourhood planning process. 

Detailed guidance on preparing a neighbourhood plan and general advice in respect of the current arrangements for claiming financial support through the Government's three year rolling programme  can be found on the My Community website. 

The following links may also be of use:

More Information

For further information about Neighbourhood Plans please contact a member of the Local Plan Team on 0151 443 2326 or email [email protected] .

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