The role of the community in producing a neighbourhood plan

A neighbourhood plan is a community-led framework, which is produced by an authorised community organisation rather than Salford City Council. Whilst the council will work with and support local communities in producing neighbourhood plans, the majority of the work will need to be done by the local community, and there are a number of tasks need to be undertaken in producing a neighbourhood plan including:

  • Identifying the neighbourhood area:
    Work on a neighbourhood plan can only commence formally once the neighbourhood area has been designated by the local authority. The community will need to decide on the neighbourhood area boundary and submit it to the council for designation. The council can refuse to designate the area applied for if it considers the area is not appropriate, but must give reasons for this.
  • Forming a neighbourhood forum:
    Where there is no parish or town council as is the case in Salford, a prospective neighbourhood forum of at least 21 people must be formed to lead and co-ordinate the plan making process. In accordance with legal requirements, this should reflect the diversity, character and inclusivity of the area and should if possible include at least one person living in the area, one person working/operating a business in the area and at least one councillor. The neighbourhood forum should be open to all such people, regardless of the different views they may have about the future development of the area. The community will need to submit the prospective neighbourhood forum to the council for approval.
  • Producing a constitution:
    All neighbourhood forums will require a written constitution that sets out the purpose of the neighbourhood forum, its working arrangements, governance, arrangements for financial management and duration.
  • Preparing a project plan:
    It will be important to draw up a programme for producing the neighbourhood plan which includes a timetable, key stages and actions, available resources and likely costs.
  • Funding the production of the neighbourhood plan:
    There will be costs associated with producing the neighbourhood plan and whilst some of these will be met by the council (holding the independent examination and the public referendum), funding for other costs will need to be found by the neighbourhood forum producing the plan. There is currently some government funding available to support the production of neighbourhood plans, which the neighbourhood forum can apply for (up to a maximum of £15,000).
  • Carrying out community consultation:
    Ongoing, effective community engagement is essential in developing a successful neighbourhood plan. The neighbourhood forum will be responsible for organising and undertaking consultation on the neighbourhood plan, and it is likely that the council will only be able to provide very limited support.
  • Developing new evidence:
    The council holds a lot of evidence that may assist in informing and supporting the development of a neighbourhood plan. However, there may be additional evidence that the neighbourhood forum would like to produce in their neighbourhood plan. Any such evidence would need to be collected or commissioned by the neighbourhood forum, as the council does not have the resources to pay for such work. This could include local surveys or research to clarify key issues.

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This page was last updated on 12 April 2016

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