The Localism Act 2011 introduced a new right for communities to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan. This gives power to local communities to control where any type of development happens in their community and what it should look like.
The first Neighbourhood Plan to be completed was Upper Eden in Cumbria.
There are over 800 Neighbourhood Plans being written nationally.
Neighbourhood Plans take about 1- 2 years to complete
Funding is available through various sources including the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government)
When ‘made’ (the final stage) the Neighbourhood Plan is considered alongside the Local Authority Plan for planning applications in the area.
Somerford Steering Group
The process was started by Somerford Parish Council in November 2014 who appointed a Steering Group to take the process forward.
The Steering Group is supported by Cheshire East Council and Somerford Parish Council but are independent of them.
The first Steering Group meeting was in December 2014.
Somerford has applied to Cheshire East to be designated as a Neighbourhood Plan Area – the area applied for is the same as the area covered by Somerford Parish. The neighbourhood area was designated by Cheshire East on 20th July 2015.
The Steering Group must make sure that the Neighbourhood Plan complies with what is called the ‘Basic Conditions’:
- The Neighbourhood Plan must contribute to sustainable development
- The Neighbourhood Plan must be in general conformity with the strategic policies in the Cheshire East Local Plan
- The Neighbourhood Plan must follow national guidance which includes the National Planning Framework sometimes called the NPPF or the Framework.
- The Neighbourhood Plan is compatible with EU regulations.