About Neighbourhood Planning

What is Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Each Planning Authority (in our case Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, TWBC) has, or is developing, a Local Plan. Individual communities can shape development in their areas through the production of a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). When finished, a NDP becomes part of the Local Plan and the planning policies contained within them are then used in the determination of planning applications. Any policies we produce for our Neighbourhood Development Plan cannot block development that is already part of TWBC Local Plan. But our policies can shape where that development will go and what it will look like. This short film explains the processes:

Thanks to Mycommunity.org

Benenden’s NDP

Our parish council will lead on our NDP. They have agreed membership of a Steering Group to run the process, reporting back to the parish council and supported by two independent consultants to provide advice on the process of developing a neighbourhood plan, and to support with fresh ideas and new ways of thinking. They will also help organise and run the community engagement events. We already have a Parish Plan, developed in 2015, and this is helping with much of the underpinning evidence.

TWBC are in the process of updating their Local Plan, and as our plans must be aligned it is important that we work with them, and use their expertise as appropriate. They will support the process at key stages; they have already granted formal approval of our parish as the neighbourhood area governed by Neighbourhood Plan. TWBC will also organise the independent examination of the plan and the community referendum that is held at the end of the process. The referendum is a critical part of the process allowing those that live in the neighbourhood area to decide whether the Neighbourhood Plan comes into effect (become legally binding) or not. Several neighbouring parishes are going through the same process, such as Hawkhurst, Cranbrook and Sissinghurst, Horsmonden, Rolvenden.