Thursday 6 May 2021

Impacts of Neighbourhood Planning in England - 2020 - University of Reading

 This is a report commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which has been undertaken by the University of Reading. The link to the document is below:

To best describe the scope of the task set the University here is an extract from the report:

1.2 Research Brief 

The research was set out by MHCLG to cover a series of core Research Objectives (ROs). These concerned: 

  • Development Impacts and Housing Supply 
  • Other Development Impacts (including Quality of Development) 
  • Decision-Making and Investment 
  • Community Attitudes and Engagement 
  • Influence of Geography 
  • Success Factors and Common Barriers
The key findings are to be found in the Executive Summary which is extracted below:

The key findings are set out in precis and organised here by the six Research Objectives: 

1. Development Impacts and Housing Supply Neighbourhood planning’s contribution to housing supply can be significant. Neighbourhood plans which are allocating housing sites are providing sites for an average additional to local plan allocation 39 units per neighbourhood plan. The study found 18,000 units above LP allocations in 135 plans. However communities seeking to make housing allocations did encounter added burdens, both technical and political compared to creating a non-allocating NP. Scaling-up production of NPs could make a significant contribution to housing supply – particularly if cooperation between neighbourhoods and LPAs are strengthened further. There was no evidence found that NPs displace development from other parts of the local authority area. 

2. Other Development Impacts (including Quality of Development) Neighbourhood plans have helped improve design policy and refined local priorities e.g. housing for specific societal groups. There is further potential within the neighbourhood planning process to reflect both community needs and tie with more strategic concerns coming from above. Closer partnership working between communities and planning professionals (i.e. local government planners and planning consultants) can help address this. Better recognition and more targeted support for the effective integration of placemaking matters that go beyond pure land use planning policy would also benefit neighbourhoods and other interested parties (e.g. local government, third sector, funders). 

3. Decision-Making and Investment Neighbourhood plans have improved local engagement with local planning authorities, and are important vehicles for place-making beyond land use planning. Other initiatives have included the establishment of Community Interest Companies and Community Land Trusts. Impacts of Neighbourhood Planning Page 4 of 44 This highlights that communities lack a formal arena for place-making projects unrelated to planning policy, and may help explain why a large number of communities have not completed land use plans (NDPs). In terms of how the Plans are used in practice, the evidence from LPAs and appeals indicates NPs do have an influential role in decisions, reflecting their legal status, and as a minimum they provide nuance to decisions. Over half of LPA respondents see NDPs as having a ‘moderate’ or ‘high’ degree of influence on decision-making. Moreover, responses suggest the vast majority of decisions that go to appeal go in favour of the relevant NDP. However, their impact will vary according to the circumstances and Plan policies. We found no evidence that NPs were ignored but some communities felt Plans were not always recognised as clearly as they would wish. This indicates that LPAs could better communicate how neighbourhood plans have been taken into account and highlights the value of clear and specific policies that have been road-tested by development management officers. MHCLG could share best practice to support LPAs in their role in developing and implementing NDP policies. 

4. Community Attitudes and Engagement Community attitudes to development may become more positive as a result of the NP experience, and the acceptability of development is supported by a large proportion of Plans with policies on design and affordable housing. Some neighbourhoods reported better relations with LPAs and a more positive attitude to development, but in other cases poor relations with some LPAs and lack of an up-to-date Local Plan also presented a barrier. There was no clear evidence that there is faster delivery of sites, though where sites are chosen in the NDP they are clearly more accepted by the community, which can reduce delays associated with legal challenges or other forms of opposition. Often allocation of sites is a motivator as it allows greater protection of other locally important spaces. It is therefore important to maintain protection for neighbourhood plans from speculative development. 

5. Influence of Geography While there has been strong take-up of neighbourhood planning since 2011, there are many neighbourhoods who have not used this community right. The total number of communities who have started or completed neighbourhood planning went beyond 2,600 in Autumn 2019, but the take-up rates have slowed considerably. The main reasons for this are associated to known time, processual and technical burdens, relationship with local plan progress, and levels of enthusiasm in some local planning authorities. This indicates that for some neighbourhoods an uptodate Local Plan lessens their concern to finalise a NDP. There is a noticeably low take-up in urban areas, and in northern regions. It is notable that all LPAs with no activity are urban. There are a range of reasons for this disparity and if government wish to continue to support the initiative there will need to be affirmative action taken to sustain and expand neighbourhood planning activity. Government are missing an opportunity to realise benefits in urban and deprived areas and assist in their levelling-up agenda. As such Government should consider either increasing support to reflect additional Impacts of Neighbourhood Planning Page 5 of 44 challenges faced by these communities, or ensure community engagement/involvement, in other less burdensome ways. 

