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Neighbourhood Planning: Written Statement

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Minister of State for Housing and Planning Gavin Barwell published a written ministerial statement last Tuesday on neighbourhood planning, building on proposals to further strengthen development through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and allows communities to have more say on local planning and shape development in their areas.

In his statement, The Minister acknowledged community frustrations at the lack of a five year land supply on deliverable housing and highlighted that “out-of-date” plans should not be deemed outdated unless there is a significant lack of land supply for housing in the wider local authority area.

He also stated that those communities who brought forward their plans in advance of this statement, would be given time to review their plans.

This means that relevant policies for the supply of housing in a neighbourhood plan, that is part of the development plan, should not be deemed to be ‘out-of-date’ where all of the following circumstances arise at the time the decision is made:

  • This written ministerial statement is less than 2 years old, or the neighbourhood plan has been part of the development plan for 2 years or less;
  • the neighbourhood plan allocates sites for housing; and
  • the local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

The Minister added that, following consultation, the Government expects to set out its policy for neighbourhood planning in the forthcoming White Paper on Housing which is due to be published in the New Year.

Barwell finished by stating that he was extending the period for the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to travel through Parliament by a further six months, in light of potential policy changes under consideration.