HOW LOCAL PEOPLE CAN WRITE THEIR OWN NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
– MEMBERSHIP FORM IS AT THE BOTTOM
Why Neighbourhood Planning?
‘Planning has tended to exclude, rather than to include, people and communities.
Planning policy itself has become so elaborate and forbidding – the preserve of specialists, rather than people in communities. We are allowing people and communities back into planning’
Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, National Planning Policy Framework (2012)Neighbourhood Planning Forums are formally constituted, local community associations empowered by an Act of Parliament, the 2011 Localism Act to write neighbourhood plans.Starting in September 2014 the people who live and work on the Isle of Dogs attended a number of local meetings to talk about the impact of development in the area and agreed to form a Neighbourhood Planning Forum. We submitted our application to Tower Hamlets Council to be recognised on the 1st December 2014 as a Forum. There was a public consultation organised by the Council in January & February 2015 to consult on the Forum. On the 1st December 2015 Mayor John Biggs in Cabinet made this decision2. To approve in principle the designation of Neighbourhood Planning Forum and Area for the Isle of Dogs application subject to
clarification of the boundaries of the Neighbourhood Planning Area. Decisions will be taken at the earliest opportunity. But in the 5th March 2016 Cabinet he made the decision to remove 1/3 of the Area i.e. everything north of South Quay. The meeting is described in more detail here but we are now the legal Neighbourhood Planning Forum for the approved area.
The neighbourhood forum will be administered by a committee who will be bound by a written constitution and whose activities are applicable to a defined neighbourhood area.
We invite you to join us in making the Isle of Dogs an even better place to live, work and do business in (an application form is attached at the bottom of this page).
The Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Plan will be broken down into two main sections;
- Issues that affect the whole area like transport, schools, playgrounds, green spaces which have to be designed & co-ordinated across the whole area
- Local neighbourhood plans for specific areas, for example the people in Blackwall will write the plan for Blackwall and the people on the Barkantine will write the local plan for their area
The process of formulating local planning policies requires a period of intensive local consultation which is likely to begin in 2015. Once the forum members approve any such plan it will then be assessed by independent assessors before being put before the inhabitants of the neighbourhood area for their approval in a local referendum.
In the meantime the Committee is seeking to expand the general membership of the forum and begin the process of inviting local people to contribute to the process of neighbourhood planning by asking them what they think our local planning priorities should be.
For further information about neighbourhood planning please read on;
- This government guidance explains the neighbourhood planning system introduced by the Localism Act, including key stages and considerations required, here
- This House of Commons Library report has a detailed overview of Neighbourhood Planning as at July 2016 (here)
- Attached here is a Powerpoint presentation from the Government about Neighbourhood Planning written in January 2016
- There is a detailed report about how Neighbourhood Plans work in practise, updated March 2016 (here)
- You can read more about the Government support for Neighbourhood Planning Forums (here)
- You can have a look at the Spitalfields Forum in Tower Hamlets which is also getting started (here)
- Tower Hamlets Council have their own information on Forums (here)
- There is a government department dedicated to helping local groups like us (here)
Who else is doing this (as at March 2015)?
1,437 groups like us have applied to be recognised across the country
1,243 groups have been formally recognised by their local Council – this has not happened to us yet
225 groups have written a neighbourhood plan
130 have had their plans examined by an independent expert & 77 have passed so far
68 groups have had referendums, all voted Yes, average Yes vote 88%, average turnout 33%
6.1 million people live in a Neighbourhood Plan area
This all started in 2012!
What is neighbourhood planning all about and how does it affect me?
The Localism Act (2011) introduced new rights and powers to allow local communities to shape new development by coming together to write their own legally-binding planning policies.
These locally produced planning policies are called “Neighbourhood Plans” and can be created by two types of body – town and parish councils or ‘neighbourhood forums’. Neighbourhood forums are community groups that are designated by local authorities (e.g. Tower Hamlets) to draft neighbourhood plans in areas without parishes – areas such as ours on the Isle of Dogs. It is the role of the local planning authority (Tower Hamlets) to approve the members of a prospective neighbourhood forum and approve it’s neighbourhood area.
Once a designated Neighbourhood Forum has agreed on the Neighbourhood Plan the people of the Isle of Dogs who live within the specified ‘neighbourhood area’ covered by the plan would then be asked to approve it in a local referendum.
Neighbourhood Forums use these new neighbourhood planning powers to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in their neighbourhood. These are described legally as ‘neighbourhood development plans’.
In an important change to the planning system communities can use neighbourhood planning to permit the development they want to see – in full or in outline – without the need for planning applications. These are called ‘neighbourhood development orders.’
Typical things that our Neighbourhood Plan could include:
- The development of housing, including affordable housing (affordable housing is housing that is not normally for sale on the open market), and bringing vacant or derelict housing back into use.
- Provision for businesses to set up or expand their premises.
- Transport and access (including issues around roads, parking, cycling, walking and access for disabled people).
- The development of schools, places of worship, health facilities, leisure and entertainment facilities, community and youth centres, visitor centres, museums and village halls.
- The restriction of certain types of development and change of use, for example to avoid too much of one type of use.
- The design of buildings.
- The height of buildings.
- Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and the planting of trees.
- Protection of important buildings and historic assets such as archaeological remains.
- Promotion of renewable energy projects, such as solar energy and wind turbines.
- Neighbourhood plans can do a lot and we think that the Isle of Dogs would benefit enormously from having one.