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Last revised March 13, 2021


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

How to set up a Network planning group.

NPN privacy policy

What information do we hold on you?
Under the General Data Protection Regulations, organisations are required to clarify what information they hold on subscribers and set out how they use that information.

We hold your name, email address and the name of the NPN group you are part of using MailChimp online service. We do not share this information with anyone without your consent. See here MailChimp Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Alison Bromilow and Andy King are the only people who have access to the list.

The names of the two lead contacts for each group are on our website under the Group list page here 
(The email addresses are configured with (at) instead of @ to reduce harvesting of addresses for spamming.)

When we are approached by developers at pre-application stage, we identify the relevant groups for the proposed development and put the developer in touch with the lead contacts of the groups.

We will also point other NPN members at this list, if they wish to contact you about planning matters.

We do not share the data on this list with other organisations including Bristol City Council; if they wish to publicise e.g. a consultation event through the NPN we circulate the information for them. We do not forward marketing material except for drawings and display material for development schemes in your area.

NPN references

Five Cities where planning went right?

Guardian newspaper article December 2014


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

London Assembly: Planning and Housing Committee report February 2012

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


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.

 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