Preparing a neighbourhood plan
Once the neighbourhood area has been designated Tewkesbury Borough Council can meet with the parish or town council to discuss next steps, as required. This initial meeting is likely to cover:
An overview of the neighbourhood planning stages
Setting up a steering group
Timescales, budget setting and funding options
Support available from Tewkesbury Borough Council and others
Evidence requirements; and
Meeting the basic conditions, for example environmental assessment of a plan.
Typical activities in the preparation of a neighbourhood plan might include:
Gathering views from parish residents' and businesses' on how they want their local area to be planned, and relevant background information about their neighbourhood area. This information will form part of the evidence base required to support the plan.
Consulting residents and businesses in the neighbourhood area on drafts of the plan;
Producing evidence in support of the plan’s policies; and
Working with Tewkesbury Borough Council on environmental assessments of the plan.
What is Tewkesbury Borough Council’s role in neighbourhood planning?
Tewkesbury Borough Council has a duty to support and advise local communities wishing to engage in neighbourhood planning. National planning guidance states that:
‘A local planning authority should:
· be proactive in providing information to communities about neighbourhood planning.
· fulfil its duties and take decisions as soon as possible, and within statutory time periods ….
· set out a clear and transparent decision making timetable….
· constructively engage with the community throughout the process including when considering the recommendations of the independent examiner….’
Tewkesbury Borough Council will not be able to write your plan for you, but will help guide and support you through the process and review drafts of the plan as it emerges.
Regulation 14 – Pre-submission consultation and publicity of draft plan
The relevant body (parish or town council) are required to undertake a 6 week consultation prior to the neighbourhood plan being formally submitted to Tewkesbury Borough Council for examination. This pre-submission version of the plan should be the preferred approach for the area and not contain options.
The relevant body will be responsible for bringing the plans consultation to the attention of people who live, work or run a business in the designated neighbourhood area.
If a Strategic Environmental Assessment or Habitats Regulation Assessment is required for the plan, this should also be consulted on at the same time.
The relevant body should consult any of the consultation bodies whose interests it considers may be affected by the draft plan. The consultation bodies are set out in Schedule 1 to the Regulations.
Tewkesbury Borough Council also advise that any bordering parish/town councils and/or local planning authorities be consulted. Consideration should also be given to the need to consult local businesses, local landowners and interest groups.
Tewkesbury Borough Council’s, Planning Policy Team should also be consulted. We will review the plan in regards to environmental assessment requirements and other legislation, general conformity with the Tewkesbury Statutory Development Plan and national policy, as well as a more general review of the plan, to help ensure the plan is on track to meet the basic conditions.
At the end of the 6 week consultation the relevant body should consider all the comments received and make any necessary amendments to the plan. A consultation statement should detail all the community engagement undertaken in developing the plan and include the Regulation 14 consultation undertaken and summarise the comments received.
Regulation 16 - Submission of final plan
The final plan should be submitted to Tewkesbury Borough Council’s, Planning Policy Team, who will undertake the Regulation 16 Submission of the Final Plan. This version of the plan will be submitted to an independent examiner, therefore it is important to ensure that the parish or town council preparing the plan are confident that it will meet the ‘basic conditions’.
It is highly recommended that you discuss the submission version of the plan with Tewkesbury Borough Council prior to formal submission. This will give the plan the best opportunity of success at the examination stage.
The submission (Regulations 15) documentation the relevant body (parish or town council) should submit to Tewkesbury Borough Council, should consist of:
A map showing the area in which the Neighbourhood Development Plan covers (i.e. the designated neighbourhood area)
The proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan
A consultation statement
A ‘basic conditions’ statement
Any accompanying Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and/or Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA), where appropriate.
Tewkesbury Borough Council, upon receipt, will check to ensure all the regulations have been met. It is important to ensure the process has been followed, as the plan could be declined if it does not meet the required regulations.
Tewkesbury Borough Council’s, Planning Policy Team will then:
Advertise and publish the plan for at least 6 weeks for representations
Following the conclusion of the 6 week consultation period, the Planning Policy Team will make a recommendation regarding the plans progress to the examination stage, with the final approval being given by the next available meeting of the Executive Committee; and as appropriate
Notify the consultation bodies the plan has been submitted for consultation (Regulation 16).
Examination and referendum
Tewkesbury Borough Council will organise and pay for the examination and referendum of the plan and working with the relevant body, appoint an examiner.
Following a successful examination, a neighbourhood plan should then be subject to referendum. All those eligible to vote in local elections in the defined neighbourhood area covered by the neighbourhood plan will get an opportunity to vote on the plan.
If more than 50% of the people who vote, are in favour of the plan being made (adopted) Tewkesbury Borough Council must formally make/adopt the plan. It will then be part of the Tewkesbury Borough Statutory Development Plan and as such used to help determine planning applications in the defined neighbourhood area.
There are only exceptional circumstances where Tewkesbury Borough Council may decide not to bring the plan into legal force, such as they disagree with the examiner regarding compatibility with European Union obligations and Human Rights conventions.
Neighbourhood planning in Tewkesbury
To find details on neighbourhood plans made in Tewkesbury Borough; current consultations on neighbourhood plans; and communities engaged in the process and what stage they are at, go to our neighbourhood planning in Tewkesbury webpage.
Visit our how to get involved in neighbourhood planning to read more about:
What to do if you want to embark on a neighbourhood plan
How to apply for a neighbourhood area designation
Funding for neighbourhood planning groups