How to produce a neighbourhood plan


The table below explains the stages that are required by legislation (shown with an asterisk *); the other stages are good practice.

We also strongly recommended that you look at these comprehensive step-by-step guides available online:

Please note, this information is for guidance only. It is important that you conform to the relevant Act and associated regulations.

  Key stage Responsibility

Establish a 'qualifying body' (a neighbourhood forum if there is no parish council) *

In non-parished areas, community group applies to planning authority.


Establish a neighbourhood area *

Parish council or forum applies to planning authority


Define the scope,  content and vision of the plan

Key stages 3–11 are the responsibility of the parish council or forum. The planning authority has a duty to give advice and assistance.

These stages are roughly consecutive but you should be involving people and building up evidence throughout the whole process.


Produce a project plan


Involve people – key local partners and community engagement


Research and build up evidence. Understand the local plan


Develop options for aims, policies, proposals or site allocations


Prepare a draft neighbourhood plan


Ensure that your plan meets the basic conditions *


Undertake pre-submission consultation *


Submit plan to planning authority *


Check conformity *

Planning authority


Publicise *

Planning authority


Examination *

By independent examiner, planning authority to pay


Referendum *

By district


Bring plan into force (if more than 50% voting in referendum say 'yes') *

Planning authority

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