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 Forum

Communities who wish to take forward neighbourhood planning must first establish a Neighbourhood Forum that has to be formally designated by the council.

Proposed Neighbourhood Forums need to meet the following conditions:

  • the forum has been established for the express purpose of promoting or improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of an area
  • its membership is open to individuals who live in the neighbourhood area, who work there and who are elected members​
  • its membership includes a minimum of 21 individuals each of whom lives in the neighbourhood area concerned, works there and is an elected member​
  • it has a written constitution
  • other conditions, as may be prescribed

The council must receive, publish, consider and determine applications for the designation of Neighbourhood Forums. These stages are set out below:

  1. Receipt: The council checks that the application contains the correct information and whether or not there's an existing Neighbourhood Forum for the area. If there's already a Neighbourhood Forum for that Neighbourhood Area (and that designation has not expired or been withdrawn), the council may decline to consider the Neighbourhood Forum application (Regulation 11).
  2. Publication and consultation: After receiving a Neighbourhood Forum application, the council must publish details on their website and wherever else it deems appropriate to bring the application to the attention of people who live, work or carry out business in the area to which the application relates. Consultation on a proposed Neighbourhood Forum will be open for a minimum period of 6 weeks.
  3. Consideration and determination: The council must prepare reasons for its decision. If the decision is not to designate, these reasons need to be published as part of the refusal notice referred to below. Regardless of the outcome, it's good practice for any decision and its reasons to be recorded in writing.
  4. Publication of a Neighbourhood Forum application: If approved, the council must publish the following as soon as possible:
  • the name of the Neighbourhood Forum
  • a copy of the written constitution of the Neighbourhood Forum
  • the name of the Neighbourhood Area to which the designation relates
  • contact details for at least one member of the Neighbourhood Forum.

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

Page last updated: 22 Feb 2023