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About neighbourhood planning


Following the designation of the majority of areas and forums, many neighbourhood groups have moved on to start development of a Neighbourhood Plan. Neighbourhood groups can also develop Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.

This page helps preparing a Neighbourhood Plan, however, we recommend you read our neighbourhood planning guide and the locality neighbourhood plans roadmap guide which provides detailed guidance.


1. Key stages in development

Community and stakeholder engagement

Early and on-going engagement should be included, and a formal pre-submission consultation is a legal requirement. 

Council officers wouldn't usually attend neighbourhood consultations, however, if it would be useful for someone from the council to speak about a specific issue contact before the meeting so an appropriate person can attend.

The results of consultations can be useful to the council in developing our own policies.

Sharing this information with us can help avoid consultation ‘overload’ and local communities may also be better at engaging with groups who are less involved with local plan preparation. 

Building the evidence base

However, there are also many sources of information on the internet which can be accessed directly.

Plan preparation

All neighbourhood plans are tested against the 4 conditions:

  • there is appropriate regard to national policy
  • they contribute to the achievement of sustainable development
  • they are in general conformity with the strategic policies of the development plan (Westminster’s City Plan and the London Plan)
  • they are compatible with EU obligations, including human rights requirements

More information

The council encourages close working relationships on policy development: timely advice from the council can help avoid pointless work by the neighbourhood group.

It is also important that expectations are realistic, particularly during the necessary engagement and consultation stages.

Neighbourhood plans should be in general conformity with the strategic policies in the development plan.

There is, therefore, considerable scope for neighbourhood plans to include detailed planning policies appropriate to the neighbourhood area and reflecting the local community’s wishes and aspirations.

A neighbourhood plan can also include site allocations, or additional policy for existing site allocations, providing it is in general conformity.

It is also suggested that plans include lists of local projects to support development in order of priority to help inform decisions around CIL spending.

After the plan is prepared, it is submitted to the council who check compliance with the basic requirements and consult on it.

The plan is then examined by an independent person who reports back to the council.

The council will then organise a referendum for the neighbourhood plan.

If the plan has more than 50% yes votes, the council will bring the plan into force.

In designated business areas there are two referendums: 1 for residents registered on the electoral register and 1 for non-domestic ratepayers.

If both referendums have a 50% or more yes vote, the council will bring the plan into force.

If 1 has a majority ‘yes’ and 1 a majority ‘no’, it is at the discretion of the council whether to bring the plan into force.

2. External advice

There are many resources available as listed below if you need further advice.

Locality - information on grants available, including the new neighbourhood planning workshop grant. Key guides are: 

4. Baseline neighbourhood statistics

The following datasets are intended to assist neighbourhood forums in the preparation of their neighbourhood pans.

The 2011 census data is available at various levels of geography, however, designated neighbourhood areas only align with output areas (the small level of geography of which some data is available).

Download all 2011 census data (zip, 3MB) under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


You can also download spreadsheets for individual themes of the census data:

Each spreadsheet has a column called ‘Neighbourhood’ in blue text. Users should filter this column to show the output areas within a designated neighbourhood area which will allow users to calculate the sum of subsequent columns in the spreadsheet.

Last updated: 3 August 2020