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Kingston upon Thames, UK

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What is Neighbourhood Planning all about?

March 6, 2017

 

It is a community-initiated process in which local people get together through a local forum and produce a plan for their neighbourhood setting out policies and proposals for the types of developments they wish to see in their area.

 

Neighbourhood Planning is about developing a vision for our future. Where we live, where we are raising our children, where we call home.

 

What is a Neighbourhood Forum?

The North Kingston Neighbourhood Forum is a resident-led, independent, non-political group established to further the social, economic and environmental well being of the area. There can only be one forum in an area.

 

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A planning document created by a Neighbourhood Forum which sets out a vision for the Neighbourhood Area and contains a range of policies and projects for the development and use of land in the area. Neighbourhood plans must be subjected to an independent examination to confirm that they meet legal requirements, and then to a local referendum. If approved by a majority vote of the local community, the neighbourhood plan will then form part of the statutory development plan. The life of the plan can be anywhere from 5-20 years.

 

What are policies?

Policies are statements of what the community would like to see happen in North Kingston. They are intended to encourage third parties who might invest / develop in North Kingston to work in accordance with the Neighbourhood Plan and Royal Borough of Kingston Planning Policies. They are meant to be positive and to encourage the types of development that the community wants and needs.

 

What are projects?

Policies are not the same as projects. Projects will be actively promoted and taken forward by the community and will generally relate to improvements to a particular part of North Kingston.

Opportunities and Advantages

A neighbourhood plan offers several advantages over the council’s Local Plan:

  • As they are led by a local neighbourhood forum, it means that the community representatives write the plan themselves. (This may need the help of specialist consultants).

  • Community groups have the opportunity to engage properly with the wider community right from the start, to make sure it genuinely represents community requirements.

More Influence

A neighbourhood plan would be a part of the statutory development plan for the area. This means that the neighbourhood plan would carry more weight as a consideration in planning decisions, effectively giving the local community more influence over the development in their area.

 

More Relevance

Whilst the Local Plan covers the whole borough, a neighbourhood plan focuses on the needs of the local community, and would specify in more detail what they expect from development e.g. it could contain more detail on urban design, preferred location for housing and or other development. It is about guiding and shaping development, not undermining its delivery.

 

The plan could also guide the provision of infrastructure e.g. Improving pedestrian links, upgrading paths and open space or where community facilities should be located.

 

The process can take up to 2 years depending on the complexity of the plan policies chosen by the Forum. It will also require some funding to be obtained.

 

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