What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan is a document that sets out what’s important to a particular community when it comes to planning matters.  That could mean:

  • What sort of housing gets built and where
  • How our green spaces are used
  • The kinds of amenities that are developed
  • Protecting the natural environment.

And lots more besides.

Local communities have rights and powers to shape the future development of their area by preparing Neighbourhood Plans.  These documents set out planning policies for a local area and are used to decide planning applications – for things like new homes, and for developments of amenities like shops, playgrounds or offices.

Neighbourhood Plans are written by and based on the views of the local community – the people who know and love the area – instead of the local planning authority.

It’s a way of shaping the places where we live.

What it is…
  • A way of making sure that development meets the needs of our community
  • Focuses on the use and development of land in our area
  • A way of identifying specific development sites
  • A channel for local people to have their say about what gets built or developed in their communityItis
What it isn’t…
  • A way of stopping all development
  • A way of dealing with non-planning matters (e.g. traffic management, pot holes, or big transport projects like CSET or EWR)
  • Immediate – Neighbourhood Plans take many months of consulting with the community, analysing data, policy creation and report writing


How does it fit in with the planning framework?


Fitting in with planning

Our local plan is prepared by South Cambridgeshire District Council and sets the high level priorities for our area – but our Neighbourhood Plan will be prepared by us and full in the detail to make sure that development benefits our community.

Why do communities have them?

A Neighbourhood Plan is an opportunity to create a shared vision of what’s important to people in a defined locality.

We can then set out how we want our area to develop over the next 15-20 years to achieve this vision.Speech questions

  • Do we need different types of housing?
  • Do we want more shops?
  • What support do local businesses need?
  • Do we want better parks or sports facilities?
  • Perhaps we’d like things like more cycle paths.
  • Or perhaps we really want to protect things that already exist, like heritage buildings or areas of woodland.

What’s been done so far?

In 2022, we ran a survey and several events to identify our community’s planning-related priorities so we can focus our NP on the things which matter most to you.

Combining your feedback with other available evidence, such as housing needs data and a landscape character assessment of our area, the steering group has drafted a vision and objectives to clarify what our Neighbourhood Plan should seek to achieve. The general themes of these draft objectives are shown below.

NP Themes

But have we got this right? Our April-May 2023 Mid-Term Community Consultation sets out to answer this question.

It is also an opportunity for you to view and comment on parts of the evidence base that will underpin our Neighbourhood Plan, such as housing needs data for our area, maps of important views we propose to protect, aspirational active travel routes through our area, and possible ways in which access to our countryside can be improved so we can enjoy it more.

What happens next?

We will publish the findings of our Mid-Term Community Consultation on our Neighbourhood Plan website and in our village magazines, Stapleford Messenger and Great Shelford Village News. We will use them to confirm our vision and objectives, and will then start work on the planning policies to deliver these. It is these policies that planning applications in our area will eventually be assessed against, and that is how we can shape the place where we live.