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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

Bedford Borough Council is inviting comments on the submission version of the following neighbourhood plains accordance with Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Plan (General) Regulations 2012:

  • Sharnbrook consultation starts on 17 February 2021 and closes on 26 April 2021 at 5pm. The consultation period has been extended due to an amended Consultation Statement being published during the consultation period.
  • Harrold consultation starts on 1 March 2021 and closes on 6 May 2021 at 5pm. The consultation period has been extended due to an amended Site Assessment being published during the consultation period.
  • Willington consultation will start on 31 March 2021 and close on 16 May 2021 at 5pm.
  • Great Barford consultation will start on 1 April and close on 16 May at 5pm. 

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

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. 


Neighbourhood Area designation

Pre-submission consultation

Submission consultation



Date made


8 September 2016


1 July 2013

15 September - 31 October 2018

27 November to 19 January 2020 22 January 2020 to 11 March 2020 6 May 2021


18 August 2014

25 February – 8 April 2019

27 January 2020 to 9 March 2020 18 March 2020 to 5 June 2020 6 May 2021


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


11 July 2013

7 June - 20 July 2019

1 February to 14 March 2021


20 February 2015


30 July 2015

Dean and Shelton

30 July 2015

Felmersham and Radwell

3 November 2015

18 January to 28 February 2021

Great Barford

23 April 2015

14 December 2020 - 1 February 2021 1 April - 16 May 

Great Denham

7 January 2014


26 July 2016

18 September - 30 October 2020 1 March - 6 May 2021

Milton Ernest

1 July 2013

26 February - 11 April 2021


14 November 2013

19 September – 31 October 2018

12 June - 25 July 2019

15 August - 12 November 2019

27 February 2020 23 March 2020


20 June 2014

Pertenhall and Swineshead

11 April 2017


23 October 2019


7 September 2020 


14 March 2018


5 November 2014


27 September 2017

19 August - 23 October 2020 17 February - 26 April 2021


11 September 2015


7 September 2020


28 November 2013

23 April - 10 July 2019

9 December 2019 - 27 January 2020

10 July - 24 August 2020 26 August to 1 October 2020 6 May 2021


26 November 2013


1 July 2013

8 June - 20 July 2019

1 May - 15 June 2020 from  22 June to 7 August 2020 6 May 2021


19 April 2017

6 November - 19 January 2019 10 July - 24 August 2020 from 16 December 2020


14 November 2013


25 November 2015

23 October - 9 December 2019  31 March - 16 May 2021 


22 February 2017


9 June 2015

25 September - 6 November 2020

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 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).


  • 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:
  • 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