Neighbourhood planning enables local communities to produce neighbourhood plans. These put in place planning policies which will shape future development in their area
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.
Current progress of Neighbourhood Plans
There are three 'made' Neighbourhood Plans in Fenland District Council - the March Neighbourhood Plan (made November 2017), the Parson Drove Neighbourhood Plan (made August 2020), and the Whittlesey Neighbourhood Plan (made May 2023).
Designated Neighbourhood Areas provides further details of made and emerging Neighbourhood Plans in Fenland.
Neighbourhood Area application form
If you are considering preparing a neighbourhood plan for your area, please contact the Neighbourhood Planning Team for an informal discussion about the process and your aspirations: firstname.lastname@example.org
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, please contact the Research & Performance Team at Cambridgeshire County Council.