Back to top
Last revised January 20, 2016

It is not the same as Neighbourhood Partnership. See below or link for further information.

  1. What is the purpose of the NPN?
  2. Who is part of the NPN?
  3. How is the NPN organised?
  4. Who is the spokesman for the NPN?
  5. How can the NPN groups ensure that they speak on issues for their community?
  6. Is the NPN recognised by the Local Planning Authority, Bristol City Council?
  7. What is the Neighbourhood Partnership?
  8. Is a Neighbourhood Forum the same as a Neighbourhood Planning Forum?
  9. Why are Neighbourhood Forums not appropriate for pre application community involvement?
  10. What is the relationship between NPN groups and Neighbourhood Partnerships?
  11. Why are NPN residents planning groups independent of Neighbourhood Partnerships?
  12. NPN references

What is the purpose of the NPN?

The purpose of the NPN is to increase the confidence and effectiveness of community groups in engaging with the planning system by the exchange of information, skills, expertise and experience.

This, in turn, enables and encourages them to promote increased involvement by the wider public.

Who is part of the NPN?

Set up in November 2006, the NPN now has over 45 member groups from neighbourhoods across Bristol with an intention to expand to cover the whole of the area of Bristol.

Membership is free of charge.

How is the NPN organised?

A small team of volunteers from some of the Network groups work to organise exchange of information through a website, email newsletter and meetings.

A ‘network administrator’ acts as a contact point for developers and their agents in Pre-planning Application consultation and Community Involvement and identifies the Network groups who should be contacted to carry out the ‘pre app CI’ process. The Network Administrator is Alison Bromilow.

The pre app CI monitoring team ensures that the developer is aware of the community involvement guidance available and that the case officer, group and developer are in a position to work effectively together. The team monitors the CI process and writes a short summary of the CI for the planning officers’ reports. The NPN pre app CI team does not comment on any aspects of the application other than the community involvement process.

Volunteers from Network groups will also work with and help other groups, where invited to do so, and may also be able to identify sources of specialist skills and expertise.

Who is the spokesman for the NPN?

Each group in the NPN speaks independently and the Network does not coordinate a ‘network view’, so there is no chairman of or spokesman for the NPN. The pre application monitoring group provide guidance on pre application community involvement processes and comment on the effectiveness of the community involvement.

How can the NPN groups ensure that they speak on issues for their community?

To promote transparency and wider involvement, membership of the NPN requires voluntary groups

  • to show that they are open to all residents in their area;
  • openly advertise their meetings by for example by email or Newsletter;
  • elect representatives by a general meeting at least once each year and seek to represent a consensus view.

Is the NPN recognised by the Local Planning Authority, Bristol City Council?

NPN is recognised by the Local Planning Authority, Bristol City Council, as a primary point of contact for community involvement in

  • the statutory Statement of Community Involvement,
  • the Planning Applications Validation Process and in
  • Planning Performance Agreements

What is the Neighbourhood Partnership?

Neighbourhood Partnerships are an organisation of 2 or 3 wards where councillors make local spending decisions with the input from local communities and partners, police, public care trust etc. They meet every 3 months in Neighbourhood Partnership meetings.

Neighbourhood Forums are ward based public open meetings, held on a ward basis every 3 months. Issues raised by members of the community at the Forums are taken forward to the Neighbourhood Partnerships if they cannot be resolved by BCC officers or partners eg police.

Is a Neighbourhood Forum the same as a Neighbourhood Planning Forum?

No, the Neighbourhood Forum is a Neighbourhood Partnership public open meeting. The Neighbourhood Planning Forum is the organisation designated by the Local Planning Authority to bring forward a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the area under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.

Why are Neighbourhood Forums not appropriate for pre application community involvement?

Neighbourhood Forums are not appropriate for early pre application community involvement because they do not comply with the Statement of Community Involvement ground rules p6.

The meetings are open public meetings with no continuity of membership. The aim of the pre app CI process is that it is a series of discussions between a small number of people who work towards a mutually acceptable proposal. This cannot happen in a Neighbourhood Forum.

Discussions about site proposals should be given time to cover all the issues; Neighbourhood Forums are 2 hours long and cover a wide range of issues, there is insufficient time to fully address all the issues that a developer needs to be aware of in working up his proposals.

Discussions are expected to start at the earliest stage before drawings are available; local planning groups with an understanding of the planning process and of local issues are better placed to be effective in discussions at this early stage.

Neighbourhood Forums may be appropriate for public consultation/ exhibitions at a later stage, either before or after submitting a planning application, when proposals have been worked up to a stage through the pre app CI discussions with the residents planning group, where drawings, sketches and models can be displayed which are readily understood by members of the public who cannot easily understand more technical drawings.

What is the relationship between NPN groups and Neighbourhood Partnerships?

NPN residents’ planning groups may be affiliated to their Neighbourhood Partnership, represented on the Neighbourhoood Partnership or be a sub group of the Neighbourhood Partnership.

Why are NPN residents planning groups independent of Neighbourhood Partnerships?

NPN groups are not tied into the 3 monthly meeting schedule, so they are able to respond more quickly to developer approaches and because they are not supported by the BCC bureaucratic processes, they are unaffected by any changes in council structure or withdrawal of BCC resources e.g. staff or funding.

How to set up a Network planning group.


 

NPN references

Five Cities where planning went right?

Guardian newspaper article December 2014

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/dec/19/five-cities-where-planning-went-right?

extract:

Bristol: Neighbourhood Planning Network

Bristol city council’s localism agenda delivered a radical approach, allowing planning to be influenced from the bottom up via its Neighbourhood Planning Network (NPN), thus drawing on the city’s distinctive and vibrant civic culture.

The council has a long history of engaging with communities on how to make better places, most of which pre-dates the current government’s own localism agenda. The best example of Bristol’s localism policy is the NPN, which is a network of around 45 neighbourhood groups. It was set up in 2006 and acts as a coordinating body for community involvement in planning issues.

this references the report by RTPI

http://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/1191762/rtpi_research_report_success_and_innovation_in_planning_full_report_8_november_2014.pdf


London Assembly: Planning and Housing Committee report February 2012

Beyond Consultation The role of neighbourhood plans in supporting local involvement in planning

extract:

5.15 The Committee also wishes to promote the development of a London-wide Neighbourhood Planning Network (NPN), drawing on the example of the network in Bristol. The NPN was set up in 2006, when the Bristol Development Framework Statement of Community Involvement was being drawn up. There were initially about 35 groups involved; five volunteers set up and maintained the network. Most of Bristol is now covered by residents’ planning groups.

5.16 The Bristol network is the first point of contact for developers, who are required in Bristol to carry out pre-application community involvement on major developments. Private developers, although initially concerned that they would find themselves being told what to do by unqualified residents, have now become used to working with the residents planning groups. They have agreed that the pre-application involvement process has helped them to identify major issues of contention before they have gone too far with finalising a design.

5.17 The network has also  been a key partner in selecting and supporting the Front Runner schemes for neighbourhood planning, and has developed a template to help groups take the first steps in drawing up a plan.

http://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20151111213444/http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/NBH%20Planning_v3%20AB.pdf


 A Snapshot of Pre-application Community Involvement in the Planning Process in England

10 Years of the 2004 Planning Act

Compiled on behalf of the Bristol Neighbourhood Planning Network by Joseph Wood, Summer 2013

download here