Neighbourhood Planning

Market Harborough Neighbourhood Forums

As there is no Parish or Town Council in Market Harborough the residents and persons that live and work in the Town must set up a Neighbourhood Forum as the Qualifying Body to apply for designation of the Neighbourhood Area.

Matt Bills (m.bills@harborough.gov.uk) will be the primary point of contact for the Forum for general advice about the Neighbourhood Planning process.

Matt has worked in Neighbourhood Planning for 10 years and has been responsible for assisting 27 communities, including a Neighbourhood Forum, to deliver Plans for their community. Matt is also a ‘Neighbourhood Planning Champion’ for Locality and offers advice through the Champions Network to Neighbourhood Plan groups nationally.

It will be the responsibility of the Forum and any sub committees formed to look at specific subject areas, to produce the Neighbourhood Plan and submit the Plan to Harborough District Council for Independent Examination and Referendum.

Further information about Neighbourhood Forums.

To meet legal requirements, a neighbourhood forum must have:

  • an express purpose of promoting or improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of an area that consists of or includes the neighbourhood area concerned;
  • purpose that reflects the character of the area in general terms;
  • a membership open to people living and working in the area, and elected members for the area (reasonable steps must be taken to secure at least one of each);
  • a minimum of 21 members from the above groups;
  • a membership drawn from different places in the area and different sections of the community.

Neighbourhood forums must have a written constitution and Forums need to have a legal structure; they could be, for example, an unincorporated body or a more formal Community Interest Company (CIC).

An unincorporated body may not apply or hold the funding available from Locality, may not employ people or enter into contracts. A CIC may apply for and hold funds and may enter into contracts, but may attract additional costs such as for accountancy fees.

The Neighbourhood Forum is the Qualifying Body and is the only entity that may apply for designation of the Neighbourhood Area in Market Harborough. A Neighbourhood Forum and neighbourhood area application may be made at the same time, and will be subject to a 6 week consultation period by the Local Authority.

If you have any further questions about this matter or contacts for others who may be interested, please contact Matt Bills via email. m.bills@harborough.gov.uk