- Technical questions about neighbourhood plans
- Questions about the neighbourhood planning process
- Questions about applying for support
How can I find out more about Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)?
Strategic environmental assessment
You can find out more about strategic environmental assessment (SEA) by reading the Understand if your plan requires a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) guide.
Habitats Regulations Assessment screening requirements
A neighbourhood plan may need to undergo environmental ‘screening’ for the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) to determine whether it is likely to have a significant effect on a European designated site under the Habitats Directive. At the ‘screening’ stage it has been common to list the measures that were intended to avoid or mitigate any harmful effects of a neighbourhood plan.
In April 2018, in the case People Over Wind & Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta (“People over Wind”), the Court of Justice of the European Union clarified that it is not appropriate to take account of mitigation measures when screening plans and projects for their effects on European protected habitats under the Habitats Directive. In practice this means if a likely significant effect is identified at the screening stage of a habitats assessment, an ‘Appropriate Assessment’ must be undertaken.
A new basic condition will come into force on 28 December 2018 to allow neighbourhood plans and orders in areas where there could be a likely significant effect on a protected habitat to undertake a full ‘appropriate assessment’ to demonstrate how impacts will be mitigated, in the same way as would happen for a Local Plan.
How can I find out more about local green space designations and/or the green belt
Local green space
You can find out more about Green Spaces and Green Space Designation by reading the Making local green space designations in your neighbourhood plan toolkit.
The new NPPF now allows neighbourhood plans to amend the boundaries of green belts, where strategic policies (either in the local plan or a spatial development strategy) have established the need for changes to the green belt.
How do I work out my area’s housing need and how do I assess and allocate sites?
You can find out more about housing and housing needs assessment by reading the How to undertake a Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) guide.
Read the How to undertake a Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) guide.
Sites assessment and allocation
You can find out more about site assessment and allocation by reading the How to assess and allocate sites for development guide.
Read the How to assess and allocate sites for development guide
What are design codes?
A design code provides detailed design guidance for a site or area; they prescribe design requirements (or ‘rules’) that new development within the specified site or area should follow.
They can include requirements for built form (e.g. setting out a range of building types and how buildings should interact with the street), landscape, open space, and movement (e.g. access and ease of pedestrian movement), etc.
Design codes can vary in their level of requirements and the scale at which they operate, however they will be useful where there is a desire to:
- coordinate design outcomes across large or complex sites to deliver a vision that the local community wants to see;
- ensure consistency across large sites which may be in multiple ownership and/or where development is to be phased and more than one developer and design team is likely to be involved.
Design codes can provide certainty to the community as they give more confidence that new development coming forward will reflect community wants and needs.
Design codes also give more certainty to developers, as they will be able to design a scheme that is reflective of community aspirations, potentially speeding up the planning application process.
You can find more information on design codes within the Planning Practice Guidance at gov.uk
How do I create a neighbourhood plan and where do I find the regulations?
You can find out more about how to create a neighbourhood plan by reading How to create a Neighbourhood Plan: Your step by step roadmap guide.
You can find out more about neighbourhood planning regulations on legislation.gov.uk
Go to the neighbourhood planning legislation
I want to know more about how to establish a neighbourhood forum
You can find out how to establish a neighbourhood forum in the How to establish a neighbourhood planning forum guide.
Read the How to establish a neighbourhood planning forum guide.
I want to know more about neighbourhood area designation.
You can find out more about neighbourhood area designation in Part C – ‘Neighbourhood designation area’ of the How to create a Neighbourhood Plan: Your step by step roadmap guide.
Read the How to create a Neighbourhood Plan: Your step bystep roadmap guide.
I want to know more about community infrastructure levy (CIL).
You can find out more about the community infrastructure levy (CIL) and how it relates to you neighbourhood by going to the Understanding Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) toolkit.
Read the Understanding Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) guide
I have a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan, what’s next?
Producing a neighbourhood plan is just the beginning. It is important to make sure your made neighbourhood plan is used and doesn’t end up sitting on a shelf gathering dust.
It is essential to monitor how your plan is doing in the real world. Aspects of monitoring can include:
- Monitoring planning applications: The local authority will have to consider the neighbourhood plan anyway in their decision making, but being proactive and submitting responses to consultations on applications with specific reference to your plan policies can help ensure a strong influence.
- Monitoring LPA decisions on planning applications: The neighbourhood plan is one of a number of considerations for planning officers. Monitoring decisions on applications in relation to your neighbourhood plan can allow you to establish whether policies in your plan are doing what they set out to achieve (for example, are planning officers applying your policy in the way you had originally intended?). If not, you may want to considering revising your made neighbourhood plan.
- Monitoring the local and national planning policy context: National and local policy changes. It is important to keep up to date on these changes as they may have implications on your neighbourhood plan, with policies becoming out of date.
You may wish to set up a monitoring group after the plan has been made.
If you had community projects or aspirations in your plan, you may also want to set up an implementation group that focuses solely on bringing forward these schemes.
I have a ‘made’ plan and I wish to modify/review it.
