A Neighbourhood Plan is a document that sets out planning policies for a local area. It is used to decide whether to approve planning applications including new buildings or changes to existing buildings, giving it genuine influence on the future of an area. Neighbourhood Planning was introduced to the planning system through the Localism Act 2011.
Neighbourhood Plans are usually prepared by groups set up by Parish Councils with input from the local community and must be supported by locally based evidence.
Residents of the Parish have a chance to vote on a neighbourhood plan at a local referendum. If more than 50% of those voting in the referendum vote 'yes' , then the local planning authority will bring the plan into legal force. This statutory staus gives the Neighbourhood Plans far more weight than other local documents such as parish plans and village design statements.