What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. - Planning Practice Guidance
In 2011 the Localism Act gave communities the power to control planning in their areas through the creation of a neighbourhood plan. The neighbourhood plan is a document that sets out planning policies for a defined neighbourhood area (the parish of Puriton) and it is these planning policies that are used to decide whether to approve planning applications.
Although a neighbourhood plan must be led by the Parish Council, it is written by the local community. The first stage of the process is an application by the Parish Council to have the area designated, you can see the detail of the Council's application on the Designating the Area page.
A neighbourhood plan should support the policies in the District's Local Plan and the National policies set out by the government. It cannot decide that the parish should get less development than the amount already identified by Sedgemoor District Council or the Government. However, it is able to control development by deciding where any new new homes should be built, what shops, offices and community buildings are needed, what green community spaces should be preserved or created. It enables the community to decide what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided to support them.
Importantly, once a neighbourhood plan is properly brought into force, it attains the same legal status as Sedgemoor's Local Plan.
A vital difference between Puriton's Parish Plan, written in 2012, and a neighbourhood plan is that a neighbourhood plan has statutory weight, whereas the Parish Plan does not. However, the Parish Plan gives the Neighbourhood Planning Group a head start in that it can be used as an excellent resource to inform the development of a neighbourhood plan.
Puriton has a Neighbourhood Plan group that cam together in May 2017. Notes of the group's meetings can be found here. If you are a resident of Puriton and you want to be involved in the creation of a neighbourhood plan for the parish of Puriton please contact the Clerk, Sam Winter.