Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood Planning is part of the new Localism Act which became an Act of Parliament on the 15th November. The Act makes changes to the planning system to allow people to develop their own local neighbourhood plans. The idea is that a neighbourhood plan will eventually be adopted into the local authority planning framework following a local referendum.

Voluntary Action Camden (VAC) is working with local groups to test the concept and prepare a Camden Blueprint for Neighbourhood Planning

How does Neighbourhood Planning work?  

A Neighbourhood Plan is developed by local people to give them greater power and ownership over policies and plans that affect their local area. The community decide upon the neighbourhood boundaries, what they want the plan to achieve, and set up a Neighbourhood Forum to guide the process.

Why have a Plan?

  • To improve the environment
  • For community safety
  • For better community relations
  • For greater social inclusion
  • To strengthen local economy
  • To improve local services
  • To develop or protect local assets
  • To identify opportunities and develop new community resources.

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What is a Neighbourhood Forum?  

A Neighbourhood Forum is expected to be an unincorporated association or partnership that represents stakeholders in the neighbourhood. The group should be constituted and have at least 21 members. The Neighbourhood Forum will need to be approved by the local planning authority for a referendum to be called and the Neighbourhood Plan to be adopted. It will guide the neighbourhood planning process.

The Neighbourhood Forum or Planning Group

Following several amendments to the original Bill, the forum must now enlist at least 21 members who should be representative of the neighbourhood as a whole e.g. the resident population, local councillors, interest and community groups, business and institutions etc

It must have an agreed constitution and membership, and the credibility of the group will affect the outcome and adoption of the plan. The forum also needs to be approved by the Local Authority.

Elected councillors can provide democratically accountable oversight and council planners can provide advice and guidance (but will not necessarily be formal group members).

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Neighbourhood planning and The Localism Act

The Localism Act proposes to reform the planning system to "A plan-led system that empowers local people to shape their surroundings whilst encouraging the idea that development can positively benefit a community". Localism Bill: Planning Reform, Communities and Local Government, 2011

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Planning and Development Context

A Neighbourhood Plan will need to fit in with a number of approved planning and development policies set out in the Camden Local Development Framework November 2010. These policies and more, can be inspected online at:

The Local Development Framework (LDF) is the planning framework for the borough. It is a collection of documents including a Core Strategy (CS), Area Action Plans and other policies related to planning. It sets out the council's strategy for managing growth and development in the area. The Core Strategy is intended to reinforce the priorities set out in Camden's Community Strategy in the context of planning and urban design.

Site Allocation

The site allocations document forms part of the Local Development Framework for Camden and will identify land and buildings for future development. The Site Allocations document must be “consistent with the LDF Core Strategy and in general conformity with the London Plan”. The Council has prepared a new ‘submission draft' Site Allocations document that will eventually be adopted as part of the LDF. The Council started consultation on the draft Site Allocations document in October 2011 and published its Site Allocations development plan document (DPD) on 15 March 2012 for comment, prior to submitting it to the Secretary of State for independent examination by a planning inspector.

The document deals with the future development of land and buildings on some of the larger sites in Camden and will form part of our Local Development Framework (LDF). This is the final stage of preparation of this document and it allows you to have a final say on its content.


As well as producing LDF documents to guide development, the Council also produces Place Plans which consider things like investment decisions and service improvements, aiming to make a real difference to a specific area.

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Neighbourhood Planning Regulations

The new regulations for Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 have been published and came into force on 6 April 2012. Applications to become a ‘neighbourhood forum’ and to set boundaries can now be submitted to the Council. The applications will be assessed against the regulations and communities are advised to ensure that any application is fully in line with them before they apply.

Further Information

In addition to information posted on our website, you can also find out more about neighbourhood planning and the Local Development Framework on the Camden Council website:

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