Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. There are communities all over the UK that have successfully developed a Neighbourhood Development Plan as a tool to influence planning decisions in their area.

“Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead.”

The Plan must meet a number of Basic Conditions and other statutory requirements set out in Paragraph 8 of Schedule 4B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). A Basic Conditions Statement accompanies this Plan outlining how it meets these requirements.

The basic conditions that the Plan must meet are that it:

  •         contributes to the achievement of sustainable development
  •         takes account of National Policies and Guidance
  •         is in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan for the Maldon District
  •         does not breach and is otherwise compatible with EU obligations.

Once adopted the Plan will be a statutory document which forms part of the Maldon District Development Plan for the Parish. It will be used alongside National Policy and Maldon’s Local Plan to determine planning applications in the Parish.

Wickham Bishops Parish Council applied for the Neighbourhood Area designation. The Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Area includes the entire area of the parish of Wickham Bishops. Following changes in the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations on 1 October 2016, consultation on the Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Area (NA) application was not required, as the NA was proposed by the Parish Council and the NA covers the whole of the parish area.

The area for Wickham Bishops Neighbourhood Plan was designated in November 2016. The Neighbourhood Plan can set out land use policies, which seek to address local issues. It can identify sites for development, including for community led housing and rural exception sites, the scale of development and local impact of the development. Because the Plans are prepared by local people, it is not development allocated by the Council or imposed through speculative development. Maldon District Council is encouraging Neighbourhood Planning as a key method of engaging local people in the Plan making process and giving them a real say in shaping their own areas. In considering subsequent planning applications, the Neighbourhood Plan is given considerable weight, by both the Council and the Planning Inspectorate.