Neighbourhood Planning

What is a Community Plan?

The purpose of community plans is for the local community to identify problems, to explore the key services and facilities that an area needs, and to show how the character of the area might be protected or enhanced. A good community plan encompasses all those matters that the local community considers important and must include an action plan for those that could be addressed directly by the community itself. There is no fixed list of topics, but a plan might embrace, for example, affordable housing, retail services, health and personal care, traffic and crime prevention, etc.

Community-led planning is a step-by-step process that enables every citizen to participate in, and contribute to improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their local area. It represents an unparalleled opportunity for people to take responsibility for making things happen locally, rather than waiting on others to do it for them.

The Community Plan proposed for the Highams Park Area will be comprised of a Neighbourhood Plan and an Action Plan.

Neighbourhood Plans cover land use issues such as planning, protection of greenspaces, etc. Neighbourhood plans are encouraged under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011 (as amended in 2012) and are intended to hand key decision making powers back to local communities. In effect this means that when the Highams Park Plan is completed it will be included in the Council’s Local Plan and will influence planning decisions.

Action Plans are produced primarily by local communities, albeit sometimes with procedural advice, sometimes technical advice. They generally cover almost everything except direct land use planning issues; for example open spaces, health, safety etc., but inevitably overlap at times with land use planning. They focus on generating local action plans and local projects, for example open space maintenance. Action plans are not restricted to planning issues alone and can even include small things like litter picking to licensing, etc.  It depends what the residents want and include in the plan.