The Localism Act of 1911 introduced new rights and powers to allow local communities to shape development by coming together to prepare neighbourhood plans.

Neighbourhood planning can be taken forward by two types of body – town and parish councils or ‘neighbourhood forums’.  Neighbourhood forums are community groups that are designated to take forward neighbourhood planning in areas without parishes.  All of the South Hams is parished so there will be no opportunity for them here, but parish councils can use the new powers to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in their neighbourhood.

The Planning Inspectorate has provided a good guide to to the processes and requirements for the preparation of neighbourhood plans, and their FAQis also worth reading.

SHDC has also produced its own guide.  In an effort to find out more about how SHDC will facilitate neighbourhood plans the Society wrote to its Chief executive as follows on 30 July 2012:

Dear Mr Sheard

As you will know the implementation of the National Planning Policy Framework means
that communities can prepare and obtain agreement for neighbourhood plans. The plans
must conform to the strategic requirements of the Local Planning Authority’s Local Plan.
However there is some doubt as to whether the Core Strategy and Development Policies
of SHDC’s LDF is adequate now as a statement of the District’s strategic requirements.

These doubts arise from the age of the documents, the demise of the draft Regional
Strategy on which it was based and from the changed economic circumstances which
make meeting the targets for affordable housing by requiring them to be built with open
market housing much more difficult.

There are existing opportunities for producing neighbourhood plans which make it
necessary to know if the Council intends to revise the strategy in its Local Plan to meet the
requirements of the NPPF in the next twelve months. If so can you let us know what the
outline of the process will be and the target date for completion and publication of the new

I hope that it will be possible for you to answer these questions. Thank you in anticipation.

Yours Sincerely

John Chalmers


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