Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning


Planning policies which apply to the whole of the South Hams are going to be reduced to simplify the planning process and this means there will be relatively little local planning guidance. However, at a Parish level communities now have the chance to create planning policies which reflect the priorities of local people by using a Neighbourhood Plan which can provide an additional level of detail to those developed by South Hams District Council.

There’s a website dedicated to the Dartington Neighbourhood Plan here

Neighbourhood Plans allow communities to work together to identify what is important in their areas and to develop planning policies. Once in place, the policies in a Neighbourhood Plan will be used to help the District Council’s Planning Committee or a Planning Officer to determine whether a planning application is to be approved or refused. A neighbourhood plan has real power in the planning system which means that local views as expressed in the Plan will be taken into account when planning decisions are made.

Using a Neighbourhood plan we in Dartington can also identify projects that we would like to see happen over the coming years or areas to develop or protect.  Having a plan in place means our community will be in a better position to secure funding for projects and we will be able to prioritise projects and areas of concern. A community driven Neighbourhood Plan can be a powerful tool for making a difference to local people’s lives.

If you like to know more about Dartington’s Neighbourhood Plan you can read the information on these pages, look at our Task Group specific website which is here or email the co-ordinator Kate Wilson on:

A Neighbourhood Plan is a part of the legal planning system and will be referred to when South Hams District Council and the Parish Council make planning decisions that affect our area. Planning decisions govern where and what type of houses are built, the landscape and how it can be protected, and employment among other things.

The Government established the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and all Plans now need to be in accordance with the NPPF as well as with other local plans – in our case “Our Plan”, which is being developed by SHDC. Neighbourhood Plans can add to National and Local Planning policies, but they can’t contradict them.

Sustainable development is a theme which runs through the UK’s planning system, from the top to the bottom and it means that there are three main roles to the planning system.

  • an economic role which means providing the land and infrastructure necessary to create jobs and contribute to a vibrant economy;
  • a social role  which ensures the housing, services and facilities are in place to meet the needs of the community.
  • an environmental role which means protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment and ensuring that future generations can benefit from the same, or better, quality of environment as enjoyed by the current generation.

These three aspects must run through a Neighbourhood Plan and it is essential to be able to show that a Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared to ensure sustainable development as outlined in the NPPF.  An independent examiner will judge whether this is the case.

It is important, therefore, to show that economic, social and environmental implications of the Neighbourhood Plan have been taken into consideration. This doesn’t mean that aims have to be diluted, but they do have to be considered in the context of sustainable development.