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Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to produce neighbourhood plans which put in place planning policies which will shape future development in their area.

Neighbourhood Planning

What is Neighbourhood Planning?

The Localism Act 2011 introduced the concept of neighbourhood planning. Under the Localism Act 2011, relevant bodies (notably parish and town councils in the case of the district of Fenland) are able to apply to designate an area as a neighbourhood area and subsequently prepare a neighbourhood development plan, neighbourhood development order, or both for their neighbourhood area.

The neighbourhood planning process is initiated by the relevant parish or town council, not Fenland District Council. The process of preparing a neighbourhood plan or order is led by the relevant parish or town council, whom are responsible for meeting the majority of the associated costs, although Fenland District Council does have a duty to support parish and town councils throughout the process. The preparation of neighbourhood plans and orders is optional: parish and town councils are under no obligation to prepare a neighbourhood plan or order.

The various stages involved in the neighbourhood planning process are outlined in Section 6 of the pdf icon Fenland Statement of Community Involvement [1Mb].

Further useful information on neighbourhood planning can be found on the Planning Portal and My Community Rights websites.

Evidence to support Neighbourhood Plans

Neighbourhood Plans must be informed by proportionate and relevant local evidence to complement the community engagement and consultation undertaken. Cambridgeshire County Council Research and Performance Team host a wide range of evidence tools on the Cambridgeshire Insight website which can help inform Neighbourhood Plans. In particular:

  • General evidence: Census 2011 statistics provide the most comprehensive range of local area evidence available, and are a good source to stimulate thinking about the nature of a community. Interactive excel databases provide ease of access to 2011 Census Cambridgeshire data at parish, ward, electoral division, market town and district levels. Each profile sheet within the database is formatted so that profiles can be printed off as a two-page handout. Data can also be viewed by topics, such as population, religion, or qualifications.
  • Population forecasts: The current and future age structure of local populations play a significant role in shaping communities, and are important factors to take into account when considering how the built environment should look in the future. Population forecasts at ward and district level are split by age bands, providing an estimate of changing age structures within local area populations between now and 2036.
  • Housing evidence: Housing is often a key issue when developing a Neighbourhood Plan. Parish and ward level interactive housing data atlases provide housing evidence in a visual way, allowing users to explore evidence about the number, type, size and mix of housing in local areas, and also the number of households on the housing needs register who want to live in a particular area.

If you need help to find what you are looking for, contact the Research & Performance Team.

Adopted Neighbourhood Plans

The March Neighbourhood Plan was formally adopted by Fenland District Council on 2 November 2017 following a successful examination and referendum.