Communities that have a forward plan, setting out how development should happen in their area, are better placed to respond to site and development projects coming from both private developers and the Council itself.
A forward plan should represent the consensus view of the wider community in the area that it covers.
If the community wants to draw up a Neighbourhood Development Plan, which then becomes the planning policy document for the area, there is a process set out under the Localism Act for the designation of the Neighbourhood Plan Area and the Neighbourhood Planning Forum (the community group who are responsible for drawing up the plan in consultation with the whole community) by Bristol City Council as the Local Planning Authority.
The plan, when completed, must be passed by an independent inspector and then a referendum is held of the people in the vicinity of the Neighbourhood Plan Area; that is inside the area and in adjacent areas which might be affected by the plan.
The plan is passed if it achieves over 50% of the vote. read more about Neighbourhood Development Planning.
If a community wants to do a Neighbourhood Plan that also includes other aspects for improvements in their area, or that is about protecting their buildings or character of their area, they may do that through other forms of plan. There are no set requirements for becoming the group working on the plan and for getting the plan approved for their area.
The plan will not have as much ‘planning weight’ as a Neighbourhood Development Plan or become local policy, however, the plan will have ‘weight’ if it has been done so that the local community, including residents, workers and ward members, have had good involvement with the development of the plan.
To find out more about what the options are for drawing up a plan for your area, see How to do your own plans