Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning | Sevenoaks District Council

Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning

The Localism Act sets out that communities have the right to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, setting out policies on the development and use of land in a parish or neighbourhood area. These plans are to be led by Parish or Town Councils, with the involvement of local stakeholder groups.

Neighbourhood Plans can be used to promote more housing and infrastructure development in an area than is proposed in the Local Plan. It cannot be used as a tool to stop development taking place.

We have produced the following documents to help with preparing Neighbourhood Plans

The Kent Housing Group has produced a Kent Community-Led Planning Guide.

Neighbourhood Plan Process Guidance


Support available to Town and Parish Councils

We will offer Town and Parish Councils support in preparing neighbourhood plans. The kinds of support available are set out below. However, the level of support may need to be prioritised, focusing on areas with planned growth and regeneration, depending on the level of interest in this form of planning.

  • Named contact officer
  • Dedicated online resource
  • Consultation on the proposed Designated Area
  • Advice on national and local plan policies
  • Advice on locally available evidence
  • Advise on key milestones and work programmes
  • Provision of contacts for external partners, including statutory consultees
  • Advising on meeting the legal requirements for consultation and publicity
  • Publicising the proposed plan and adopted plan
  • Making the necessary arrangements for the Independent Examination and Referendum
  • Participation in steering groups at key points in the work programme
  • Mapping and GIS support
  • Advice on appropriate evidence base

Seeking Independent Advice

Neighbourhood Plans are led by the authorised local community organisation (the Parish or Town Council or Neighbourhood Forum) and should be tailored to fit local circumstances. The essence of localism is that communities can create a plan which meets local needs.

As a result, it is not for Local Planning Authorities to write these plans, it is for representatives of the community. We will provide guidance as set out above. If you require assistance with the detailed drafting of your Neighbourhood Plan, you may wish to seek independent advice from a planning consultant or Locality, an independent network of community-led organisations.

Further Information

The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

A plain English guide to the Localism Act - GOV.UK

An introduction to neighbourhood planning - Department of Communities and Local Government

How to shape where you live: a guide to neighbourhood planning 2012 - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Sustainability Appraisal of Neighbourhood Plans - TCPA, 2011, Your Place, Your Plan - Levitt Thrivel, URS Scott Wilson, 2011, "DIY SA"