Neighbourhood Planning

Under the Localism Act 2011, communities who wish to take forward a neighbourhood plan are required to establish a Neighbourhood Forum and a Neighbourhood Area.

In this section:

Designation of a Neighbourhood Area

Community groups can apply to designate a Neighbourhood Area.

The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 set out the process by which community groups can apply to the local authority to have a Neighbourhood Area designated, for the purposes of preparing a neighbourhood development plan or a neighbourhood development order.

Applications must include the following:

  • a map identifying the area you want designated a Neighbourhood Area, a precise boundary needs to be identified as Neighbourhood Areas cannot overlap
  • a statement explaining why this area is considered appropriate for designation
  • a statement that the organisation or body making the application is capable of being designated as a Neighbourhood Forum

After an application has been submitted, there are several stages to the process:

  1. Publicity. For a minimum of 6 weeks, the council must publish details on their website and elsewhere to bring the application to the attention of people who live, work or carry on business in the area to which the application relates. The council will invite representations from the community to consider whether the proposed Neighbourhood Area is appropriate to be designated.
  2. Consideration of the application and determination. The council must formally determine the application at the relevant committee within 13 weeks of publicising the application. This will take into account representations received during the consultation period.
  3. Publication of a Neighbourhood Area designation: As soon as possible after designating a Neighbourhood Area, the local planning authority must publish:
  • the name of the Neighbourhood Area
  • a map identifying the area
  • the name of the relevant body who applied for the designation

If refused, the local planning authority must publish:

  • a document setting out the decision and a statement of its reasoning
  • details of where and when the decision document may be inspected

In addition to designating a Neighbourhood Area, any community group wishing to take forward a neighbourhood plan must also establish a Neighbourhood Forum.

If you would like further information or advice regarding the designation of a Neighbourhood Area, please email

Page last updated: 22 Feb 2023