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Neighbourhood planning

What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning was introduced under the Localism Act to give local people more of a hands on role in the planning of their neighbourhoods. It is a process that is led by the community and supported by the Council.

Neighbourhood planning can be pursued in three different ways:

  • Neighbourhood Plan – a plan that sets out policies for new development in the neighbourhood. plans must be positive and encourage sustainable development
  • Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO) – An NDO means that certain types of development can take place in an area without the need to apply for planning permission
  • Community Right to Build Order – Similar to an NDO, but this gives the residents within the neighbourhood the power to actually undertake certain development without the need to apply for planning permission

Neighbourhood planning needs to be a positive process that aims to improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of an area. It cannot be used to block development that is needed across the borough. Policies in neighbourhood plans must be in general conformity with the borough's existing strategic policies, however, neighbourhood plans could be used to influence the type of development that takes place in a neighbourhood, whereabouts it takes place and what it looks like.

Regulations have been updated as of 9 February 2015 and the Council is updating its internal process for determining applications.  This will be uploaded shortly.  The regulations provide a framework for neighbourhood planning, setting out what is required from local groups who wish to undertake neighbourhood planning and what the role of the local authority will be at each stage in the process.

Neighbourhood planning process

There are a number of discrete stages in preparaing a neighbourhood plan.

Firstly, the Neighbourhood Area needs to be defined, then the group preparing the plan needs to be agreed (the Neighbourhood Forum). Once this is agreed, the Forum can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order. Once a neighbourhood plan has been prepared, an Examination in Public will be arranged at which an independent inspector will recommend whether or not the Plan should be adopted. Finally, a referendum will be held in which local residents and/or businesses will be able to vote on whether the neighbourhood plan should be adopted.

Only one group can undertake neighbourhood planning in a particular neighbourhood. When an application to designate an area or to create a forum is made to the Council, we will check that all of the relevant information has been provided and seek cabinet member approval to begin consultation. We will advertise applications through our website and in local libraries. When more than one group is interested in preparing a neighbourhood plan for the same area, we will encourage the groups to work together.

When it has been agreed that a neighbourhood forum will prepare a neighbourhood plan for an area, they will take the lead and the council will provide support. It is up to the neighbourhood forum to consult and involve local people in the preparation of the plan but the council will provide advice on how to go about this.

We have prepared application forms for groups wishing to establish Neighbourhood Areas and/or Neighbourhood Forums. The forms cover the key legislative requirements and a series of useful questions that will help interested groups to move through the process. We have also prepared planning policy crib sheets covering planning policies at national, London-wide and local level to assist Neighbourhood Forums in preparing neighbourhood plans. Further detail about Southwark's neighbourhood planning decision making process is also available.

Neighbourhood Planning in Southwark

Neighbourhood planning is currently being taken forward in the following areas in Southwark:

We will update this page regularly to publicise any applications to create new Neighbourhood Forums or Neighbourhood Areas in Southwark.

Once neighbourhood forums are in existence, we will also use this page to publicise their Plans and/or Orders. Further detail on neighbourhood planning in each area is available by following the above links.

Further information

If you have further questions, you can contact the planning policy team. Alternatively, further advice and information about the neighbourhood planning process can be found at:

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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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