About Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood planning is a key part of the Localism Act. It gives greater powers to local communities to shape the development of their area by preparing planning policies at a local level.  

In Milton Keynes borough, Neighbourhood Planning is led by Parish and Town Councils working with their communities. Milton Keynes Council provides technical support and is responsible for making the necessary decisions at key stages of the Neighbourhood Plan preparation process.

The Localism Act introduced three new community-led initiatives under the neighbourhood planning system:

Neighbourhood Development Plans

Producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan provides an exciting opportunity for communities to become directly involved in planning policy. A plan allows the local community to create a vision and planning policies for the use and development of land in its area, for example, where new homes and businesses can be built and what they should look like.

Neighbourhood Development Plans can be general or more detailed, depending on what is important to local people. They must however, conform with the strategic policies in the Milton Keynes Core Strategy (and in Plan:MK in due course) and  should not be used to promote a lower level of development than is already planned for. A Neighbourhood Plan can, however, plan for more development.

We encourage parishes to seek advice and support from us early in the development of their plan as this can help to:

  • Ensure the plan meets legal and other requirements
  • Reduce the risk of costly and lengthy examinations
  • Reduce the risk of uncertain referendums

Neighbourhood Development Orders

A Neighbourhood Development Order allows a community to grant planning permission for development they want to see go ahead in a neighbourhood. For example, it enables them to allow certain developments, such as extensions to houses, to be built without the need to apply for planning permission.

Community Right to Build

The Community Right to Build enables community organisations to progress new local developments without the need to go through the normal planning application process, as long as the proposals meet certain criteria and there is community backing in a local referendum.

For further information and guidance on neighbourhood planning see Advice, Support and Guidance and FAQs.

Neighbourhood Planning: Ministerial Statement, 12th December 2016 

On 12th December 2016, the Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell, published a written ministerial statement that has the potential to strengthen neighbourhood plans in areas where the local authority does not have a five-year housing land supply.

The Ministerial Statement  comes into effect immediately, applying to decisions made on planning applications and appeals from 12th December 2016. The statement should be read in conjunction with the National Planning Policy Framework and is a material consideration in relevant planning decisions.

Paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date, and housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The Statement means that, where a local authority is unable to demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply, relevant policies for the supply of housing in a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan (ie one that is part of the development plan), should not be deemed to be ‘out-of-date’ under paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework where all of the following circumstances arise at the time the decision on a planning application is made:

  • The 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 (NB: Milton Keynes Council can currently demonstrate in excess of a three-year housing land supply)

The Statement is a strong indication of the importance that the government places on the role of neighbourhood plans in allocating and delivering sites for housing.

Currently, the Ministerial Statement will apply to the made Neighbourhood Plans in for the Lakes Estate, Newport Pagnell, Walton, Sherington and Castlethorpe although more Neighbourhood Plans that are allocating sites for additional housing are under preparation.

Last Updated: 18 December 2017