Neighbourhood Planning

October 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

A Neighbourhood Plan 

You have probably heard on the news, or seen articles in the press, about the Government giving more power to local people. The planning system was reformed by the Localism Act 2011, allowing new opportunities for local people to shape the development of the communities in which they live and work. This has introduced the prospect of a new type of community-led plan. These “Neighbourhood Plans” can be used to add detail and priorities for development at a local community level, while still staying consistent with the more strategic vision for the wider area. The wider picture will be set out by the Local Planning Authority – in our case that would be the Bedford Borough Council’s Local Plan. 

These Neighbourhood Plans are optional, however they can help you have a say in the future use of land and buildings in your neighbourhood. A Neighbourhood Plan can be flexible about what it includes, however it must be primarily about the use and development of land and buildings. 

It can be used to:

  • Develop a shared vision for your neighbourhood.
  • Identify and protect important local green spaces.
  • Choose where new homes, shops, offices and other development should be built.
  • Influence what new buildings should look like.
  • Promote more development than set out in the Local Plan. 

So what does all this mean for you and me? Well, your Parish Council is considering preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for the Parish of Great Barford. The team, so far, consists of Di Ames, Noreen Byrne and me Graham Pendrey as Chair, with the Clerk, Anne Papé to help administer things. This task may take around 18 months, and will be required to follow several steps through an established process. 

  • Decide if we need a Neighbourhood planCan we improve on the Borough’s Local Plan?
  • Getting startedEstablish a planning team. Check the national policy, local plan, and the regulations. Define the neighbourhood area.
  • Identifying the issuesWhat are the positives or negatives about our neighbourhood? Create a wish list. What can be improved or changed to make it a better place to live?
  • Develop a vision and objectivesGather information. Establish the long term aims. Look at the broad picture, the future look of the parish and its land use.
  • Generate optionsThe scale and mix of development, alternative land use, design. Alternative suggestions for the “what and the where”.
  • Draft a Neighbourhood PlanWork with interested bodies and consult the community to formulate plans. Test the options to check they are robust and compatible with all other policies.
  • Consultation and submissionStatutory consultations to ensure the plan is acceptable and suits the needs.
  • Independent examinationDouble check that the plan conforms with all obligations and other plans.
  • Referendum and adoptionThe plan is put to a vote, and if accepted, will be adopted by the local planning authority. 

So far 11 Parish Councils have proposed Neighbourhood Areas and had them designated within the Borough Council administrative area. However, no Neighbourhood Plans have been submitted to date. 

So what happens now? We are just about to start a journey into the future. A journey that will have many twists and turns, with lots of things to discover, and decisions to be made on the best direction to take. Because the destination will affect us all, we must involve everyone from the start. Come and join us on the community bus. 

What can you do? And how can you get involved? That’s easy, we call for volunteers to join the planning team. Yes, we need to get the community on board, to help navigate the bus that will take us on our journey. 

Want to help? Get in touch with us via the Parish Clerk. (

Your community needs you.


More information can be found on-line: – Giving communities more power in planning local development – Planning Practice Guidance, Neighbourhood Planning – Neighbourhood planning: a simple guide for councillors 

Bedford Borough Council – Neighbourhood Planning


Bedford Borough Council – Neighbourhood Plans Guidance 

CPRE/NALC – How to shape where you live: a guide to neighbourhood planning