Many communities, especially in rural areas, have already been involved in planning for their local neighbourhood for many years. The new neighbourhood planning tools that the Government has introduced will therefore hopefully extend this work, and encourage more communities to think about how they want their area to look in the future.
The new tools also take community planning one step further, by firmly placing it within the formal, 'statutory' planning system. Neighbourhood Development Plans will be part of the development plan for an area, so where one exists planning decisions will have to be taken in line with it, unless other relevant considerations indicate otherwise.
More information about existing community planning tools, such as Parish Plans and Village Design Statements is available here.