Neighbourhood Planning

Introduction

Through changes to the planning system, including the Localism Act, neighbourhood planning is the Government's initiative of empowering local communities to help make and take forward planning proposals at a local level. The intention is that local people will be the driver to help shape how their local communities grow and develop over the coming years.

Neighbourhood development plans can only be made by one of two groups: parish or town councils or neighbourhood forums. The Isle of Wight Council has a duty to support groups who want to prepare a neighbourhood development plan. This support will be given in two main ways: by being responsible for the statutory processes required for neighbourhood development plans, and by providing technical advice, guidance and support.

If you are considering undertaking a neighbourhood development plan, it is suggested you contact the Planning Policy Team via the Contact link above to see how they can help you.

A neighbourhood development plan must be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the local development plan, which for the Island is the Island Plan Core Strategy.

You can find further details on how to prepare a neighbourhood plan in our guidance note Local Voices, Island Issues – Neighbourhood Planning (PDF, 682KB, 16 pages), Department of Communities and Local Government’s FAQs on Neighbourhood Planning (PDF, 66KB, 5 pages), the Planning Advisory Service (website) or by visiting the Planning Portal (website).

Evidence will be key to neighbourhood planning. In the preparation of our policy documents, the council uses a wide array of evidence based studies which can be viewed on our Key Background Documents by clicking here website.

A proposed neighbourhood development plan will be subject to an Examination in Public. If this is successful the document will be published for a local referendum and, as long as it received 50% or more with regards to support, the Isle of Wight Council will adopted the document into the Island Plan and use it to determine planning applications in that area.

Sustainability Appraisals (SA) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA)

Sustainability Appraisals and Strategic Environmental Assessments are a way of assessing what you are planning for your local area to show that your plans are the most sustainable options for your area. Your Neighbourhood Plan may not need to go through this process.

Please contact us once you are able to provide information that addresses the following areas so that we can help you further:

  • How proposals in the plan/order might affect the environment, society or economy.
  • Whether the plan proposes a higher level of development than has been identified in the relevant Island Plan documents.
  • Whether the plan will lead to major (development) projects in the future.
  • Whether the plan is likely to affect nature conservation sites of EU importance.

We can then carry out a screening exercise to determine whether or not your proposed neighbourhood plan or order will require a Strategic Environmental Assessment. Regardless of the determined requirement, you may decide to carry out a Sustainability Appraisal of your plan, which can be a useful tool in determining the most appropriate outcomes and a Sustainability Appraisal can be carried out incorporating the requirements of a Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Carrying out a Sustainability Appraisal

Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report

The first stage in the Sustainability Appraisal process involves establishing the scope of the SA, i.e. the issues it will concentrate on. This has clear parallels with the plan-making process where the aim is to identify the key issues for the area and focus the plan on addressing these. In order to identify the issues for both the plan and the SA it is necessary to first establish an evidence base.

The Scoping Report documents the first main stage (Stage A) of the Sustainability Appraisal (incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) process for the relevant plan. The specific tasks to be carried out at this stage are:

A1: Identifying other relevant policies, plans and programmes, and sustainability objectives.

A2: Collecting baseline information.

A3: Identifying sustainability issues and problems.

A4: Developing the SA framework.

A5: Consulting on the scope of the SA.

The Stages of Sustainability Appraisal

Scoping is the first of five stages of the SA process, that should be carried out concurrently with, be informed by and inform the neighbourhood plan in an iterative manner. The stages of SA, including Scoping are summarised below:

Stage A: Setting the context, establishing baseline and deciding on scope (including producing a Scoping Report).

Stage B: Developing and refining options and assessing effects.

Stage C: Preparing the SA Report.

Stage D: Consulting on the plan and SA Report.

Stage E: Monitoring the significant effects of implementing the plan.

For full details of each stage please see the section below headed Useful Information to assist the SA process.

The level of detail of an SA

An SA need not be done in any more detail, or using more resources, than is useful for its purpose. The SA should focus on the significant sustainability effects of the plan, and consider alternatives that take into account the objectives and geographical scope of the document.

Article 5 of the SEA Directive lists some factors to be considered in deciding what information to include in the Environmental Report, which are equally valid for an SA Report:

  • Information that may reasonably be required, taking into account current knowledge and methods of assessment.
  • The contents and level of detail of the plan.
  • The objectives and geographical scope of the plan.
  • The stage reached in the decision making process.
  • The extent to which it would be more appropriate to assess certain matters elsewhere in the decision-making process.

Useful information to assist the SA process:

Please feel free to view the documents listed above by clicking the links, we would also strongly encourage you to look at the SA work (including both Scoping and SA Reports) that accompanies the Core Strategy. This should provide a useful start point in terms of identifying potential issues, baseline information, other relevant policies, plans, programmes and sustainable development objectives and potential consultees. It can also help in developing the SA framework prior to consultation on the Scoping Report.