Planning for the future
Respecting our rural heritage


What is the National Planning Policy Framework? Why is it important?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government’s overarching planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

What is a Local Plan? Why is it important?

Local plans are prepared by the Local Planning Authority (LPA), usually the Council or the national park authority for the area.

The Local Plan is the principal planning document for the area.   Local Plans must be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development and must be consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Local Plans should set out the strategic priorities for the area, for example, the number of new homes and jobs needed in the area and requirement for infrastructure and facilities.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Local Plan

On 26 May 2016, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council adopted the Local Plan 2011-2029.

The adopted Local Plan forms part of the statutory development plan for the borough. It sets out the council’s vision and strategy for the area until 2029 and will provide the basis for decisions on planning applications.

Basingstoke and Deane Local Plan (2011 to 2029)

What is the SHELAA? What relevance does it have in the Basingstoke and Deane Local Plan?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local planning authorities to produce a Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA).

A formal ‘Call for Sites’ consultation was held in June/July 2019 to accompany the commencement of Basingstoke and Deane Council’s Local Plan Update.

The SHELAA sets out the long list of sites which were nominated to the Borough Council. It is a technical document and an important evidence source to inform decision making on future housing and employment development.

However, it does not determine whether a site will be allocated for development in the future, simply that it has been nominated as a potential site.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan? Why is it important?

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act in November 2011. It is a way for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work. It enables local communities to have more say in where new houses, businesses, shops and community facilities should go in their local area and can allocate sites for development. They may also include more detailed planning policies, for example to define how new development should look.
[Source: Basingstoke and Deane Council website]

Key aspects of Neighbourhood Planning include
  • Neighbourhood development plans must contain policies which are in line with the council’s borough wide plan and national planning guidance.
  • Local communities will not be able to use neighbourhood plans to reduce the amount of development identified for their areas in the borough wide plan but they can propose more.
  • Plans will have significant weight in the planning process and determination of planning applications in the area.
  • Neighbourhood planning is not compulsory but, if done, must be prepared following a formal process.
  • In parished areas the Town or Parish Council is the only body that can propose a plan.
  • An independent examination on a Neighbourhood Plan will be needed, followed by a referendum, before it can be statutorily adopted. The referendum ensures that the community has the final say on whether a Neighbourhood Plan comes into force.

[Source: Basingstoke and Deane Council website]

How do the Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plan fit together?

Neighbourhood Plans should be aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area. Neighbourhood Plans must be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan. Crucially, this means that a Neighbourhood Plan cannot propose less growth than required by the Local Plan.

The NPPF indicates that the policies of the Neighbourhood Plan take precedence over existing non-strategic policies in the Local Plan. This enables Neighbourhood Plan policies to be very effective in shaping development in their area.

What impact will the Govt’s Planning White Paper have on Neighbourhood Plans?

In August 2020, the government published a new planning White Paper “Planning for the Future” to shake up the English planning system. The government’s proposed reforms to the planning system will likely have impact upon Neighbourhood Plans, although at this stage, it’s not clear from the White Paper how they fit into the new system.

The White Paper proposes that Neighbourhood Plans should be retained under the new planning system.

Under the government’s proposals, Local Plans will be markedly scaled-back and simplified. Local Plans will focus on identifying land under three categories – ‘Growth areas’, ‘Renewal areas’, and ‘Protected areas’, and will have a more focused role in ‘identifying site and area-specific requirements, alongside locally produced design codes’.

The White Paper places great emphasis on design, local preferences and character.