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Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning is a way local people can shape development of the communities in which they live.

The Localism Act 2011 reformed the planning system and introduced a new tier of statutory plans to be prepared at the neighbourhood level by parish councils or town councils (where they exist) or in other areas, community members acting together as a neighbourhood forum.

View the Government's 'plain English' guide to the Localism Act (PDF) for more information.

It is important that you talk to us if you are thinking of preparing a Neighbourhood Development Plan, as they form a legal part of planning policy and must follow a formal process.

View the Council's Neighbourhood Plans Guidance (PDF) or read our  Neighbourhood planning frequently asked questions.

Changes due to the Coronavirus outbreak

Regulation 16 submission consultations on neighbourhood plans can still take place. Information will continue to be available on this website and appropriate arrangements will be made where possible to provide paper copies for inspection, while respecting social distancing.

The independent examination of neighbourhood plans can still commence, however, due to restrictions on travel, the examiner cannot undertake site visits at this time so some examinations may not conclude until the restrictions are lifted.

Changes to national planning practice guidance include more detail about decision making with regard to the current situation and states:

  • Where the local planning authority has issued a decision statement (as set out under Regulation 25 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012) detailing its intention to send a neighbourhood plan to referendum, that plan can be given significant weight in decision-making, so far as the plan is material to the application.

All neighbourhood plan referendums are postponed until 6 May 2021 in line with the Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.

Consultations on neighbourhood plans

The Borough Council is inviting comments on the submission version of two new Neighbourhood Plans in accordance with Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Plan (General) Regulations 2012. The consultations will close on 24  August 2020 at 5pm.

The consultation on the Thurleigh Neighbourhood Plan has now closed. 

Neighbourhood Area designations

The first stage in the neighbourhood planning process is the designation of a Neighbourhood Area. The proposed Neighbourhood Area will need to be formally approved by Bedford Borough Council.

Formal consultation will take place and any representations received will be considered before a final decision is made.

There are currently no neighbourhood area designations under consultation.

To submit an application for a Neighbourhood Area, please contact planningpolicy@bedford.gov.uk.

The Neighbourhood Areas that have been designated are shown on the map of Neighbourhood Areas (PDF)

Neighbourhood plans under preparation

Following the designation of a Neighbourhood Area, the Qualifying Body (in most cases this is the Parish Council) can prepare their Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Click on each name in the table to go to the relevant website. 

Name

Neighbourhood Area designation

Pre-submission consultation

Submission consultation

Examination

Referendum

Date made

Brickhill

8 September 2016

Bletsoe

1 July 2013

15 September - 31 October 2018

27 November to 19 January 2020 22 January 2020 to 11 March 2020

Bromham

18 August 2014

25 February – 8 April 2019

27 January 2020 to 9 March 2020 18 March 2020 to 5 June 2020

Cardington

8 June 2016

Carlton and Chellington

17 March 2016

25 May – 6 July 2018

12 June - 25 July 2019

12 August to 15 October 2019

30 January 2020 4 March 2020

Clapham

11 July 2013

7 June - 20 July 2019

Colmworth

20 February 2015

Cople

30 July 2015

Dean and Shelton

30 July 2015

Felmersham and Radwell

3 November 2015

Great Barford

23 April 2015

Great Denham

7 January 2014

Harrold

26 July 2016

Milton Ernest

1 July 2013

Oakley

14 November 2013

19 September – 31 October 2018

12 June - 25 July 2019

15 August to 12 November 2019

27 February 2020 23 March 2020

Pavenham

20 June 2014

Pertenhall and Swineshead

11 April 2017

Ravensden

23 October 2019

Riseley

14 March 2018

Roxton

5 November 2014

Sharnbrook

27 September 2017

Stagsden

11 September 2015

Stevington

28 November 2013

23 April - 10 July 2019

9 December 2019 - 27 January 2020

10 July - 24 August 2020

Stewartby

26 November 2013

Thurleigh

1 July 2013

8 June - 20 July 2019

1 May - 15 June 2020 from  22 June to 7 August

Turvey

19 April 2017

6 November - 19 January 2019 10 July - 24 August 2020

Wilden

14 November 2013

Willington

25 November 2015

23 October - 9 December 2019 

Wilstead

22 February 2017

Wootton

9 June 2015

Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden

12 November 2014

Council guidance

Bedford Borough Council has produced detailed guidance on how we will work with parish councils and neighbourhood forums undertaking neighbourhood planning.

We have a service level agreement (SLA) with Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) to assist with neighbourhood planning. If you require advice please contact planningpolicy@bedford.gov.uk in the first instance.

In order to use maps produced by Bedford Borough Council in any publications, a public sector mapping agreement (PSMA) must be signed to allow sharing of maps that have been produced. Further information is available from Ordnance Survey.

We can't provide bespoke maps for the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Groups, but we can provide a Parish map. There are a number of private companies that can produce and print maps for your documents.

Further details the about use of Ordnance Survey based information is available in the OS mapping briefing note (PDF).

Guidance

  • Neighbourhood Planning Roadmap Guide – Locality has produced a comprehensive guide to neighbourhood planning and the document is a useful introduction to the process.
  • Funding – The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have made funding available to provide support for preparing a Neighbourhood Plan and this is administered by Locality. For groups writing a neighbourhood plan or preparing a neighbourhood development order up to £8,000 will be available. A further £6,000 is available for more complex issues, however this is subject to meeting further criteria. Full details of how to apply. The cost of the examination and referendum will be met by Bedford Borough Council.
  • Planning Aid has a lot of useful information on their website including guidance notes, case studies and videos. Their guidance notes are available here: neighbourhoodplanning.org/resources
  • Locality has produced a guidance note for carrying out housing needs assessments for neighbourhood plans. Use the guide How to undertake a Housing Needs Assessment (HNA).
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - Government advice and guidance on neighbourhood planning can be found on the Planning Portal website.
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government produces a bulletin on national progress in neighbourhood planning. Follow the link to view the bulletins.
  • Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012
  • Green Infrastructure Plans – Green infrastructure is an important part of development and to provide evidence in the Neighbourhood Plan, the qualifying body may choose to commission a Green Infrastructure Plan. Further details on what this will involve is outlined Green Infrastructure Plan briefing note (PDF).
  • Historic Environment – the historic environment is one theme that a Neighbourhood Plan may cover. Further information is available in this briefing note produced by the Historic Environment Team at Bedford Borough.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

The Community Infrastructure Levy was introduced in April 2013. If there is an adopted Neighbourhood Development Plan, or Neighbourhood Development Order, this will have implications for the amount of funding for local infrastructure priorities that is passed to the parish councils (or to be used by the council for local infrastructure priorities in unparished areas) from developments granted planning permission.

The amount of funding is currently 25% of the CIL received from developments. Further information is available here.

Infrastructure issues

Infrastructure should be considered as part of a Neighbourhood Plan, particularly when development sites are to be included as allocations. The qualifying body should consider what additional infrastructure may be needed to cater for future development and how this may be delivered. It would also be useful to consider what the likely impacts on proposed site allocations would be on the existing services. Contact should be made in at an early stage of the plan process with the infrastructure providers.

Contact details

For further information, please contact planningpolicy@bedford.gov.uk