6. Success Factors and Common Barriers While NP is a manageable process for most parished communities and a NDP is an achievable goal, support from consultants and positive relationships with LPA are important to helping with progress. MHCLG could do more to identify and share best practice for LPAs, particularly around site identification. The process remains burdensome for community volunteers with the time taken to reach completion around three years (and for many it can take longer). NDPs take longer when Local Plans are in progress, particularly where a new Local Plan is initiated after NDP work has started. This can add a further 6-10 months to NDP production on average. Better alignment with LPAs and Local Plans may assist here. Local Planning Authority (LPA) support overall is varied, with examples of strong support but also ambivalence in other areas. A common criticism was duplication of policies and MHCLG could find ways of better aligning / integrating Local Plans and NP processes – through clearer ongoing communications between LPAs and neighbourhood planning groups.

The full report gives a much better understanding of the important part that Neighbourhood Plans can play in reflecting the wishes of the local community and translating them into an effective planning document.

Tuesday 27 April 2021


Belper Neighbourhood Plan



The full and final version of the Neighbourhood Plan and all the supporting documents are now available on the Belper Town Council website –

This includes the amendments agreed with the independent examiner and is the version on which is subject to referendum .

The main policies have not changed –

A] Develop brownfield land over greenfield.

B] Redevelop the historic mills and other derelict building sites in the town.

C] Create new housing to meet local needs , mostly smaller properties for starter homes or downsizing.

D] Promote sustainable development, use of green energy, and reduce our carbon footprint.

E] Encourage the use of public transport , cycleways and pedestrian access wherever possible.

F] Protect our heritage buildings and historic landscape setting.


Wednesday 20 March 2019

NP4B Consultation starts 21st March 2019



Thursday 21ST March to Friday 3rd May 2019

We have now completed our reports and evidence to submit our draft Neighbourhood Plan for the 6 week public consultation.
Many organisations and community groups will be contacted directly asking them to complete the questionnaire for their comments.
We will be holding  public meetings over the period.

Tuesday 2nd April , 7pm at No 28 , Market Place .
Saturday 6th April 10 am till 12.30 pm at St John’s Chapel, The Butts.
Saturday 13th April 9 am till 1pm, Stall on Belper Market.

If any other group wishes to hear from us we would be happy to try to attend.
Hard copies of the draft Document and the questionnaire will be available  at Belper Library and the Town Council office [ please ring first, 01773 822116].
The full draft document and all the additional reports and papers can be found on the Belper Town Council website.  The questionnaire for completion is also there.
There are 23 policies in the NP on which to comment . We don’t apologise for that ,  we gathered the public views and co-ordinated them with the policy requirements knowing  Belper is a complicated , beautiful place , which is why we have tried to get it right for now and the future.
Anyone who would like help to complete the online form please contact the email: or come to one of the public meetings .

NP4B Questionnaire

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Tuesday 10 July 2018

First tranche of Addenda uploaded to NP4B website

Unloaded today to Neighbourhood Plan for Belper webpage on the Belper Town Council website are addenda 1 through 4, containing supporting evidence for the plan.

There will be more uploaded in the next few days.

An extract from Addendum 3 - Business Questionnaire

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Press release July 2018

The draft Neighbourhood Plan and the supporting reports have now been put on the  Belper Town Council website:

This is not the "polished version " but we had to publish it in time for it to be available for the Amber Valley Local Plan hearings and also the Appeal hearing for the Belper Lane planning application this week. 

The draft plan will be considered by the full Town Council Meeting on 10th July.

Food Fair

Members of the Working Group will have a stall at the Food Fair on Sunday 8th July so if you want the chance to get an update on what happens next please come and find us there.

Photographic Competition

Finally , a reminder about the Photographic Competition which closes on the 31st July. As a recap...
The rules are simple -pictures should be of landscapes and sightlines in Belper Civic Parish that you value . The picture should be taken from publicly accessible land, and may be digital [ camera.,phone ,tablet] or conventional photography, but it must be as good quality as you can get.

You can submit up to a maximum of 3 pictures, by email to or posted to NPlan4B, St John's Chapel, The Butts, Belper. [Sorry ,we cannot return the prints.] 
Please include your name and contact details,and indicate whether you are 16 or over. There will be 2 prizes, £25 for over 16's and £15 for under 16's.By submitting your name you are agreeing to have your picture reproduced and credited in the finished NP document and it's publicity. Contact details will be erased after the competition.
We already have some unusual and interesting contributions and it's not too late to send in your own .

NP4B revised contact details

The new Plan for Belper website is now live:

Email address: