Neighbourhood Planning in your community

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Neighbourhood Planning in your community

Across Oxfordshire, towns and villages are rising to the Neighbourhood Planning challenge.

Across Oxfordshire, towns and villages are rising to the Neighbourhood Planning challenge.

A product of the government’s Localism agenda, Neighbourhood Planning (NP) allows communities to take the lead in deciding what type of development should happen in the local area. Four Oxfordshire communities have already completed a NP (Drayton, Woodcote, Thame and Great Coxwell) and some 40 others are at varying NP stages, from just getting started to getting into the nuts and bolts of their plans.

As a legally binding ‘sister’ document to Local Authority planning policies, a NP cannot go against the development policies in a District Council’s Local Plan. However, NPs are a means of allowing the community to get the most out of coming development and ensuring it happens in ways supported by residents- a NP is underpinned by wide-ranging community involvement and has to pass a local referendum.

In Drayton and Woodcote, for example, after extensive local consultation the NP set out specific locations where future housing development would be permitted. But it’s not just about housing. A NP could allocate local green space, set out policies regarding cycling and walking and promote renewable energy schemes.

ORCC believes that communities can produce a Neighbourhood Plan using their own expertise and capacity, with support and guidance from ORCCs team of specialists. Since 2014, we have supported 8 NP groups in multiple ways, from full consultancy support on all aspects of a NP (project planning, sustainability appraisal, consultation strategies etc.) to bespoke housing and infrastructure surveys. Our service is underpinned by excellent working relationships with the relevant Planning Authority.

Neighbourhood Planning – An Overview

A Neighbourhood Plan can…
Decide where and what type of development should happen in the neighbourhood
Promote more development than is set out in the Local Plan

A Neighbourhood Plan cannot…
Conflict with the strategic policies in the Local Plan prepared by the local planning authority.
Be used to prevent development that is included in the Local Plan.

Things that a Neighbourhood Plan might include…
The development of housing, including affordable housing
Provision for businesses to set up or expand their premises.
Transport and access (including issues around roads, cycling, walking and access for disabled people).
The development of schools, places of worship, health facilities, leisure and entertainment facilities, community and youth centres and village halls.
The design of buildings.
Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and the planting of trees.
Promotion of renewable energy projects, such as solar energy and wind turbines.

For a discussion about how ORCC can help your community achieve a Neighbourhood Plan, please contact: Tom McCulloch, Community Development Manager: [email protected], 01865 883488

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