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Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood plans in the Adur & Worthing area:

About neighbourhood planning:

See also:

Introduction to Neighbourhood planning

Communities are being encouraged and empowered to prepare neighbourhood plans. The Localism Act introduces this concept whereby Parish Councils and neighbourhood forums can, if they wish, produce plans to shape and manage development for their local areas.

As the Government states, neighbourhood planning will:

give local people a real voice in deciding the look and feel of development in their area

Although regulations for neighbourhood plans are still awaited, the main principles are outlined below.

See also:

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What will neighbourhood plans do?

They will give local communities the opportunity to come together through a local Parish Council (or where these is no Parish council, a Neighbourhood Forum) and state where they think new houses, businesses and shops should go. The matters to be addressed in a neighbourhood plan must relate to development and the use of land and would have the aim of furthering the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals in the area, as well as shaping the area for the future.

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What type of area is suitable for neighbourhood plans?

The areas suitable for neighbourhood plans can be parishes and neighbourhoods (in areas that do not have parishes such as Worthing, this could include areas such as wards, housing estates and areas covered by residents' associations). Where there are not parish councils, the local authority will adjudicate on the boundary of the plan that a neighbourhood forum wants to prepare.

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Who can produce neighbourhood plans?

Parish Councils and Neighbourhood Forums (the latter to be formally designated by the Councils) can produce neighbourhood plans. Developers, businesses and land owners could be involved and work with local communities - funding and bringing forward plans.

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What is the role of the local authority?

The creation of neighbourhood plans is a partnership between the local community and the Councils. The Councils can advise and support the process. Support could include providing evidence, helping to procure consultants, facilitating the public consultation and the arranging and holding of the independent examination and the referendum. Unfortunately, with severe budget restrictions, the Councils will not be able to financially support neighbourhood plan production beyond what is currently budgeted for plan making unless further funding is made available by the Government. The following document outlines the support available from Adur & Worthing Councils to those undertaking Neighbourhood Plans:

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Planning context for Adur and Worthing

The Act makes clear that there remains the need to produce a district-wide development plan to set overall housing numbers and employment levels and to indicate broad locations for new development and change and strategic infrastructure over the next 20 years.

Any neighbourhood plan must be in line with national policies and also the strategic policies in an adopted district-wide/borough-wide plan. These plans incorporate the housing and employment floorspace targets for the area and development site allocations for housing, employment and other uses.

For Adur, this is currently the saved policies in the Adur Local Plan (1996) but later in 2014 it will be the more up-to-date Local Plan.

For Worthing, this is the adopted Core Strategy (2011).

The Adur Local Plan is currently being produced and it is important that residents and businesses input into this through all the consultation and engagement exercises currently underway and being planned over the next year. It is anticipated that the Local Plan will be adopted in spring 2014 and Neighbourhood Plans will need to accord with this.

Further details of timetabling for Development Plan Documents (DPDs) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) can be found in:

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What is the relationship between neighbourhood plans and Adur's emerging Local Plan?

As an overall guideline, the Local Plan will outline how many homes are to be built, where they are to be built and the timing of building in relation to infrastructure improvements. A neighbourhood plan can be very simple and concise, or go into considerable detail and this will be up to the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum developing the plan. It is anticipated that a neighbourhood plan would go into more detail by:

  • identifying smaller sites for development, community use and public open space
  • determining the type of housing that should be built
  • stating general principles of design for the new developments.

The Minister for Decentralisation and Cities, Greg Clarke, states that:

... with neighbourhood plans, we are defining a new basic building block of planning ... But not all planning can take place at that very local level. Neighbourhood plans don't replace wider, local plans. Nor do they diminish the importance of these local plans.

The idea is that using guidelines set in an adopted neighbourhood plan and using policies from the Local Plan, a community organisation will then be able to bring forward development proposals which, providing they meet minimum criteria and can demonstrate local support through a referendum, will be able to go ahead without requiring separate traditional planning applications. This will make it quicker and easier for development to go ahead in the future and ensure that development is concentrated and channelled through those areas that will support and contribute most to the community.

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Will communities be able to use neighbourhood plans to stop development in their area?

Neighbourhood plans must be in line with strategic policies and will not be able to block any new strategic development. The purpose of neighbourhood planning is about enabling development and adapting development to suit the community's needs but not stopping it. As a result, neighbourhood plans must provide for as much or more development as the District Council's plans require.

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What are the main steps in preparing a plan?

From inception to adoption, it is anticipated that a neighbourhood plan may take up to 18 months to produce. The main steps are:

  • Raising awareness - ensuring the local community in the area know that a plan is being produced and getting feedback on key issues.
  • Drafting the plan and ensuring it accords with existing plans and guidance.
  • Collection of appropriate evidence to support policies in the neighbourhood plan. There may also be a need to produce a sustainability appraisal to assess the impact of the plan on the environment.
  • Effective community engagement to ensure widespread community support.
  • An independent examination to check if the plan is 'sound' - that is in line with national guidance, European Directives, with strategic policies in the Local Plan and with any adjacent neighbourhood plans.
  • If the plan is found to be sound, this is to be put to a local referendum and will be approved if more than 50% of those voting vote in favour of it.
  • If the referendum is positive, then the local authority will have to adopt the plan and it will become part of the development plan for the area.

More information will be provided on neighbourhood plans once the Bill is enacted and there is more detailed guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government. This will also be accompanied by further advice on how the Councils will work with parish councils and those community groups interested in preparing a neighbourhood plan.

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Shoreham Beach Neighbourhood Plan

Shoreham Beach neighbourhood forum submitted an application to Adur Council in August 2014 for a neighbourhood area and to have their forum formally designated. This application was publicised for consultation from the 20th August to the 1st October 2014.

A decision was made on the 20th November 2014 by Adur Council to approve the Shoreham Beach neighbourhood area and designate the Shoreham Beach neighbourhood forum in relation to this area.

The Cabinet Member decision and report can be viewed below along with the original application submitted, which includes a map identifying the Shoreham Beach neighbourhood area and a copy of the written constitution of the Shoreham Beach Neighbourhood Forum:

Shoreham Beach Neighbourhood Forum is now able to begin formal preparation of a neighbourhood plan for Shoreham Beach. You can contact the Shoreham Beach neighbourhood forum

If you have any queries, please contact the:

  • Planning Policy team on 01273 263242

See also:

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Sompting Neighbourhood Plan - Update

Please note that the Pre-Submission version of the Sompting Parish Neighbourhood Plan 2015-2031 was published for consultation on 18th May 2015. The draft Plan and response forms are available on the:


Sompting Parish Council previously submitted an application to Adur Council and to the South Downs National Park Authority in September 2012 to designate the area of Sompting Parish as a Neighbourhood Plan Area. This application was publicised for consultation from the 10th October to the 23rd November 2012. The application submitted by Sompting Parish Council, along with designation information can be found below:

A decision was made on 17th December 2012 by Adur Council in liaison with the South Downs National Park Authority to approve this Neighbourhood Plan area.
The Cabinet Member decision and report can be viewed below:

A Neighbourhood Plan can now be produced by the local community for consultation, examination and finally put to a referendum prior to adoption.

See also:

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Useful links on external websites

Localism Act

Neighbourhood Planning

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