Neighbourhood Plans

Neighbourhood planning was introduced through the Localism Act 2011, and enables local communities to shape development and growth in their area through the production of a neighbourhood development plan, a neighbourhood development order or a community right to build order.

A Neighbourhood Plan covers a geographic area and can be taken forward by town and parish councils or 'neighbourhood forums'. It will be the role of the local planning authority to agree who should be the neighbourhood. A Neighbourhood Plan, if approved, becomes part of the statutory development plan for that area and will be used in determining planning applications.

Neighbourhood Planning Process Diagram

Neighbourhood Planning Process

Neighbourhood Area Requests

The first formal stage in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan is for a parish/town council or prospective neighbourhood forum to submit their proposed neighbourhood area to the local planning authority for designation.

Current Neighbourhood Planning Area Designation Requests: None

Neighbourhood Area Designations in Ashford

If you have any questions regarding neighbourhood planning in these areas, please direct your query to the relevant parish council in the first instance. More information and links to the relevant Neighbourhood Plan websites can be found using the links below:

Neighbourhood Planning Regulations and Advice

The Neighbourhood Plan regulations were published in 2012, and can be found on the Government's website.

The Government have also published additional information about what neighbourhood planning is.

If you are a Parish Council or Community Group considering undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan in your area, contact the planning policy team for some advice.

A number of changes were made in April 2018 to the national My Community and Neighbourhood Planning programmes.

The new £23m programme will be different, with changes to grant and support eligibility criteria. The changes will also mean that neighbourhood planning will get a new and enhanced website, independent of the My Community programme.

While the funding for My Community from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (formerly the DCLG) is coming to an end in March, their website will become a one-stop-shop for inspiration, information, advice and peer support for anyone wanting to take action to support their local community and change where they live for the better.

There are also number of organisations that can give advice to communities considering carrying out a neighbourhood plan. Please see a selection of these organisations below:


Locality's Supporting Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning Programme helps local groups develop neighbourhood plans.

Rural Services Network – Sparse

Rural Services Network provides a selection of key datasets from the Census 2011 and ASHE as well as providing analysis that may be useful for communities, enabling them to compare themselves against other rural authorities to provide some context. The information is available by parish, which enables community groups to view information at a relatively local level.

Visit Rural Services Network - neighbourhood planning

RTPI Planning Aid

Planning Aid England (PAE) helps communities through the key stages of the Neighbourhood Planning process under the Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning 2013-15 initiative. PAE works directly with neighbourhood planning groups to provide support, advice and professional input to the plans being prepared by those communities.

Visit RTPI - neighbourhood planning

Princes Foundation

The Princes Foundation can provide hands-on help with Neighbourhood Planning, including:

  • Community outreach and engagement
  • Facilitating / running collaborative planning and decision making events
  • Drafting of Neighbourhood Plans
  • Carrying out sustainability appraisals where requested by local authorities
  • Facilitating joint working between neighbourhood bodies, their local planning authorities and other key stakeholders (incl  developers and landowners)
  • Providing extra project management capacity
  • Demonstrating compliance with NPPF and local plans / core strategies

Visit Princes Foundation - neighbourhood planning


Action with Communities in Rural England is the national umbrella body of the Rural Community Action Network (RCAN), which operates at national, regional and local level in support of rural communities across the country.

A national toolkit produced by ACRE, is used by RCAN practitioners to guide community groups through the LEAD process. Nine steps are outlined, each providing practical advice and resources that help to make the production of any plan a manageable endeavour.

Visit ACRE - community led planning

Rural Kent Community Council

Works with local communities to plan for their future, by supporting parish councils and community groups in the production of Community Led Plans.

Visit Rural Kent - Community Led Planning