Neighbourhood Planning

What is it?

Neighbourhood planning is a new way for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work introduced in the new Localism Act.  The formal provisions are expected to come into force on 6 April 2012.

Communities can use a Neighbourhood Plan to: 
  • choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built
  • have their say on what those new buildings should look like
  • grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead

Neighbourhood planning is optional, not compulsory.

Neighbourhood Area applications

When Harborough District Council  receives  an application for the designation of a 'neighbourhood area' , in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012, the Council is  obliged to carry out a 6 week consultation on the proposed Neighbourhood Area as set out below.

The application will show the area in which the parish intends to use the new neighbourhood planning powers arising from the Localism Act and the supporting neighbourhood planning regulations. Representations should consider whether the neighbourhood area is appropriate to be designated.

For more information please contact the Planning Policy Team by email:

Please note that this is not a consultation on the neighbourhood plans themselves, but merely the identification of the area for which the Parish/Town Council or Neighbourhood Forum wish to prepare a neighbourhood development plan.


View current Neighbourhood Area applications


'Made' Neighbourhood Plans

For a Neighbourhood Plan to be 'made' a referendum must take place. The community is asked to vote 'yes' or 'non' to the question: Do you want Harborough District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for [insert Neighbourhood Area] to help it decide planning applications in the Neighbourhood Area?'

If more than 50% of the people that voted gave a 'yes', then the Neighbourhood Plan is made and used by Harborough District Council to determine planning applications in that community.

View 'made' Neighbourhood Plans

Approved Neighbourhood Areas

The following Neighbourhood Areas have been approved by the Council and are being published in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012:

The Stages of Neighbourhood Planning

There are expected to be five key stages to neighbourhood planning.

Stage 1: Defining the neighbourhood

Town and parish councils and community groups will need to apply to the District Council as the local planning authority to be called a 'neighbourhood forum' and prepare a plan.

Stage 2: Preparing the plan

Communities can choose to draw up either a neighbourhood plan (to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood), or a neighbourhood development order (granting planning permission for new development to go ahead). 

They must generally be in line with the adopted Harborough District Core Strategy and national planning policies.

Stage 3: Independent check

The Council will arrange for an independent examiner to check that it meets the right basic standards before it proceeds.

Stage 4: Community referendum

The Council will organise a referendum on any plan or order that meets the basic standards.  If the proposals put forward in a plan for one neighbourhood have significant implications for other people nearby - people from other neighbourhoods may be allowed to vote too.  If more than 50 per cent of people voting in the referendum support the plan or order, then the local planning authority must bring it into force.

Stage 5: Legal force

Once a neighbourhood plan is in force, it carries real legal weight. Decision-makers will be obliged, by law, to take what it says into account when they consider proposals for development in the neighbourhood.

Find out more about Harborough's approach to Neighbourhood Planning