Neighbourhood plans

Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning has been introduced to enable more community involvement in the planning process, so that people can shape their local areas and have a greater say in planning decisions.

There are three types of neighbourhood planning documents:

  • A Neighbourhood Development Plan (shortened to Neighbourhood Plan) sets out planning policies for development and the use of land in a local area. They are produced by a parish or town council with the help of the local planning authority. Once adopted, a neighbourhood plan becomes part of the development plan for the area. This means that the Plan has weight when decisions are made on planning applications.
  • A Neighbourhood Development Order allows permission to be granted for a particular development or use (for example retail or housing) within a defined area without needing planning permission.
  • A Community Right to Build Order allows a local group to deliver a specific development, such as new homes or new community facilities that the local community is in favour of.

Neighbourhood plans

In the district, the local parish or town council leads on neighbourhood plans. As the Local Planning Authority (LPA), we will advise and assist parish and town councils with the preparation of the plan but we also have to carry out specific functions in the process.

Process overview

Neighbourhood Plans are governed by the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 and is made up of a number of key stages;

  • Designation of a Neighbourhood Area
  • Drafting of the plan and pre-submission consultation
  • Submission to the Local Authority for publication
  • Consultation
  • Examination
  • Referendum

There are certain processes that need to be followed while preparing a neighbourhood plan to make sure that it is in line with the regulations. The plan must also have regard to national policy and be in general conformity with strategic policies in the development plan.

As part of the process the LPA will:

  • Designate the neighbourhood area;
  • Check that the necessary documents have been submitted and consult on the submitted plan;
  • Organise the independent examination; and,
  • Hold a community referendum at the end of the process to ratify the plan.


The Planning Advisory Service has neighbourhood planning guidance and support on their website. They also have a free to access project management tool to help local authorities and communities working together to produce neighbourhood plans, and there is guidance on every stage of production.

'Locality' is a national membership network which provides guidance and support for community groups. Locality has produced toolkits and advice on the neighbourhood plans process, (including a step by step guide). They also provide updates on the government grants that are available and technical support for eligible groups.

Other Support

There are a number of useful websites offering guidance and advice:

The Heritage Lottery Fund has grants for community led heritage projects.


Progress table



Area Designation

Pre- Submission Consultation

Submission to FHDC

6 Week Public Consultation

Independent Examination

Final Plan and Decision Statement


22 September 2022

Lyminge (PDF, 766KB)


St Mary in the Marsh

17 April 2013

St Mary in the Marsh (PDF, 2.29MB)

June 2013- Letter/ questionnaire to every household in the parish.

17 July & 26 July 2013 - Workshops for residents.

13 June 2014 - Exhibition of the draft Neighbourhood Plan and start of six week consultation.

1 February 2016

9 November to 21 December 2017

The examination was by way of written evidence only and was conducted by Rosemary Kidd.

St Mary in the Marsh Neighbourhood Plan September 2018 [1.31MB]

St Mary in the Marsh Neighbourhood Development Plan Decision Statement [1.11MB]




17 October 2012

Hythe (PDF, 2.31MB)






New Romney

17 April 2013

New Romney (PDF, 1.16MB)







18 June 2014

Sellindge (PDF, 1.06MB)







17 April 2013

Lympne ([PDF, 1.86MB)