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How neighbourhood planning works

This page acts as a general introduction to neighbourhood planning. It explains the different types of plans that you can make, what they can do, and who can get involved in creating them.

Types of Neighbourhood Plan

The term 'Neighbourhood Plan' can refer to any of the three types of document below. You can create any of the  different types, depending on the function that is most important to your community. 

  • Neighbourhood Development Plan
    This sets out a shared vision and general planning policies for the future development and use of land in a local area. 

  • Neighbourhood Development Order
    This allows communities to grant planning permission for certain types of development that they want in their local area.

  • Community Right to Build Order
    This allows communities to grant planning permission to build small-scale housing developments, community facilities or shops that are recognised by the community as providing positive benefits. 

Who can get involved

It's not a legal requirement for every community to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. However, they offer a good option for people who would like to get involved positively in managing and influencing growth in their area.

It is very important that the opinions expressed in the Neighbourhood Plan are a fair representation of the needs and concerns of the community as a whole. Therefore, only town and parish councils or similarly appointed local area neighbourhood forums can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.

To make sure these plans are truly led by the community and its needs, local people vote to approve them in a referendum. If successful, they will form part of the Development Plan for our area, and will become an important consideration when assessing future planning applications.

How to get started

To better understand whether a Neighbourhood Plan would be right for your community, and to find out what expert and financial help is available, have a look at the resources in Get support with neighbourhood planning

See Make a Neighbourhood Plan for step-by-step guidance on the process your community will need to follow to create a Neighbourhood Plan or Order. You can also find a formal description of this process at the GOV.UK website. For a local version of this guidance, including information about how we help communities preparing their plan, view our Neighbourhood Planning Protocol.

You may also find that viewing plans already made or in development is a great starting point to help your group to organise your work on your own Neighbourhood Plan. 

Neighbourhood planning requires a substantial commitment. If you're considering taking on this work for your community, we strongly advise you to email us at, to get a clear idea of what's involved, and for advice to help you get started.