Minor updates that would not materially affect policies may be made by the local planning authority, with consent from the qualifying body. In these circumstances, there is no need to repeat consultation, examination and the referendum. Similar provisions exist for correcting errors in a plan.
Substantial revision to a neighbourhood plan would need to go through the later stages of the process, from pre-submission consultation onwards.
Any group with a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan is eligible to apply for a new set of grant and technical support in order to modify their neighbourhood plan. Details can be found in the Grant Funding & Technical Support Guidance Notes.
What support am I eligible for and how can I apply?
What kind of support can you apply for?
There are two main types of support that groups can apply for provided you meet the eligibility criteria:
You can apply for both grant funding, and technical support.
Find out if you’re eligible for support
You can find out more about grant funding and technical support eligibility by reading the Neighbourhood Planning Guidance Notes.
How to apply for support
To apply for grant funding and/or technical support, you must first complete an expression of interest (EoI).
Once you have completed and submitted your EoI, a link to a personalised application form will be sent to your email address within one working day.
How do I apply for the additional grant?
It is exactly the same process as applying for basic grant or technical support. You complete an EOI form which will generate an application form which you’ll receive by email. There isn’t a separate form for the additional grant, it will look identical as the basic grant form, however when you apply for further grant any amount over the £9,000 basic grant will automatically be considered as the additional grant.
You can only apply for a maximum of £9,000 per application, so presumably, this will be your second or third application. We will see what you have previously been awarded and whether there was any under spend.
Please note this is only for groups that meet the additional criteria. See below:
- Allocating sites for housing
- Including design codes in your plan
- A designated business neighbourhood plan
- A cluster of three or more parishes writing a single plan
- A Neighbourhood Area with a population of over 25,000
How long will it take for my application to be assessed?
If you are applying for grant funding we will assess your grant within 15 working days of receiving all the information we need to assess the application.
If you are also applying for technical support you will be contacted by phone or email to arrange a diagnostic session to assess your support needs. All applications for Technical Support are presented to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to make a decision.
You can find more information by reading the Neighbourhood Planning Guidance Notes.
I am having problems with my application
My application form link is corrupted
Unfortunately this happens when you do not submit the application within the 15 day timeframe when the link is live. We cannot override this automatic process.
Hopefully you will have saved your answers in the word version of the blank application template, however if you have not, please complete a new EOI form to generate a new application which will be emailed to you automatically overnight.
I can’t access a page of my application
This happens when you have not filled in a required answer. When you scroll back up the application form you will see a black thick line above the question which needs to be completed before you can move on.
You can download a copy of a blank application template as a PDF to help you prepare your answers in advance, or download a Word version below.
I’ve submitted my expression of interest (EoI), but haven’t received my application form
Once you have completed and submitted your expression of interest (EoI), your application form will be sent to your email address within one working day.
If you don’t receive an email within 24 hours, please try the following:
1. Search your inbox for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Check your junk and spam folders – these are usually folders stored in or under your inbox folder
3. Try adding email@example.com to your ‘safe’ or ‘whitelist’ senders list in your email settings so the email can pass through your spam filter or junk folder
If none of these options work, please complete another EoI form, ensuring that your email address is correct and trying with an alternative email address (such as a Gmail or Yahoo account).
Some email addresses, such as @gov.uk, tend to automatically filter out unknown addresses.
If you have still not received an email with a link to your application form, please contact the Neighbourhood Planning team.
I cannot submit my application in the 15 day timeframe. What should I do?
Unfortunately, we cannot override this automatic process. Please copy and paste your answers from the live link into the blank application template, complete a new EOI form to generate a new application which will be emailed to you automatically overnight.
Once you have received the email with a unique URL to your new online application form copy and paste the answers from the template into the live link.
By using the template you are preventing any loss of data and you are also keeping a record of what you have submitted which will be a useful reference if the grant assessor has any questions regarding your application or perhaps for the future when you are completing the end of grant report.
You can download a blank application template to help you prepare your answers.
How do I find a planning consultant to help us?
We recommend that you speak to neighbouring groups who are making a plan to see who they are working with, and you can also contact your local planning authority.
You could also use the RTPI consultant directory. By entering your postcode you will find a chartered planner in the nearby area.
Please read out toolkit on how to commission consultants to help you further:
How do I complete my end of grant monitoring?
You can find out how to complete your end of grant monitoring by reading the Neighbourhood Planning Guidance Notes.
We are a forum/prospective forum and we are unincorporated, how to we find an accountable body to hold the grant for us?
We do not encourage forums to incorporate just to hold the grant as this will normally incur legal and financial costs such as audit fees.
You can find more information by reading the accountable body guidance. If you have any further questions then please contact Groundwork at firstname.lastname@example.org
*a Neighbourhood forum that does not have a separate legal status
Can’t find the answer to your question?
If your question hasn’t been answered or if it is more technical in nature, you can submit your question to us and a Locality Neighbourhood Planning expert will respond to your query within two working days.
More complex queries may take longer to answer and, where this is the case, we will let you know.