What is a Neighbourhood Plan and what can it do?

A Neighbourhood Plan is a planning document that allows people to influence the development of their local area. Neighbourhood plans arose out of the Localism Act 2011.


The term is, unfortunately, easily confused with a Local Plan. The North Hertfordshire District Council Local Plan will outline where North Herts allocates land to build the many new houses central Government demands of it.


Our Ickleford Neighbourhood Plan cannot contradict the Local Plan, but can provide much more detail, giving us more say in any development that comes. It can also go beyond housing allocations to look at other aspects of village life.


Things it might cover include:

  • The development of housing, including affordable housing
  • Provision for businesses
  • Transport and access
  • The development of community facilities
  • The design of buildings
  • Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and the planting of trees
  • Protection of important buildings and historic assets

(These examples are from the Campaign to Protect Rural England)


A Neighbourhood Plan must demonstrate that it is genuinely based on a community’s views and wishes.


If adopted, it becomes part of the statutory development plan for the area and must be considered by planners and developers. This gives it much more legal weight than other initiatives, such as the Parish Plan, although it may follow a similar approach to gaining residents’ opinions.



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How does it work?

The plan can be very broad or narrow in scope. What we end up with depends on what

matters to the people of Ickleford. The project needs to engage as many people as possible to make it as useful and credible as possible.


The starting point is to identify the main issues that people care about. We will be asking:

  • What do you like about Ickleford?
  • What could we improve?
  • What would you like to see in any new development that may come?


Once the main themes are identified, people will be asked their views on specific issues. This is likely to involve a household survey to obtain more detail and provide evidence of the community’s wishes.


The next stage will be writing the plan. This must undergo consultation and be assessed by an independent examiner. A final version is then offered to residents for them to accept or reject. The process is likely to take about three years.


How can I get involved?

  • Give us your views on Ickleford
  • Talk to your friends and family, and encourage them to share their views
  • Help us make sure everyone has a chance to give their opinion
  • Join the steering group
  • Help develop parts of the plan in which you have some knowledge or interest
  • Help deliver leaflets, or deliver and collect questionnaires



The national network, Locality, is delivering the Neighbourhood Planning Support Programme for the Government. They have lots of information and resources on their website neighbourhoodplanning.org


They state, in very simple terms, a neighbourhood plan is:

  • A document that sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area – planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications
  •  Written by the local community, the people who know and love the area, rather than the Local Planning Authority
  • A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place


Help us plan Ickleford's future

© 2018 Ickleford Neigbourhood Plan Steering Commitee

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