A Neighbourhood Plan will contain planning policies for the Neighbourhood Area which will have to be taken into account by the Council’s planners when making planning decisions affecting land within the Neighbourhood Area. The Neighbourhood Plan forms part of the statutory development plan for the area, and will therefore be part of the planning process, sitting alongside national, London and Camden policies.
What sort of things can be included in the Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan can deal with a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues. However, because the Neighbourhood Plan is a planning document, it will focus on issues that come up in a planning context. This covers a wide range of issues related to land use. Some examples are:
- What sort of development should be allowed in the area?
- Where should development be located within the area?
- Should particular sites be allocated for particular types of development?
- Do we need more open space?
- Do we need more affordable housing or accommodation for the elderly?
- Do we need additional community facilities and, if so, what activities should be catered for?
Are there any limits on what can be included in the Neighbourhood Plan?
Because it is a planning document, the Neighbourhood Plan only has force in respect of planning issues. There are other issues of importance to the quality of the area that do not normally arise in a planning context. Although these may be addressed in the Neighbourhood Plan, they will not be binding on the Council as part of the planning process. It may be possible to establish projects, to be pursued outside the planning process, to address some of these issues which are important to the community. However, they will not be a formal part of the Neighbourhood Plan. Examples of some of these issues are:
- What can we do about litter in the area?
- How do we stop anti-social behaviour?
- How can we make existing buildings in the area more energy efficient?
- Can we get Boris bikes in the neighbourhood?
In addition, the policies included in the Neighbourhood Plan must not be inconsistent with those already included in national, London and Camden planning policies. It is not possible, for example, to provide that there should be NO development in the Neighbourhood Area. The draft Neighbourhood Plan must go through a review process before it comes into effect to determine whether it is consistent with the national, London and Camden planning policies.
What is the process for developing the Neighbourhood Plan?
The DPNF was established in February 2013 and recognised by Camden Council in September 2013. We are now carrying out a programme of consultation and engagement with residents and organisations in the area, seeking to identify themes and issues to be addressed in the Neighbourhood Plan. We will then prepare a first draft of the Plan, which we currently hope to complete by June 2016. Following a period of informal consultation, we will update the draft and prepare it for a formal consultation. There will be a 6-week public consultation on this second draft Plan, which again will be amended if necessary in light of the consultation. The Plan will then be submitted to Camden Council, who will check that the DPNF has followed all the necessary processes and will arrange for an independent examination to check that the Plan meets all the legal requirements. After any necessary modifications, the Plan will be submitted to a referendum. This will allow all local residents to vote on the adoption of the Plan. If more than 50% of those voting in the referendum vote ‘yes’, then the Neighbourhood Plan becomes part of the Development Plan for the area.