Neighbourhood Planning

Planning services

Customer notice:

Buckinghamshire Council Statement regarding Neighbourhood Planning and COVID-19


About neighbourhood planning

The Localism Act 2011 introduced new powers for suitably represented communities to create a Neighbourhood Plan.
For more information on the Localism Act and Neighbourhood Plans please follow the links below:

These powers include:

  • neighbourhood development plan which sets out where new homes and offices should be built and how they should look
  • neighbourhood development order which gives the community the ability to grant planning permission
  • Community Right to Build Order - planning permissions, granted by the community in order to deliver small-scale, site-specific community projects.

Whilst a neighbourhood plan may include policies on the development and use of land and can promote growth, neighbourhood plans cannot be used to propose a lower level of housing growth than that which has already been proposed within the strategic policies in the local plan.

The process

  1. An application for the designation of a neighbourhood area, which will need to confirm that the organisation making the application is the parish/town council or a neighbourhood forum (for unparished communities). The application will also state why the proposed area is appropriate, and must be accompanied by a map clearly showing the area being applied for. Regulation 5
  2. Buckinghamshire Council using its delegated power will designate the Neighbourhood Area
  3. The parish/town council or a neighbourhood forum (for unparished communities), produce their plan.
  4. The Council in conjunction with the PC appoints an independent examiner
  5. Buckinghamshire Council holds a public consultation on the plan, and the responses are sent to an independent examiner
  6. If the plan passes independent examination, the local community votes on whether it supports the plan (Referendum)
  7. If the majority of votes in the referendum supports the plan, it will be used to inform planning decisions in that neighbourhood

Under the Localism Act, the Council has a legal duty to offer help and advice to councils or forums producing neighbourhood plans. It is therefore advisable that plan intentions are made know early for the Council to determine what level of assistance to be offered.

The Council will organise and fund certain stages of the statutory requirement in the neighbourhood plan making process. These stages include:

  • The designation of the neighbourhood area
  • The independent examination
  • The referendum

For more information on the localism Act and guidance on how to produce a neighbourhood plan, you may wish to visit the attached links.

Neighbourhood Areas in South Bucks

There are eight declared Neighbourhood Areas in South Bucks:

Any community considering whether to bring forward a Neighbourhood Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order should contact the Planning Policy team using the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Higher Denham Neighbourhood Area Application

In addition to the Neighbourhood Areas above, on the 6th June 2017 the Higher Denham Community Association submitted an application to South Bucks District Council seeking to declare the settlement of Higher Denham as a Neighbourhood Area. South Bucks District Council consulted on the application from 23rd June to 4th August 2017. Following a separate application by Denham Parish Council to declare the whole of Denham Parish (including Higher Denham) as a Neighbourhood Area the application from the Community Association was refused. 

More information is available on the Higher Denham Neighbourhood Area Application page.