Number of areas designated by the relevant local authority for Neighbourhood Plans
How the figure is calculated:
The figure is a count of communities that have applied and been designated by their local authorities as neighbourhood planning areas: the first legal step in the production of a neighbourhood plan.
Why is this indicator in the business plan?
The Localism Act, which received Royal Assent on November 15 2011, introduced new rights and powers to allow local communities to shape new development by coming together to prepare neighbourhood plans.
Neighbourhood planning can be taken forward by town and parish councils or in unparished areas by neighbourhood forums. An existing or new community group, representative of the area and with at least 21 members can apply and be designated by the local authority as a neighbourhood forum.
Neighbourhood forums and parish councils can use new neighbourhood planning powers to establish policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood planning area or to permit the development they want to see without the need for further planning applications. They can decide where new homes and offices should be built and what they should look like. The plan can allocate sites for development, provide general guidelines, and have any number of policies depending what local people want.
The neighbourhood planning process has five stages:
Designating the neighbourhood area and (in unparished areas) forum.
Preparing the plan
Consulting on a draft version (6-weeks pre-submission consultation)
Independent check of the plan after a further 6 weeks publicity
Community referendum. If more than 50% voters agree, the plan is made part of the local plan and has legal force
How often is it updated?
Where does the data come from?
Data is collected by DCLG from automatic reporting of updates to local authority websites.
What area does the headline figure cover?
Are further breakdowns of the data available?
What does a change in this indicator show?
We would expect to see the number of areas designated to increase as the figures are cumulative and once an area is designated it does not lose its designation. Since December 2012, we have seen an average of 44 areas designated per month.
Time lag is minimal but there will be an element of lag between the time an area is designated and the point at which a local authority updates their website: from days to weeks.
Next available update
Around first Friday of each month.
Type of Data
Robustness and data limitations
Numbers are as reported by local authorities and may be higher where authorities have not yet updated websites.