Neighbourhood planning information and guidance

Neighbourhood planning provisions within the Localism Act 2011 enable local communities to prepare neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development orders.

Neighbourhood plans set out planning policies and form part of the development plan used in determining applications for planning permission. Neighbourhood development orders grant planning permission for specific development that complies with the order.

Neighbourhood planning allows local communities to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood to deliver the sustainable development they need. They could:

  • influence where new development happens
  • influence the design of new development
  • protect local green spaces
  • recognise and protect local heritage assets

Information on neighbourhood planning activity in our district can be found by visiting the neighbourhood planning in Harrogate district page.

What is involved?

The preparation of a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order would follow the following steps:

  1. Choosing your neighbourhood area
  2. Applying to designate your neighbourhood area
  3. Engaging your community
  4. Writing your plan or order
  5. Consulting the community on your pre-submission plan or order
  6. Submitting your plan or order to Harrogate Borough Council, further consultation and independent examination
  7. Referendum and implementation

Getting started

A qualifying body needs to apply to designate a neighbourhood area. The neighbourhood area is the area your plan or order would cover. In areas where they exist, parish level councils are qualifying bodies so you would need to approach your parish level council and gain their agreement.

You should think about the area you wish to have designated as the neighbourhood area. Where they exist, this is usually the whole area that a parish level council serves. If your chosen area has parts in more than one parish each parish council would need to support the application. You could think about:

  • whether there are physical features that could help you decide such as roads or rivers
  • where the main facilities, such as schools and local shops are
  • if there are existing planning boundaries
  • whether historical boundaries exist
  • in larger urban areas, whether there are local character areas, such as similar types of housing or design features

If you do not have a parish level council you would need to set up a neighbourhood forum. To create a forum the community would need to constitute a group and apply to us to designate the group as a neighbourhood forum. Speak to us as early as possible to get advice on setting up your neighbourhood forum. Once in place the forum could apply for a neighbourhood area.

All applications to designate a neighbourhood area must include:

  • a statement that the organisation making the application is a qualifying body (a parish level council or a neighbourhood forum)
  • a statement explaining why the area is appropriate to be designated as a neighbourhood area
  • a map of the proposed neighbourhood area

Please speak to us before you make your application so we can discuss the process and the support we can offer as you develop your plan or order. We can also create a map of your proposed area that you can use in your application.

Neighbourhood planning guidance and support


Government funded support for neighbourhood planning is administered by Locality. They have produced a wide range of resources and offer funding grants and technical support packages.

The following Locality documents are essential reading: The quick guide to neighbourhood plans provides an overview of the neighbourhood planning process. The neighbourhood plans roadmap is a step-by-step guide to producing a plan. The neighbourhood plan worksheets provide practical guidance to inform your approach at stages throughout the process; worksheets one to three cover things to consider before you apply for neighbourhood area designation.

Planning practice guidance

National planning guidance is set out in the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). The PPG includes government guidance relating to the key milestones during the preparation of neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development orders.

Neighbourhood planning regulations

Neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development orders must be produced in-line with current legislation.

Other guidance

The following documents provide further information on producing a neighbourhood plan:

How to prepare a neighbourhood plan
How can we help
Further information and guidance